“Good morning, Mother. Good morning, Father,” I said as I sat down in front of my raspberry Danish and cream colored coffee. I stared at my coffee and saw J’s image swirling around in the cream. Maybe it was an apparition.
Mother interrupted my fantasy, “Artin?”
Artin? What’s an Artin. I did a quick mental check of who sat at the table. Mother on one end. Father, ten feet away from Mother at the other end. And, me in the middle of the demilitarized zone. Did we hire a new cook?
I heard it again, this time more insistent, “Artin. Artin, look at me.”
I took a bite of my Danish and sip of my coffee, then said, “I don’t think he’s here, Mother. Try paging him.”
“Martin, don’t you remember, we’re legally changing your name to Artin?”
“I don’t want my name changed. I like Martin. I didn’t like it at first because when I was in first grade grade, Ronald Cranston called me fartin Martin. When I was fourteen and met Rachael, she let me feel her breasts and she like my name. I’ve liked Martin ever since Rachael.”
“Thank God you didn’t have sex with Rachael Madison. You know, her mother did not go to Holyoke or Smith.”
I thought about Mother’s comment for a second, then decided not to say anything about the sex part.
Mother continued her rant, “The mention of the Cranstons makes me want to have Nicole spray the room with disinfectant. They always thought they were better than everyone else. Can’t say I feel a bit sorry for them when the crash of 2008. They’re no longer listed among the top five hundred wealthiest people in the world. What a pity. But, between us, it looks good to see them left off of the RSVP list for Aspen and Palm Springs.”
The Cranston’s grovel? I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought they owned half the world and Grandmother Houston owned the other half. I said, “I will not answer to the name Artin, Mother. Now, that’s settled, I have some important news to share with you and Father.”
Father set his Wall Street Journal down and pulled his glasses down to the tip of short stubby nose that more appropriately fit on a bull dog than a human head. Mother placed both of her bony hands palm down on the table, her mouth slightly open, and her eyes trying to pierce into my brain and read my thoughts.
Before I could speak, Mother spoke, “Martin, if you’re going to tell us you got Nicole pregnant, don’t. I don’t want to hear about it. How much do we have to pay to keep her quiet and not list you as the father?”
Father said, “Mother, let’s be reasonable. Perhaps he didn’t get Nicole pregnant. Maybe it was Oscar.”
Mother said, “You should see the way Martin leers at her. I know what’s going on in his mind. It couldn’t have been Oscar, he used condoms.”
How does Mother know Oscar uses condoms? I didn’t think it was an appropriate question at the moment. I was watching the tennis match. It was Father’s turn. He said,
“We don’t even know if Nicole’s pregnant. As for our son, he didn’t get his lascivious tendencies from the Sanderstuff side of the family.”
Father took a nasty shot at Mother. He won’t be getting any tonight. Then again, I’m too sure he ever gets any anyways.
Mother returned the salvo, “Martin’s perverted sexual tendencies do come from your side of the family. What about Allison, your niece? You know the tramp who moved in with her boyfriend after college. Everyone knows she lost her virginity when she was in the tenth grade and they took a vacation to Venice and some Italian gondola driver seduced her. She could have been more descrete.”
“Leave Allison out of this, Mother. You know her mother is a Jenkins. The Jenkins worked for their money and didn’t inherit it, so they have no idea how to be rich.”
I thought, no, don’t leave her out of this. I’m enjoying the family gossip. But I didn’t want to be late for my second day of work. Truthfully, I wanted to be in my office waiting for my Venus to arrive. I said, “I didn’t make Nicole, pregnant, although I have many sexual fantasies about her. I don’t think I’m perverted. My sexual interests are normal.”
Mother looked at me and said, “If you didn’t make Nicole pregnant, who did?”
“Is she pregnant?” I asked.
“I don’t know. You brought it up,” said Mother sarcastically.
“I didn’t bring it up, Mother. I said, “I have something important to tell the both of you if you can get Nicole off your mind for a moment. First of all, I have not had sex with Nicole. I want to have sex with her, but she has a boyfriend and I’m afraid he’ll kill me if founds out we’re lovers.”
“You’ve got a Sanderstuff’s brain on shoulders, Son. It’s well and good to have an affair with someone in our class. The worse that will happen is you’ll snubbed at a social event. Discreet affairs are seen as a sign on good breeding, wouldn’t you agree, Mother.”
A shade of pink appeared on Mother’s neck and began it’s slow rise through her face. Fortunately, Father missed this faux pax because he set his glasses on the table when the discussion began.
“You’re so right, Father. Discretion is important in liaisons. Keep that in mind, Artin.”
“Thank you, Mother. Son, one more piece of advice, never, step out of class to have a sexual dalliance. A one night stand every once in a while, why that’s healthy as long as there are no strings attached. By that I mean always use a condom. Never take a lower class woman’s word she’s on birth control. Now, for heaven’s sake, tell us your important news, Son,” said Father.
I almost forgot what I was going to say. I’m sure Mother and Father do not have sex, unless they are totally wasted. Now, I think they’re both getting action on the side. I could use this to blackmail them into increasing my allowance. I saw them both locking in on as if they had a laser and were ready to push the fire button. I blurted,“I’m in love and I’m going to get married.”
Mother hollered, “Victor. Victor. My drink please.”
Father said, “A bit early for gin isn’t it, Mother?”
Here we go again. The tennis match was about to restart. I had to stop it so I get to work.
I said, “I’ve a bit of a problem. I know I’m in love with her. I know I’m going to marry her. I haven’t told her yet.”
Father rubbed his hands together. “I’ve been waiting for this, Son. You’ve come to Mother and me for relationship advice.”
Mother cut right to the chase, “Is she of good breeding? They must live on this side of the city. This is where all the good people live. You can tell by the all the guarded and gated communities. The air is cleaner over here. The better restaurants are over here. And, all our help comes from over there. It’s not that we’re afraid of them. It’s that we want to remain pure. Surely, you understand this, Martin.”
A thought raced through my mind. Am I the sole beneficiary in their will? If I tell Mother and Father J is black, but her skin is the beautiful shade of coffee and cream and her body is as lithe and supple as a gymnasts I foresee three possibilities. One, two massive coronaries; two, a stroke and a massive coronary; or three, they overpower me and send me off the Betty Ford Clinic for rehab.
I looked at Mother and said, “Her lineage can be traced back to ships the earliest settlers welcomed into the US. It may go all the way to Thomas Jefferson and his plantation.”
“Is she one of the Jeffersons? This is too good to be true,” said Mother already thinking of holding a soiree to host J and me.
“What’s her name, Son?” asked Father.
I truthfully said, “She likes to be called by the first letter of her last name.”
“That is delightful. I can’t wait to meet J,” said Mother.
I decided to leave on a high note. Mother and Father told me not to work too hard and let my administrative assistant do it all for me. I confidently strode out the of dining room believing J would be mine tonight. I was soon to learn, I had a lot to learn.