26 ~ Gillis Informs Pickle Politically Correct Police are Not Allowed in The Golden Wok


Gillis pointed  to the baldheaded black guy behind the buffet line. He said, “He’s the killer.”

“Who, Do Re? Impossible. He likes you. He doesn’t hold any grudges about you sending him up,” said Pickle.

“That’s not Do Re,” said Gillis.

“That’s not Do Re? You sure?” Pickle tried squinting hoping he’d have a better view. He stopped squinting and leaned toward Gillis. He spoke softly, “It’s not politically correct, but I have a hard time telling blacks apart, they all look alike to me.”

“Not to worry, Dill. They don’t allow politically correct police inside the Golden Wok. Do Re told me he has the same problem with white people. As for me, I don’t have a problem telling people apart. I was born with the gift of an inner eye. See the guy in the corner running the craps game? That’s Do Re,” said Gillis pointing to a baldheaded black man reaching for the dice.

“Do Re? What’s he doing over there?” asked Pickle.

“That’s not Do Re. I was testing you. He looks like Do Re, but he’s not Do Re,” said Gillis.

“I can’t tell them apart,” said Pickle.

“It’s a common mistake. There’s only two people in the world who can tell Do Re, Leon, and Buttercup apart. Their mother and me. They are identical triplets. The guy behind the buffet is Buttercup. Buttercup is our killer. The guy running the craps game is Leon. Do Re is our waiter,” said Gillis.

“Follow me,” said Gillis picking up both boxes of pizza and carrying them over to the large aquarium. Five large carp swam contentedly around a large plastic coral reef. Gillis opened the pizza boxes and dumped the pizza into the aquarium. Gillis and Pickle watched the pizza sink to the bottom as it were loaded with lead. The five carp attacked the pizza in a feeding frenzy, creating a cloud of swirling water sending pizza pieces and crumbs ricocheting off the aquarium walls.  

Pickle taped Gillis on the shoulder and said, “The carp look like they’re playing jai alai. What’d you do that for Gills? The pizza smelled great. I’m starving.”

“Take a look now, Dill. One bite of the pizza and you’d end up like the carp in the aquarium. They put arsenic in the sauce. Sure, it will enhance the flavor, but the after effects are terrible. Take a look,” Gillis pointed to eight huge orange and white Asian carp floating sideways on the surface of the aquarium.

“Do Re tried to kill us, Gills. What’d we ever do to him? I was going to ask him if he had a sister I could date,” said Pickle.

“Do Re, Leon, and Buttercup are all guilty. It wasn’t Do Re who waited on us. I pretended he was Do Re and went along with the ruse,” said Gillis.

“I’m totally confused. You just said Do Re was our waiter, Buttercup’s behind the buffet, and Leon’s running the craps game.”

“That’s what I said. I said it loud enough so Leon could hear me,” said Gillis.

“Who’s behind the buffet?”


“I thought Leon was running the craps game.”

“That’s Do Re.”

“But, Do Re waited on us?

“That was Leon, the first time. But Do Re brought the pizzas to our table.

“Who killed the monkeys?” begged Pickle. “Do you mind if I get some barbecue off the buffet? The smell is driving me crazy.”

“Be my guest. I’ll warn you, you’ll be eating monkey entrails.”

“Let me put this another way to you, Gills. Are you saying I will be eating Tells’ guts?” 

“The good news is that they’re grilled and covered with barbecue sauce.”

“What’s the bad news?”

“There isn’t any. Anything smothered in barbecue sauce tastes great. Ignore the barbecue. It’s go time.”

“It is?”

 “Do Re, Buttercup, and Leon all went into the kitchen,” said Gillis.

“I like teamwork, Gills. They’re all helping Leon on the buffet,” said Pickle.

“Leon’s not working the buffet. I only said that because the senior with the beehive hairdo behind us turned up her hearing aid so she could hear every word I’m saying,” said Gillis.

