Trust Fund Baby ~ 28 A Satire

Chapter 28 

J led me into Harvey’s Huge Hamburgers. I stopped behind J. We stood at the back of line next to the door. My olfactory sense was in danger of short circuiting. No food I’ve ever smelled, smelled like this. I was sure it wasn’t lemony roasted broccoli with parmesan. Or, maple ginger roasted vegetables with pecans. And, I was sure Victor wasn’t the chef. If Victor were here he’d thrown himself onto his carving knife. I tapped J on the shoulder, “All I want is baked salmon on a field of wild greens. I eat light at lunch.” 

J half turned her head toward me and gave me a ‘say what’ look. It was a look I’d become used to. I’m quick on my my feet and recovered from my cuisine faux pax, “I was only kidding.”

J gave me a pretend smile. It was the first time I paid attention to her beautiful white teeth. I said, “Who did your veneers, great job?”

Three men, obviously workers turned and stared at me. J turned and looked at them, “He’s a filthy rich white boy who needs to eat something real.”

The four of them started laughing and did a set of complicated hand and arm movements. I’m sure J was in a gang when she was younger and these three men were part of the gang. No wonder she knows so much about gangbangers. 

  I stared at the back of J’s head. My impulse to kiss her neck and nibble on her ear was overridden by the knowledge that everyone in the restaurant but me was black. Was this a movie about some place in Africa? Were they all extras or crew or workers? I tapped J on the shoulder, “Are they filming a story about your people?”

J half turned toward me, “Double M, do not speak unless I give you permission to speak. I feel a responsibility to have you see how the rest of the world lives. This is not a movie or a movie set. These are people who live and work around here. These people are no more my people than all filthy rich people are your people.”

“I’ve never seen so many black people in one place in my life.” I said.

“I am one of them, if you haven’t noticed,” said J.

I stared at J for a moment and said, “No, you are the soft color of coffee and cream. You are a sweet caramel. You are my delicious milk chocolate. Technically, you may be black, but I only see a love aura. Kiss me.”

J interrupted my honey glazed description of her, “Are you nuts? Read the menu, it’s right up there on the wall behind the counter. Don’t act like a fool when it’s your turn to order.”

“What’s a fried pickle? I don’t understand pulled pork, is it meat? Can I ask if they have salmon and arugula?” I asked.

J turned toward me, grasped my right bicep with her left hand. Her touch sent shivers through my entire body. I did not want to become sexually aroused while standing in line. If J started stroking my arm and whispering sweet things to me my libido would head to the front of the line. I avoided looking into her eyes. If I did, there is no telling what effect it would have on my body.

J said, “Double M, let me order for you. If Harvey asks to shake your hand, shake it. Do not look for a napkin or wipe your hands on your pants. Do not open your mouth. Do not ask a question. If you do, I will slam my fist into a place on your body that will make you keel over in intense pain. There will be nothing sexual about what I will do.”

“Are you telling me you will hit me in the nuts?” I said attempting to clarify J’s comment.

Before J could answer, she withdrew her hand from my bicep and turned toward the biggest black or white or brown or yellow or red man I’ve ever seen in my life. His dark chocolate bald head glistened with beads of sweat. He had a dark mustache and wore a gold earring, His white apron looked like it hadn’t been washed in two weeks. Grease spots covered it as if they were dots on a road map. There was an Omega symbol branded into his right bicep. The thought of it quashed my libido and sent shivers down my spine. It must have been a fraternity initiation where he went to college I surmised. Too bad he didn’t join my fraternity where initiation was all about how many beers you could drink before you vomited.  I made a mental note to ask J if she’d ever been branded or had any tattoos that I should know about before we spent the night together.

The big bald black man spoke, “My, my if it isn’t the most delicious piece of chocolate pie I’ve seen in a while. How are you my beautiful J?”

An ex, I thought. If he got fresh with J, I wondered if I could take him. I took Karate as a seven year old. I stopped after earning a green belt. It was enough to intimidate my friend Jason who was into reading and a year younger than me. It was a no brainer, J. I didn’t think too long, J was on her own. She’s has a strong grip. I have bruises on my bicep to prove it. I will take a photo of the bruises as proof she loves me.

J spoke, “Harvey, if you weren’t married to Lorraine, I’d have a run at you.”

