Victor served dinner precisely at seven-thirty. Five minutes before Victor began serving dinner, Mother and Father took their seats, a glass of wine was waiting for them. I followed them into the dinning room, my wine was waiting for me as well. During our three course meal Father had a mini rant about the Democrats. Mother told Father she believed Majories Fieldstone was having an affair with Victoria Davidson’s husband. Father asked her if they were going to get a divorce. She said she didn’t think so because Victoria was having an affair with Jessica Mason’s husband.
I didn’t eat. I played with my food. I moved it this way and that. I sipped wine. Victor refilled my glass two more times before Mother brought her silk napkin to each corner of her mouth and carefully folded the napkin into a perfect square.
Father took the cue and said, “Wonderful meal, Mother.”
“Thank you, Father. I took great pains in having Nicole find the right recipe to give to Victor. I must have sent her back to her computer three times.”
Several thoughts raced through my mind. The first thought was is Mother and Father the first names on their birth certificates and driver’s license. I’ve never heard them call each other anything else. My mind drew a blank. I only knew them as Mother Sanderstuff and Father Sanderstuff. I wondered if the dinner formality made it’s way into the bedroom.
I can hear Father saying, ‘Mother, I’m feeling a tad randy. Is your calendar open this evening?”
Then Mother would take hold of her iPhone and check her calendar. She’d say, “Do you think you can finish in ten minutes? If so, I can fit you in at 10:20. I want to check my Facebook page at 10:30.”
Father’s reply, “I feel I can finish in five minutes.”
“I’ve put in you in my calendar, Father. Remember no more than two minutes foreplay.”
My other thoughts were about J. I was worried about her not showing up at work in the morning. I tried to understand why she was angry. My only conclusion, PMS. Mother interrupted me.
“Martin, what are you thinking, I see your lips moving and no sound is coming out.”
I turned my head toward Mother, “Does PMS make you angry?”
“Martin, Martin, Martin I am well pass that stage. I never had PMS. PMS is reserved for lower class women. Nicole can be so bitchy before her period. Was Nicole bitchy toward you?”
I needed to change the subject. I said, “No. I was watching Dr. Phil for ideas and he accused a woman of having PMS.”
I needed to get away from Mother, if I stayed much longer, I’d break out in hives. Before I could rise from my chair, Mother spoke to me, “Martin, please remain for a moment. I desire to have a Mother to heir apparent conversation.”
When she wanted a one on one conversation, I always felt uncomfortable. I felt more uncomfortable when she addressed me as the heir apparent. I liked the heir part, it was the apparent part that confused me. She couldn’t possible be going to tell me that they are changing their will and leaving the bulk of the estate to cousin Theodore. He is such an ass. I’ll admit he went to Harvard and graduated summa cum laude. Big deal. Who had the most fun in college. I partied, he studied. I have a doctorate. He only has an MBA from Wharton. While I had a very active sex life, I’m sure Theodore is batting zero on the critical important male score sheet.
I turned my head and gave Mother a basset hound dog look.
“Martin, why are you frowning?” asked Mother.
Frowning? Frowning for a Sanderstuff is a faux pax. When you’re filthy rich you have no reason to frown. I said, “I think you’re mistaken, Mother. If you saw what you thought was a frown it was caused by my thinking the Democrats might regain control of Congress. It’s a wonder I didn’t delve into a deep depression. You know how their policies will affect my trust fund and your bottom line.”
“Martin, Martin, Martin,” Mother waggled a long thin index finger back and forth as if it were an metronome. “Remember, Martin, you came from an egg supplied by me and sperm provided by Father.”
What was the loony bat trying to tell me? Whose birth canal brought me into this world? I said, “Are you saying …?
Mother cut me short. “Yes, Martin. But I didn’t want to discuss your surrogate parent today. Back to you. I believe something is going on between you and the woman you’ve chosen the bear your children. You know, we’ll have to do a DNA test on her to make sure she’s a perfect fit to bear our heirs and keep the line going. You don’t mind taking a swab of the inside of her mouth so it can be analyzed, do you?”
Mother only had two glasses of wine at dinner. I couldn’t tell if she was drunk, serious, or worse, insanely serious. I said, “Mother, I’ve had a very rough day. You’ve never worked. It’s hell out there, Mother. It’s dog eat dog. You can’t trust anyone. I’m going solo without a co-pilot. The stress builds until you think you’re going to break. Can you talk to Pettibone about a vacation. I’m due an extended leave.”
“Did you work past closing today, Martin?”
“I worked for twenty minutes. The twenty minutes was akin to a zip file loaded with data that only a mind of my caliber can assimilate. I want to know who bore me. Why didn’t you have me?”
“Oh, Martin for God’s sake get over it. You won’t find a stretch mark on my body and you never will.”
“I don’t want to look at your body, Mother. I want to look at Nicole’s body or my finance’s body.”
“Just so you’ll know, Oscar, my personal trainer, told me I’m buff.”
I did a quick mental calculation. Oscar is only twenty-seven years old. He couldn’t be my father. “How did you fertilize your egg?”
“Oh father masturbated into a cup and they put the egg and his sperm together in the clinic.”
This was too much information for me. My mind was becoming jaded. “Is this all, Mother. I’m going to my room and getting drunk.”
“No, Martin. We’re not finished. Now, tell Mother what went wrong today. A mother knows when her only heir apparent is troubled.”
I decided to lay it out for her. I needed someone to talk to and the only person I could think to talk to was J. She walked out on me. I said, “Mother, my fiancee won’t accept my proposal. She walked out of D’Lato’s in a huff because there was nothing on the menu she liked. Now, I don’t know if she’s speaking to me.”
“Was this your first lunch with her, Martin?”
“Why didn’t you come to me ask for advice. That’s why I’m here,” said Mother with an appropriate hint of satisfaction.
My inner voice kept saying, tell the botoxed bitch to get lost. Another inner voice countered and said, if you tell your Mother to get lost, kiss your inheritance away. I listened to the sane inner voice. “How could I have been so insensitive, Mother. I didn’t want to take you away from Oscar’s massage, or your bridge game.”
She patted my hand with her cold, spindly hand and said, “There, there, Martin. I forgive you. You should have take her for sushi. Sushi is always a winner for lunch.”
Mother does not know J.
“Have you thought about buying her off? That’s the best way to cement a good relationship.”
“What do you mean, Mother?”
“You know, Martin. The usual. Surprise her with a Mercedes. Fly her out to Aspen for the weekend. I’ll have Pettibone draw up a prenup. He’ll put in there in case of a divorce she can keep the Mercedes and nothing else. Everyone has a price except the Sanderstuffs, Martin. Remember that. Start low with her, and only move up gradually. That was the problem with D’Lato’s. You started too high, when you should have started at a more modest place.”
“One last thing, Martin.”
“Have Oscar give you some of his condoms. I believe he keeps extras in his room.”