“Slow down, Gills. Who was behind the buffet? Was it Leon, Do Re, or Buttercup?” asked a confused Pickle.

“None of the above,” said Gillis.

“None of the above? I don’t get it,” said Pickle wiping the beads of sweat off his brow.

“The final piece to the puzzle fell into place, Dill. Play along with me for a moment and you’ll understand.”

“I’m game,” said Pickle.




A New Fun Fiction Read Begins Tomorrow

A New Fun Fiction Read Featuring Gillis and Pickle, Two Bumbling, Stumbling, Insensitive Police Detectives, Begins TOMORROW!

Trust Fund Baby ~ 47 A Satire

Chapter 47

After I dropped J off at Loomis I drove out to the country club. The way I had it figured, Mother and Father are going to love J. I’ve got to assume the fertility rate among Black American women is a point in J’s favor. One thing puzzle’s me, the mean number of children that filthy rich people have is one point three. How do you have a point three child. I didn’t attend math classes so statistics is a puzzle I prefer to leave to the family accountant.

It was 2 p.m. when I got to the country club. The morning golfing crowd was gone. The hot filthy rich women who compete to take tennis lessons from the hot male and female tennis pros were all out on the courts getting hands on instruction. I sat alone at the bar, my only companion was Louie the bartender, a short guy with wavy black hair and a nose that could be used for a spear. 

Louie was wiping glasses with a white towel. It occurred to me this is what all bartenders do when they have nothing to do. Louis carried his towel and glass and walked toward me. “Off work early, Martin. Can I get you a drink? he asked.

“Louie, can you keep a secret. I mean a really, really big secret?” I asked.

“How big?” He asked.

“I took out my billfold and slid two one hundred dollars bills across the bar to him.

“Oh, you mean a small secret that is okay to get out as a rumor?” said Louie setting the glass down and slipping the two one-hundreds into his pocket.

“It’s much bigger, Louie. It’s like super top secret,” I said. The moment the phrasing past my lips I thought I sounded like a girl in junior high school telling one of her girlfriends about her latest crush.

Louie looked down the empty bar toward his glasses. “Man, I’m behind time wiping glasses. I take pride in my spotless, shiny wine, beer, and shot glasses.”

I still had my wallet in my hand. I opened it, and put one, two, three more one-hundreds on the table. “Can this buy ten minutes, Louie? I got to talk to someone and I’m not Catholic. I can’t go to confession because I don’t have anything to confess. I’m the salt of the earth according to Mother.”

Louie took hold of the three one hundred dollar bills faster than a Vegas casino dealer, deals blackjack. He said, “I haven’t seen much of your mother lately. Oscar keeping her busy? Or, is she keeping Oscar busy? I’m not quite sure how that one works. BTW, I’m Catholic, consider yourself in confession. My lips are sealed tighter than a …”

I interrupted Louie because every simile he uses is sexually explicit. I said, “Thanks Louie. I’m in love. I finally found the woman I want to be with the rest of my life. It’s driving me nuts. Today, she told me she loved me.”

“What’s the problem with that? She’s not pregnant? Already have kids? Is she married and needs a divorce? If so, my cousin Gino is a good divorce lawyer,” said Louie.

I shook my head no. “None of the above, Louie. The problem is enormous, gigantic, overwhelming.”

Louie held up a hand to stop me, “I get the picture, photo, selfie, whatever. It’s serious.”

“Thanks for the summary, Louie. Here’s the real problem, I’m introducing her to Mother and Father tomorrow night at dinner.”

Louie smiled, “You know I’m Italian. Italians work around the principle that it’s a good thing to have someone you’re going to marry meet the parents before the wedding. And, it’s always better if there is plenty of good food around. I’m not sure how it works among the filthy rich.”

I said, “The filthy rich think it’s a good idea too, but not for the same reasons your people might think it’s a good idea,” I said, edging closer to what I really wanted to say.

