Sweet re­venge

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Wal­ters My Im­per­fect Slant Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville. He thinks it’s cool to live in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. He does not think it cool to live in a prov­ince that taxes books. Reach him at gh­walte

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.

My cod?

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.

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