Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
- TITLE: Name Your Price
By Mona Purvis
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â€œWhy canâ€™t I have a simple dinner at home? You know, birthday cake, candles, a few good wishes? Something simple.â€
Jack Pott glanced toward his wife, Anita, as he managed the downtown bumper-to-bumper traffic.
â€œJack, do you want to hurt their feelings? Whereâ€™s your Christian love?â€
â€œMaybe a piÃ±ata? That would be fun. Chuck E. Cheeses? Theyâ€™ve got a clown.â€
â€œJack . . .â€
â€œOkay. I get it. Itâ€™s your parents and I do love them, I really do, Anita. But, Fleur ! Really? You know your mother.â€
â€œDaddy wanted you to have a special dining experience.â€
Fleur measured up to its one-word name with white-linen tablecloths, a tasting menu lasting two to three hours and wine at $40 a glass.
Jack pulled his aging minivan up to the well-landscaped curb under mini-lights draping the palm trees that surrounded the front entrance. Immediately, a tall young man wearing a valetâ€™s uniform reached for his keys before he could stand up.
â€œAnita, remember I warned you. Thatâ€™s them now.â€ Jack stepped aside as he recognized the shiny-black sedan pulling up behind him.
Hy Price was out his car door with keys and cash in his hand rewarding the valet before the valet had even opened the door for Lois Price.
â€œMom, Dad.â€ Anita rushed over to hug her parents. â€œThis is so sweet of you. Isnâ€™t it, Jack?â€
â€œYeah, for sure. You shouldnâ€™t have gone to so much trouble. Itâ€™s still not too late to ...â€
â€œJack.â€ Anita gave him the look .
Hy took his wifeâ€™s arm and motioned for them to follow. â€œLetâ€™s get this party started.â€
Jack followed reluctantly. Anita took his arm and smiled her smile that says everything will be all right. Yeah. Her eternal optimism. He loved her for it.
The impeccably-dressed maÃ®tre dâ€™ finished reviewing his notes and turned in their direction.
â€œHere it comes.â€ Jack whispered in Anitaâ€™s ear.
Lois Price had pushed ahead of their foursome and was speaking directly to the maÃ®tre dâ€™.
â€œNo early-bird special? Iâ€™ve never heard of such. Red Lobster does.â€
â€œIâ€™m sorry, Madame. Weâ€™re not Red Lobster.â€ The maÃ®tre dâ€™ said with a pretentious smile on his lips.
â€œWell, you could learn a lot from them. Two in our party are senior citizens. By all means, see we get that discount.â€
â€œMadame, we donâ€™t . . .â€
Hy Price reached for his wifeâ€™s arm, nodded at the butter-wouldnâ€™t-melt-in-his-mouth host and followed the waiter to a beautifully set table with many plates, utensils, glasses and elegantly folded napkins.
â€œMy dear, letâ€™s not concern ourselves with such things.â€ Hy Price held the chair for her as she flopped into it.
Jack and Anita followed suit. Jack with an I-told-you-so glance at his wife and she followed his gaze with her donâ€™t-start-now best smile.
During the Japanese wagyu ribeye course, Lois quizzed the server as to why they donâ€™t accept AAA discounts. The lobster frittata course and the cucumber soup with dill crÃ¨me fraiche were cut short as she dug through her purse searching for coupons.
â€œJack, we lift our glasses together to wish you a happy birthday.â€ Hy stood nodding to his favorite son-in-law.
â€œ$40 glasses.â€ Lois mumbled.
â€œMy dear. Give Jack his present. I know youâ€™ve been going on about it all week to your friends.â€ Hy nodded at Lois.
â€œJack, Iâ€™ve loved you like a son since before you and Anita wed. I hope you like what Iâ€™ve bought you. Nothing is too good for my favorite son-in-law.â€ Lois beamed as she presented Jack with his prize.
Anita recognized the wrapping paper. Her mother loved to recycle. Wouldnâ€™t hurt any of us to be more conservative, would it? I mean, the planet and all, right? Our Christian duty.
Jack took the large box and slowly began undoing the ribbon. With the top off, he reached inside and pulled out a green and blue striped sweater. His size.
Holding it up, he examined it more closely.
â€œI love it. In fact I used to have one just like it. Didnâ€™t I, Anita? Whatever happened to it?â€
His wife gave him one of her donâ€™t-ask warning looks.
Oh, yes. The Thrift Store donations. Lois has bought me my very sweater Anita donated last season. Lucky me.
Lois beamed ear to ear. Hy quickly placed three crisp Benjaminâ€™s on the table as they left.
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