Wait a minute.  What about having a run at me? I’m available. I won’t resist. I give in easily. So, this was Harvey. J probably dumped him when she left the gang. She was hoping I’d turn up in her future. She might have visions others don’t have. Once we’re married, this will be helpful in predicting the ups and downs of the stock market. 

“Who’s your friend?” asked Harvey nodding toward me.

J half turned toward me and said, “This is Marty, he’s a colleague. He asked me who makes the best burgers in the city. I said there is only one answer, Harvey.”

Harvey stepped around the counter and thrust his hand toward me. I took it and saw my hand disappear into his palm. Good Lord, he’s strong. I pump iron, not a lot, but enough to keep toned to impress the ladies. 

Harvey said, “Good to meet you, Marty. Any friend of J’s is welcome here.”

I didn’t know if I was supposed to say something. I took a chance hoping if I said the right combination of words Harvey would stopped pumping my hand and release it before the bones in my hand gave way. I said, “J said you made the best fried pickles in the world.”

Harvey let go of my hand and glanced toward J, “I’m going to put an extra two fried pickles on both your orders. You should have told me they’re a favorite.”

J started laughing, “You know how you do fried chicken for your special customers but don’t put it on the wall. We want two plates of it along with Harvey’s extra spicy barbecue sauce. The kind you get all over your fingers.”

Harvey gave a wide, gold toothed grin and said, “It’s on the house, J. Nice meeting you, Marlin.”

I smiled nodded. I was about to say, “Nice meeting you, Harold,” when J pulled me away. 

She whispered, “I don’t know what you were about to say, but it would not have ended good for you. I hate fried pickles, but you are going to eat four of them. I will not embarrass Harvey. We go way back.”

“Was he a lover?” I asked.

J stopped and looked at me, “What is wrong with you? You are not normal. No normal man stops a woman in a lunch line and says what you said.”

I smiled at J. I took this as a compliment, “Mother would agree. She always said the Sanderstuffs are not like normal people.”

J didn’t answer. She grabbed a thin metal stick with the number 18 on it and carried it to a table. I docilely followed. I wanted to make up for the faux pax I committed and skirted around her to pull out her chair. She turned a bit toward me, “Thank you. Now sit down and when the wait staff comes ask for iced tea or water. The iced tea can be sweetened or unsweetened. Can you handle that?”

I quickly glanced around our table. I was the white chalk dot on the blackboard. I sat down. There was a half empty bottle of ketchup, salt and pepper in small paper containers, a plastic container of French’s Mustard with mustard crusted down the sides. There was can with plastic knifes, forks, and spoons in it. And, there was a container that held paper napkins. Only one side was full. The other side empty. A small wire basket help packets of sugar and artificial sweetener. I looked up into J’s beautiful eyes and said, “It’s too complicated. Will you order for me.”

“Oh for God’s sake. Can’t you do anything on your own?”

“Honestly? No. It’s why I need you to be my lover, my mistress, my wife, the mother of our children.”

I thought J was going to hyperventilate. Fortunately, she got control of herself and said, We’ve got to talk.”

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Trust Fund Baby ~ 5 A Satire