Louie placed both palms flat down on the bar and bent over a bit toward me, His nose was freaking me out. I think he sensed it and backed away. He said, “I see the problem. My nose bothers you. I like my nose. It’s the only one I got.” Louie started laughing. I like someone who likes their own humor. 

“It’s kind of like that Louie. The filthy rich want to make sure their filthy rich children are marrying someone who is pretty much the same. You know, filthy rich, went to filthy rich private universities, never a public university, go to a mainline Protestant church, and have the same skin tone give or take how they tan.”

Louie nodded his head, “Where does this woman who you want to marry fit into this description?”

I chewed on my lower lip for a second, contorted my jaw into a grotesque position and tried to speak but it came out sounding mfff, durr, flliss.

Louie took a step back from the bar, he bent over, and scanned the area under his bar. After a few seconds, he smiled, and he lifted out out bottle containing a dark caramel colored liquid. He set it on the bar and reached under and returned with a shot glass. He filled it so that the liquid hung precariously at the lip of the glass threatening to spill.

“Drink it in one gulp, kid. Don’t ask me what it is. Don’t ask me where I get it. Don’t ask me anything about it. It’s what Catholics do in confession when they got something really hard to confess.”

“They do? They get to have a shot while they’re in confession?” I asked.

Louie nodded.

“I’ve thought about converting, but Mother and Father made codicils in their will stating that any heir in perpetuity that converts to Catholicism is disinherited from all wealth.”

“Is this woman Catholic?” asked Louie.

“I don’t think so. I never asked her exactly what her belief preference is. I know ours is money.” 

“How long you been going with her?”

“We had our first date at lunch today. I’ve known her five days.”

“Kid, drink up. I’m beginning to see the problem,” said Louie as if her were a doctor giving me prescription.

I put my right hand around the shot glass and in one swift motion I brought the caramel colored liquid to my lips and tossed it down. “Yeowee. Oh, Mother. Oh, mama. Get me something, anything. I’m being consumed by a fire raging in my mouth my throat, my esophagus, my stomach. Oh my, oh my.”

Louie’s hand went under the bar again, seconds later he handed me a large pickle with skin that looked like alligator hide. He said, “Take a bite.”

I took a bite, it was sour, tasted of garlic and made my lips pucker. A moment after swallowing the foul tasting crunchy excuse for a former cucumber, I felt an easing from the deadening of every nerve cell in my body. My only concern was the destruction of the entire membrane of my stomach lining.

“Don’t think about it, Kid. It will go away. Now spill your guts, not literally, of course. The filthy rich bitches are almost finished with their tennis lessons. The ones that weren’t able to take a pro home will be here complaining about the one’s who scored.”

I said, “Here’s the deal, Louie. One, she comes from poor roots.”

“So do a lot of people. You can get past that one.”

“She went to a public university.”

“I think you can swing that one.”

“She is breathtakingly beautiful.”

“That’s in her favor.”

“She’s got the most delicious coffee with a hint of cream colored skin.”

“She’s black,” said Louie.

“Yes,” I said.

Louie poured me another shot. “Good luck, Kid. Your secret is safe with me. This one is too hot to handle. I woulda charged you a grand if I knew. But a deal is a deal.”

I threw the shot down, Took another bite of pickle and said, “Can I have another shot?”

“You’ll destroy your stomach,” said Louie as he walked down to the end of the bar where he started wiping glasses.




Trust Fund Baby ~ 46 A Satire

Chapter 46

After J and I broke our kiss and embrace neither of us said a word. We closed the office and walked to the elevator. The elevator stopped at the 2nd floor. Carlos stuck a leg in, followed by his head sporting a gold canine and five tooth smile. J slid over to the door opening and gave him a look that peeled the paneling off the sides of the elevator. Carlos stepped out before having his nose reshaped without the benefit of a plastic surgeon. When J turned to press the close door button, Carlos flipped me a thumb’s up.

We walked the two blocks to the corner of Loomis and Ocean Drive. Maxine’s Deli sat on the corner as it has for the past forty-three years. Zagats gives it a five star rating. 

