Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
- TITLE: Name Your Price
By Mona Purvis
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“Why can’t I have a simple dinner at home? You know, birthday cake, candles, a few good wishes? Something simple.”
Jack Pott glanced toward his wife, Anita, as he managed the downtown bumper-to-bumper traffic.
“Jack, do you want to hurt their feelings? Where’s your Christian love?”
“Maybe a piñata? That would be fun. Chuck E. Cheeses? They’ve got a clown.”
“Jack . . .”
“Okay. I get it. It’s your parents and I do love them, I really do, Anita. But, Fleur ! Really? You know your mother.”
“Daddy wanted you to have a special dining experience.”
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 valet’s uniform reached for his keys before he could stand up.
“Anita, remember I warned you. That’s them now.” 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.
“Mom, Dad.” Anita rushed over to hug her parents. “This is so sweet of you. Isn’t it, Jack?”
“Yeah, for sure. You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble. It’s still not too late to ...”
“Jack.” Anita gave him the look .
Hy took his wife’s arm and motioned for them to follow. “Let’s get this party started.”
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 maître d’ finished reviewing his notes and turned in their direction.
“Here it comes.” Jack whispered in Anita’s ear.
Lois Price had pushed ahead of their foursome and was speaking directly to the maître d’.
“No early-bird special? I’ve never heard of such. Red Lobster does.”
“I’m sorry, Madame. We’re not Red Lobster.” The maître d’ said with a pretentious smile on his lips.
“Well, you could learn a lot from them. Two in our party are senior citizens. By all means, see we get that discount.”
“Madame, we don’t . . .”
Hy Price reached for his wife’s arm, nodded at the butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth host and followed the waiter to a beautifully set table with many plates, utensils, glasses and elegantly folded napkins.
“My dear, let’s not concern ourselves with such things.” 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 don’t-start-now best smile.
During the Japanese wagyu ribeye course, Lois quizzed the server as to why they don’t accept AAA discounts. The lobster frittata course and the cucumber soup with dill crème fraiche were cut short as she dug through her purse searching for coupons.
“Jack, we lift our glasses together to wish you a happy birthday.” Hy stood nodding to his favorite son-in-law.
“$40 glasses.” Lois mumbled.
“My dear. Give Jack his present. I know you’ve been going on about it all week to your friends.” Hy nodded at Lois.
“Jack, I’ve loved you like a son since before you and Anita wed. I hope you like what I’ve bought you. Nothing is too good for my favorite son-in-law.” Lois beamed as she presented Jack with his prize.
Anita recognized the wrapping paper. Her mother loved to recycle. Wouldn’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.
“I love it. In fact I used to have one just like it. Didn’t I, Anita? Whatever happened to it?”
His wife gave him one of her don’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 Benjamin’s on the table as they left.
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