Dearest Duck did it for revenge.
She did it to get back at me for the trip I took her on last summer.
Last July, having told her I was taking her someplace special, we drove to The Capital, Dearest Duck squirming with anticipation for the whole drive. After parking at the farthest corner of a Walmart lot, I led Dearest Duck inside to the McDonald’s nook and bought her coffee and a bun.
Seated near a window, I clasped Dearest Duck’s hand and said, “We’re at a Walmart McDonald’s, a ubiquitous location, my Duck. Look around and imagine you’re anywhere in the world you’d like to be.”
Dearest Duck fumed all the way back home.
Last week, when I read the printout she stuck under my nose I knew it was payback time.
“We are going,” she said. The pages were print-athome tickets to a show at the LSPU Hall, a Capital destination nowhere handy to a Walmart.
On the appointed day, I buckled my boots and, grinning and bearing, escorted Dearest Duck to her artsy Sunday matinee.
I barely had time to fold my program into a pleated fan before the house lights dimmed and the show began. Dearest Duck squeezed my hand, a reward — I s’pose — for being such a compliant honey. “Harry,” she said, sighing. I felt almost forgiven for last year’s trip.
Although not my cup of Tension Tamer, the show was entertaining even for this uncouth — uncultured? — former bay-boy. An interlude of accordion music, however, did jar my fillings and set my iAids to whining like flogged hounds. And, at the risk of Dearest Duck withholding baking favors, I confess that a major player’s interpretive dancing, especially the rolling around on the floor mats, caused me some dis-ease.
All in all, the show wasn’t awful.
“Harry,” said Dearest Duck, taking my arm as we departed the Hall — congratulating me for suffering through, I thought — “Now we are going out to supper.” Blindsided!
I was certain we wouldn’t be biting burgers at McDonald’s.
“We are going to a fancy eatery,” or words to that effect, said Dearest Duck.
B’ys, I shuddered, bravely, taking another wallop of Dearest’s sweet revenge smack-dab on my chin, so to speak.
It was a sunny afternoon in The Capital’s downtown canyons as Dearest Duck steered me westward towards suppertime.
An aside, of sorts. While heading west we approached — how to be politically correct here? — a scrawny, homeless, panhandling man with his palm out.
“Give him some said Dearest Duck.
I dropped pocket change into his hand.
“Thanks, man. I’ll get Tim’s,” I thought he said. Keep this guy in mind. At Dearest’s chosen eatery, we were handed menus the size of Harry Potter’s book of spells with similar arcane scribbling on the covers.
We ordered fish. Dearest Duck selected deep sea flounder. Feeling I’d already played outside the sandbox sufficiently for one day, I chose pan-fried cod.
“Harry, my undaunted, fearless love,” said Dearest Duck.
We said yes to drinks while waiting.
“A Bud,” said I from inside the box.
I would only be proclaiming my boorish lack of sophistication and savoir faire — whatever that is — if I remarked about the dribble of Chardonnay Dearest Duck received in money,” a the bottom of a bucket-sized glass, eh b’ys?
So I won’t.
When our fish was served on plates like boiler covers, I commenced to laugh — hysterically, p’raps. Way out in the middle of Dearest Duck’s platter, like a punt lost on the ocean’s vastness, was a dab of flatfish smaller than a Tip Top. The bicky was smothered in a curdled, milky sauce and — get this! — for reasons known only to the folks back in the pantry, two pansy blossoms were poked into the sauce.
I laughed out loud. “Harry!”
I choked back further guffaws.
I left it on the plate, untouched. It was strung with something unappetizingly green, like kelp streeling from a rock.
I felt a tad chagrinned. The disastrous supper — and considering the tab kicked the whoopsie out of a $100-bill — had soured Dearest Duck’s revenge somewhat. Wisely, I opted not to gloat.
Back to the aside.
As I pulled our Chevy into the downtown traffic, Dearest Duck pointed and said, “Look.”
Dodging along the sidewalk, munching a donut, a large Tim’s gripped in his hand, was the guy whose palm I’d crossed with gold. He seemed to be enjoying his supper. Well, good for him. “Harry,” said Dearest Duck, patting my leg, “next year a summer cruise, perhaps?” “We’ll see,” said I. Thank you for reading.
Way out in the middle of Dearest Duck’s platter, like a punt lost on the ocean’s vastness, was a dab of flatfish smaller than a Tip Top.