I turned to J and said, “I’m getting the pastrami and sauerkraut rueben with Maxine’s special dressing on marble rye and I’m passing on the dill pickle. I’m going to have a bottle of the oxygen infused water.” I tossed in the last item to show J I was health conscious, 

J said, “I’ll have the same.” Her words were spoken with the same emotion one might have waiting for the light to change from red to green. 

I passed on the dill pickle. I didn’t want to take a chance on pickle or garlic breath. J did the same. It spoke volumes to me. We walked side by side to Ocean Drive. We crossed the street and picked up the pedestrian path that curled at the edge of the cliff overlooking the reserved beaches and ocean. The firs three benches were occupied, I pointed to the fourth, “Is this okay?”

J nodded. She didn’t speak.

We sat. I opened the bag, pulled our a rueben’s out, and unfolded the wrapping paper half way around the sandwich. When I handed it to J, I said, “Mustard packet?” Mustard packets are always a good way to break the tension. I think I’ll stop by Maxine’s on the way back and grab a handful for the next group session.  

J gave me a smile carried by a love beat. She said, “Yes, thank you.”

My heart was in rhythm with the ocean waves lapping against the shore. We ate silently staring out at the ocean. A cool ocean breeze, the sun at our backs, and my black Venus next me made this the most perfect moment of my life. I wanted it to last forever. 

J only ate a half of her sandwich and wrapped the rest up. She handed it to me. I placed it back in the bag. I was still hungry, but I wasn’t about to ruin the moment, I did the same with my sandwich. 

A brief moment later J said, “What happened? Explain it to me?”

I said the first three words that came to mind, “I love you.”

J turned turned toward me and took both my hands in hers, “M, I fell in love with you the moment I saw you. I fought it. You’re filthy rich. I grew up dirt poor. You’ve never worked for anything. I’ve had to struggle to get this far. I still owe over one-hundred thousand dollars in student loans for college. Your white. I’m black. You don’t have a serious bone in your body. I take life very seriously, it’s the only way I survived. Mama can’t stand you. I can only imagine how your mother and father will react when they see me. Do you understand all this?”

I stared into her eyes, I know she was speaking to me, I didn’t hear a word. I only wanted to look at her and hold her. 

“Well? Speak to me,” said J.

I said, “I love you.”

“You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?” said J.

I nodded my head and gave her a silly grin.

“Oh M, you are like a comfortable shirt I want to toss out, but I can’t get rid of it.”

I leaned toward J, closed my eyes, and kissed her. Some moments later when we broke our kiss, I said, “Seriously, will you marry me? I don’t have a ring with me. I’m serious. I’ve never been more serious in my life.” 

J let go of my hands and turned back and looked out toward the ocean seeking an answer. I turned toward the ocean and tried to use my highly limited mental powers to detect any good karma I had floating through the universe. This was one of the times I wished I watched the PBS special on developing good karma. Twice I tried to start a conversation, twice J shook her head. I sat and stared and waited. 

Fifteen minutes went by before J turned toward me. “M,” she said. “I know I love you. I don’t know if I want to marry you.”

I blurted, “Is it the sex. You want to discover if I’m great in bed. I have great reference.”

J started laughing the deep laugh I heard when we first met. I started laughing too until tears were running down my cheeks. J dabbed at them with Kleenex from her purse. 

Eventually a moment of calm occurred. J said, “M, I want you to introduce me to your parents. Not tonight. Tomorrow night at dinner at your house.”

“Not tonight? What are we going to do for the rest of the day?” I said hoping J was going to say make non stop passionate, unbridled love until we passed out from exhaustion.

Instead, she said, “I’m going back to the office and canceling group for tomorrow. I am going to the salon, then the spa, and you can pick me up at my apartment tomorrow for dinner. It’s 2342 Center Street, apartment 301.”

“What am going to do?” I asked.

“How old are you?” asked J.

“Thirty-three?” I said questioningly.

