An evening dinner goes awry as some embarrassing truths are revealed.
|“Honey, the Smiths will be coming over for dinner on Friday evening.” Henry sounded glum, handing over his coat and briefcase to his wife.
“You know I don’t like them. The husband keeps staring at me and the wife just keeps bragging about her diamond collection,” Karen responded in a miffed tone.
“I know honey. But Alex Smith is still my boss and…” Henry threw up his hands in exasperation, his eyes following her petite form as she hung his coat on the stand. He opened his mouth to utter an expletive, but realizing the presence of their precocious seven year old, checked himself. The kid was engrossed in a movie on the TV.
“Mickey, what are you doing?”
I am watching TV, can’t you see? The kid cast a peeved look, which provoked his dad still further.
“Have you done your homework?”
Deciding better than to argue with his father, he switched off the TV. “Parents!” he muttered under his breath, loud enough for his parents to hear before walking out of the living room.
“Did you hear that, Karen?”
“Yes, I did. You would do better than to always barge in on his favorite show!”
“I can’t believe you’re saying this!”
On Friday evening Henry was helping his wife lay out the table when the bell rang.
“They’re here. I will open the door.”
“Hi Alex! Hi Alice!” Hands shook, cheeks grazed and kisses were blown in the air. Karen already began to cringe when the portly and bald Alex held on to her hand and seemed to ogle right through her emerald green evening dress. Finally they were all seated in their living room. Henry poured out the wine.
“Oh, what a nice dress, Karen.”
“Thanks Alice. You really like it?”
“Good thing Mom that you didn’t wear the burqua after all.” Everyone turned to face little Mickey who had suddenly made his appearance in the living room, clutching a packet under his arm.
“Burqua? You mean like Arab women? But why would you want to wear that Karen?” questioned Alice, a look of incredulity on her face.
“Coz she doesn’t like Uncle Alex staring at her all the time.” Mickey announced, his arms folded, a smug look on his face. His heart swelled with pride at the ignorance of his elders.
“What?” Everyone half rose from their seats. Alex almost choked on his drink. Karen turned beet red. Alice placed her hand over her mouth to conceal her shock, glaring at her husband.
“Is that a diamond ring, Aunt Alice!” Mickey pointed toward the hand covering her mouth.
“Mom, said you would be showing off your diamond collection today!” He scuttled over to the plump, aquiline faced woman and peered intently at her ring, while she creased her eyebrows in consternation.
“Dad said that he would never be able to buy Mom a diamond. Uncle Alex doesn’t pay him well.”
“Oh, my God!” Alex choked once more.
“Mickey! Go to your room.” Henry could barely conceal his temper. He threw an accusing look at his wife who only shrugged with helplessness.
“I just thought that I should give this packet to Uncle Alex.”
“What is it?”
“It’s some books I discovered in your study. They were in the bottom drawer of the table. I was searching for a paper when I found them. They have Uncle Alex’s name on them.”
“Give me that packet. They are my books. Why do you snoop into my stuff, you ill-mannered brat,” screamed Henry.
He lurched forward to snatch the packet from the boy’s hands, ripping it open in the process and scattering the contents on the floor.
Both the women gasped with shock when they saw the covers of Penthouse and Hustler.
“So this is what you do, spending late nights in your study, pretending to work!” screamed Karen.
Alice picked up one of the magazines which had fallen closer to her feet. It had Alex ’s name on top.
“Could you explain how your name placed itself here? And in your very own handwriting,” she enquired in an icy tone. Alex squirmed under her steely gaze.
“They are his books. He lent them to me. Saying it would spice up my life,” spoke out Henry trying to shift the blame upon his boss and redeem himself in front of his wife.
“Don’t worry papa.” All eyes turned toward Mickey who had temporarily vanished from the room as accusations were being freely flung all around. He had now reappeared clutching some other books in his hands.
He held up copies of Penthouse for everyone to see Henry’s name scribbled on top.
“I told you, papa. I had separated the books with your name. There are many such in your drawers. I took out only the ones belonging to Uncle Alex,” he said, a triumphant smile on his face.
“How do you explain that now?” Alex who had been at the receiving end all along finally found his voice.
“You're both dirty old men!” screamed Karen.
“You guys waste your time in the office sharing porn! How distasteful!”
“In work you don’t see eye to eye. But when it comes to sharing porn all differences disappear!”
Suddenly they all realized that Mickey was still in the room.
“I am hungry,” he muttered.
“Let me serve dinner,” said Karen, rising from her seat.
“I will come with you. I can’t stand the sight of these two disgusting creatures.” Alice also stood up.
“Come with us, Mickey. Don’t stand here.” She said, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder and looking at Alex and Henry as if they were afflicted with some contagious disease.
The two women stomped out of the room followed by a hungry and talkative little boy.