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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #2092077
Bob goes to his niece's surprise birthday party.
By taking the ferry to Skull Island, Bob insured he would attend his niece’s surprise birthday party.  Jennifer, tall, black-haired, and lean as a hickory switch, had also just graduated from medical school.  Thus, a celebration was in order, with family and friends.  Bob was a conscientious uncle.  He always kept in touch with his niece via email, and enjoyed it very much.  Both he and Jennifer loved word games, as both were infused with wit.  Indeed, Bob always had to laugh to himself with the repeating thought that Jennifer was always trying to, “get into his head,” so to speak.  But that was fine; psychological ploys were fair game.  Bob remained a willing subject.  Bob was sharp to be sure, but Jennifer also displayed a rare talent for word play--often, Bob felt like a lost kitten.

Time passes much too fast, Bob thought, looking at the vast expanse of blue-green water, hearing with a singular pleasure the lapping waves against the hull of his present conveyance.  So now my niece is a doctor!  Bob closed his eyes, felt the boat roll and pitch in agreement with water rights so afforded by the bay, formed a slight grin on his weather-beaten sixty year old face, and felt an almost unbelievable sense of peace placate him.  The gentle breezes continued from the vast Atlantic due east.

Bob remembered prior birthday parties when Jennifer was a child: soft drinks and lemonade with lots of ice, the “make a wish,” reminders before candles were blown out, the excitement of children and adults as well, and the presents and the random scattering of wrapping paper torn with reckless abandon by a niece with wide eyes and happiness infused in her face.  Such were the days, Bob thought.  And now, now the little girl is a doctor...  Bob let loose a little guffaw when he wondered if this party would have a gluten free cake

Yet Bob dismissed this notion of age-showing and readily enjoyed the rest of his ferryboat ride to Skull Island.  It was then a short drive to the house, where Bob was greeted by relatives, a few acquaintances, and of course, the birthday girl herself,  Jennifer, who immediately, with a softened fist, tapped gently on Bob’s head and said, “I’m coming in!”

Their laughter co-mingled with random conversation, some easy-listening music from the outdoor deck, and the rustling of the mimosa trees.

All went well that day.  People ate hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and a special baked bean dish supplied by Aunt Martha.  Frisbees were thrown, smiles were worn, and sunlight was received by those who opted to leave the protection of the awning.  Plus, Jennifer had announced that, as a surgeon, she was going to specialize in the area of brain.

As dusk approached, Bob found himself seated at table’s end, drinking that last of his Diet Coke.  Jennifer, who had been socializing with aplomb and with such grace that Miss Manners herself would have applauded came over for some word play with her uncle.  Bob, like a willing combatant, popped up and strode a few feet to place his empty bottle in the trash, then sat back down, dukes up, so to speak.  But then, he darted back to the trash to retrieve the empty bottle, and placed it on the table in front of him.  There were a few astonished faces, including Jennifer’s.

Then Jennifer spoke:

“Why did you do that, Uncle Bob?”

To which Bob replied quite calmly:

“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.”

596 Words
Writer’s Cramp Winner

--taking the ferry
--lost kitten
--lots of ice
--gluten free cake

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