J said, “It’s time you figured it out if you really want to marry me.”

Trust Fund Baby ~ 43 A Satire

Chapter 43

Carlos stared at me, “You packing?”

Packing? What was Carlos thinking? I didn’t have a suitcase, backpack, or carryall. I was clueless? The only trip I wanted to go on was a trip to Las Vegas with J and have a quickie marriage.”

I answered, “No, Carlos. If I was packing I’d take J and we’d head to Vegas.”

Carlos give me his best impression of a hyena grinning and said, “Man, you got a sense of humor. I can tell you high up in the gang ranks because you can make jokes about this stuff. I got just the thing for you since you not packing right now.”

I shot Carlos a smile and look that said I know exactly what you’re talking about and I was as clueless as if I was at a stamp collectors convention. “What?” I asked.

Carlos reached down into the front of his pants. My first thought was this is an odd way for a guy to scratch his scrotum when he’s in public. It’s more common among men to nonchalantly reach down and grab their crotch and scratch until the itch goes away. It’s accepted protocol, you can scratch over pants but not in your pants. Father told me in the only Father to son talk we ever had, even if you’re following male protocol you scratch more than twice, you’re beginning to take too much pleasure in it. As a teenager, I did a lot of scratching in bed. 

I knew Carlos took hold of something. I didn’t even care to speculate about what he was holding. I’m not sure this bad boy act is going to play well with J. She’s apt to hit me square on the jaw and send me to the floor. 

Carlos grinned at me with his gold canine and five tooth grin. He said, “You gonna like this.”

“I’m not so sure, Carlos. You don’t have to show me,” I said.

“I got to show you if you gonna be a bad boy. You got to make the black beauty think you’re a desperado.”

Maybe being a desperado wasn’t such a good idea. I was staring at the bulge in Carlos’s pants where his hand gripped hold of only God knows what. A scary thought ran through my fragile mind. What if Carlos is the head of a Mexican cartel. Carlos is hiding out from authorities by working as a custodian and cleaning toilets in the Loomis Building. What police agency is going to look for El Queso the head of Mexican cheese cartel doing custodial work in Loomis? 

With a flash of showmanship seldom seen in the elevators at Loomis, Carlos pulled out an actual gun. His hand was on the trigger and he was twirling it, cowboy style. He fired it twice into the elevator cabin side wall hitting Genevieve Loomis in each eye. It wasn’t a case of first degree murder, since it was a full wall photo of Genevieve’s head. From where Carlos was standing and then pointing the gun, he couldn’t miss Genevieve’s eyes, The gun was only six inches away when he fired. I screamed at him, “I’ll give you my wallet, please don’t shoot.”

Carlos laughed like a hen laying an egg. When he finished cackling, he said, “No, problemo, Double M. I don’t want your gang on my case. I’m going to give you the gun so the caramel nugget double dipped in milk chocolate will think you are a bad boy.”

I raised a hand, I lied, “No thanks, Carlos. I have a trigger temper. I’m liable to shoot one of my patients.” 

Carlos pushed stop on the elevator. We were stuck between the thirtieth and twenty-ninth floors. He scratched his head. I wasn’t sure if he was thinking and trying to get his brain to come up with a better idea or if he had head lice. 

Carlos suddenly exclaimed, “I got it Señor Double M. Take off your chirt. Chirt was how he said shirt.  

“What are you going to do Carlos? Why do I have to take off my shirt?”

Carlos reached onto his cart and picked up an expensive fountain pen one of high priced lawyers lost or Carlos lifted off a desk. He unscrewed the top off the pen and held it up to his eye as he were deciding if it were clean enough to inject an IV into my arm. 

Carlos said, “I’m going give you a tat of a naked woman on your bicep. You’re in pretty good shape. When you flex your bicep, she’ll jiggle her titties.”

My heart hit the elevator floor. If J saw a nude woman on my bicep jiggling her breasts every time I flexed my arm, she’d have nothing to do with me. J’s standards of behavior are considerably higher than mine, and infinitely higher than Carlos who set the morality bar so low a snail could leap over it. Think. Think. Think. I screamed to myself. 

“Tell him you have a tattoo and it’s a secret tattoo given to you by the gang,” said my conscience.

“Where did you come from? I didn’t see you get on the elevator?” I said.

“Where you go, I go. Usually, I’m socially networking with the other consciences. I can multi task. I listen to you and laugh and tell my colleagues what your up to. It’s their form of entertainment.”

“Do you think that’s fair? I didn’t say you could share my life,” I said.

“Sue me,” laughed my conscience. “Listen up. Take my advice.”

Carlos said, “Who you talking to, man? I don’t see nobody. You see somebody I don’t see?”

Back in the present moment, I saw my way through. I said, “I was talking to El Jefe, the founder of the gang. You know the gang leader executed for twenty-seven murders. He communicates to me when I seek advice.”

“Not the El Jefe?” said Carlos incredulously. 

I never met El Jefe. I didn’t know a deceased gang leader by this name existed. I knew El Jefe meant the boss. I heard one of the illegal immigrants Mother and Father hire because they work cheaper than legitimate citizens call his supervisor El Jefe. I answered as only I can answer, by lying. “It is the El Jefe. He told me I can’t take my shirt off because it will show the secret tattoo he carved into my right pectoral with his knife.”

Carlos blessed himself at least a dozen times. I not messing with you. El Jefe is a legend. Nobody goes against El Jefe. Even from the grave he has sex with your girlfriend if wants to have sex with her.”

“That’s not all,” I said and I don’t know why I said it. I think I enjoy lying.

“There’s more?” asked Carlos.

“He has seventy-five women in heaven who take care of his every need and I mean every need.”

Carlos had us moving toward the 21st floor. Small things are beginning to make me grateful.

Carlos said, “I can only hope I have twenty or thirty women catering to me when I get to heaven. Will you tell El Jefe to put in a good word for me?”

“I’m on it, Carlos,” I said as the elevator glided to a stop at the 21st floor. We fist bumped. 

As I was leaving, Carlos hollered, “Tell El Jefe, I like blondes.”


Trust Fund Baby ~ 41 A Satire

Chapter 41 

I didn’t wait for Nicole to wake me or Mother to chide me for staying bed and hiding from work. I hardly slept. Repeatedly, my mind reran the video of J’s hand taking hold of mine and our lips touching. I smelled my hand frequently during the night to catch a hint of her sweet fragrance. My sleep was ragged, but I didn’t care I’d discovered, for the first time in my life, someone more important to me than me, or Mother or Father. I drifted off around 2:30 after I heard Mother thanking Oscar for coming over so late to watch Hot Bahama Nights with her. As for Oscar, the man has the endurance of an Ethiopian marathon runner. 

I arrived early for breakfast. I asked Victor to get me started with coffee, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, and a hearty bowl of oatmeal. I am determined to be a reformed eater. No more junk food. I want to be lean and mean for my chocolate truffle. 

I heard Mother and Father approaching the dining room. When they arrived, I heard a quick gasp from Mother. “Martin, are you feeling well? What’s wrong. You can tell Mother. Do you need Father to leave the room so we can have a Mother to son talk. It’s about sex, isn’t it. Do you catch an STD from the woman you’re dating? Is she pregnant? We’ve warned you about only having safe sex. I’ll call Pettibone and have him arrange a DNA test. He’ll fix it so another male’s DNA will replace yours and no one can prove it’s your child.”

I’m a psychologist. I’ll admit I don’t know what I’m doing and what I know about psychology can fit in one coffee cup. It’s enough to get by. One thing I’m sure of, Mother is nuts. She is one hundred percent certifiable. I’d like to help her in my role as a psychologist but I’ve never heard of a psychologist having his mother as a patient. I think Freud might have some fun with that one. I don’t know anything about Freud. I’m only name dropping here so anyone who is reading this will think I’m intelligent. Mother taught me to name drop. She said it gives instant cred. I think I’ll use this technique at group this morning. 

I turned my head slightly toward Mother, “Mother, I feel great. I do not have an STD. The woman I am planning to marry is not pregnant. We haven’t had sex yet.”

Mother and Father bypassed the stand behind your chair until prayers are said. They sat down. Father grabbed his Wall Street Journal waiting for him next to his place setting at the end of the table. On the other end, Mother, took her linen napkin and spread it across her lap. I noticed she’s wearing a light colored summer dress that dropped to mid café. Before I could ask Mother if she scheduled a massage for the morning, she said, “Oh no. Is she frigid? If she’s frigid you’ll have to carry on discrete affairs. It will be the only way to maintain your sanity. You’ll also have to deposit your sperm in a sperm bank. I’ll help you pick out the perfect egg for your sperm.”

Mother is talking about me retaining my sanity? No further proof needed. I wonder if Pettibone will get me a power of attorney over her. I glanced at Father. He was reading the Wall Street Journal the way I used to ready Playboy. He wasn’t listening. I was so sure he wasn’t listening I said to Mother, “Mother, does Father have erectile dysfunction?”

Mother’s pale pallor flushed pink. I’ve never seen her embarrassed. She leaned toward me and whispered, “Don’t say it so loud. He’s not proud of it.”

“Isn’t he doing his secretary?” I asked.

“Martin, where are you getting this information?”

“Rumors I pick up at the club, Mother,” I lied.

Mother said, “I’ve heard those rumors and I say, good for Father. I hear he paid for breast implants for her.”

Okay, this was information overload. I don’t know what Oscar and she did last night, but her dendrites were misfiring. I needed to change the subject, “Mother. I think I want Victor to learn how to cook grits and fried pickles.”

“Grits? Grits? Fried pickles? Surely you misspoke. The filthy rich don’t eat grits. We don’t eat hominy. We don’t eat okra. We don’t eat green beans cooked in bacon fat. Have you been reading William Faulkner?”

“I don’t read books, Mother. That’s old school. I listen to podcasts. I found an interesting one last night on interracial marriages and how to make them work.”

“Why would you waste your time with that, Martin. You know the Sanderstuffs don’t mix blood or human excretions with people of another race. Is this for your group? Is someone in the group involved in an interracial relationship?” asked Mother.

“I can honestly say, Mother. I’m working on an interracial dating issue right now. It’s true love, Mother. The problem the couple has is that parents on both sides don’t understand.”

Mother took a sip of her coffee, then rang a little bell next to her plate. Victor appeared within five seconds. Either the bell has magic properties or Victor has extraordinary hearing. Or, he’s afraid Mother will sack him from the easiest chef’s gig in the world.

“Yes, Mother,” said Victor. All the help call them Mother and Father. It’s a rule. They did this so I wouldn’t have role confusion as a child. Mother is so thoughtful.

“Victor, bring me a piece of dry rye toast, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee with a shot of espresso.”

I looked at Mother, “Did you have a long night? You never add espresso.” I can be such an imp when I want to be.

Mother didn’t miss a beat, “Oh, Martin. Thank you for your concern. I tossed and turned worrying about you. I didn’t get to sleep until just after 3 this morning.”

I decided to let that one go. I wanted to ask for a review of Hot Bahama Nights, but I’ve seen it three times. “Thank you for worrying about me, Mother. When you meet J, you will see I’m in good hands. You won’t have to worry about me ever again.”

“When can you bring her over, Martin. She sounds delightful. I’d like to take her to the country club to meet all my friends and show her off.”

Mother gave me the opening. I said, “When we talk I’ll ask her if she is ready to come to dinner to meet Father and you. I know you’ll just love her.”

“Father. Father. Did you hear Martin?” said Mother.

Father looked up from the Wall Street Journal. He said, “Apple went up one point three percent. Sanderstuff holdings held steady.”

What a great family. I can’t want to ask J.