Chapter 5
I opened the door to my swanky office. I expected the receptionist to rush over to greet me handing me a cup of hot coffee telling me this is the happiest day of her life. I stood in the doorway and stared at a lifeless reception area. Two large, I mean really large paintings hung on the wall. One of Grandmother Houston and the other of her pet toy poodle, Jimmy III. Jimmy, Jimmy II, and Jimmy III were named after the one term Democratic president from Plains, Georgia. Mother and Father frown on mentioning Democrats by name, it was as evil as cursing, maybe worse.
The receptionist’s cherry desk acted as an appropriate barrier in front of the door to my office. I knew it was the door to my office because I read Dr. Artin M. SanderStuff in gold italic letters. I’m starting to get the hang of Artin. It may be a good conversation starter at the bars. I can see the conversation starting, “Hi, my name’s Artin, I’m a trust fund baby and I’m loaded. Is this stool taken?”
There were three black leather chairs appropriately placed against the wall opposite Grandmother Houston and Jimmy III. The paintings were signed by Liam. Mother and Father have two large Liams in their bedroom. One on the ceiling over the bed. Sounds kinky. I don’t know how you get kinky out of the Golden Gate Bridge. The other is a painting of Grandmother Houston holding Jimmy II in her lap hanging on the wall opposite the entrance to their one thousand square foot bathroom. I made a mental note to tell the secretary to get rid of Grandmother Houston, Jimmy III and any other reference she can find to Liam. Then the thought hit me, what if my secretary is a he? Mother and Father wouldn’t dare. But, Pottybone? I wouldn’t put it past the weasel. I can hear him saying it was Grandmother Houston’s wishes and giving me his smirky smile.
There was a Keurig coffee maker on a cherry table underneath Jimmy III. I made a mental note not to drink anything under Jimmy III. I made another mental note to have the receptionist move the Keurig closer so I could call for my coffee at any time. Suddenly, I felt exhausted. I understood how common people feel after a day’s work. Work is hard and I haven’t reached my real office. I walked around the receptionist’s desk, reached for the gold colored door nob, turned it and pushed the door open. I expected to see the receptionist tidying up. Granted there’s nothing to tidy up, but practice makes perfect.
All I saw was a large office with a large cherry desk. The desk was polished and sparkled in the sunlight coming from the window behind it. I looked out the window and stared at the Pacific Ocean. A tall ornate lamp stand stood in both corners behind the desk. A door was on the south wall of the room. I walked over to the door, opened it and discovered my personal toilet. A vanilla candle was lit and there was a can of citrus spray sitting on the back of the toilet. I was always told, the Sanderstuff’s fecal matter didn’t stink. I’m not allowed to use the S word. I turned around, closed the door and walked behind my desk. Against the wall opposite my desk were a deep red leather sofa and two matching chairs. On the north wall of the room, there was Grandmother’s Houston’s picture again. Mental note, get a magic marker, darts, and make a dart board out of her.
I turned around and faced the window. Twenty-one stories below me and two blocks away I recognized Dolphin Beach. I made another mental note to have Petrolbone buy me a high powered telescope to check out the sun bathing babes. I’m making so many mental notes, I’m losing track. Work is hell. I don’t know if I can last five hours let alone five years.
I pulled out a luxurious sheepskin chair that matched the cherry desk and the large Oriental rug that covered three-fourths of the floor. I sat in the chair the way a monarch might sit in her chair. I swiveled it around to the right. Then, I swiveled it around to the left. I scooted it back and put my feet on the desk. I closed my eyes and was interrupted when I heard the outer door open and female voice say, “Anybody home?”
I took my feet off my desk and sat up straight. I hoped this wasn’t a patient. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do if it is a patient. I’ll tell her, the doctor isn’t in and to call in for an appointment. I heard the door close, footsteps seemed to be coming closer to my door. Then I heard, “This old broad’s got to go and she can take the scrawny looking rat with her. No dog is going to poop in my coffee.”
My intuition worked overtime. It had to be my receptionist. Please, please, please God I prayed, let her be hot. If she’s not, she’s fired for being late. I’m the boss here.

Trust Fund Baby ~ 4 A Satire

Chapter 4 ~ Fashionably Late
I drove my black BMW downtown to Ocean Drive, pulled up in front of the Loomis Building. It wasn’t difficult to miss the Loomis. It takes up an entire city block and rises 52 stories stretching toward the sun. The Loomis Building is a clear violation of a city ordinance that states that no building can be constructed more than two stories high within three miles of the ocean. City ordinances are for ordinary folk. Not folk like Mother or Father or Father’s cousin Genevieve Loomis. Cousin Genevieve, prior to her passing from this life, owned the city council, the mayor, the city attorney, and any one else who might get in her way. She was as mean as a pit bull, stabbed more people in the back than any politician, and would take her own child off life support without shedding a tear or saying goodbye. She was Father’s favorite cousin.
The law abiding, ordinance following citizens on the east side of Loomis building get to stare at the 52 Loomis Building stories. They get t bask in the building’s shade every day from one p.m. until sundown. Like Father says, “those folk learned an important lesson, don’t mess with cousin Genevieve.” I got out of my BMW, left it running and stepped onto the sidewalk. I took a valet ticket from a black valet attendant wearing a three thousand dollar suit by Zegna.
I walked up to the Loomis entrance and stared up at the glass edifice. The sliding glass doors parted for me and I thought this must have been how Moses felt when the Red Sea parted for the Israelites. I entered what Father calls the Cathedral and stepped into an Italian marbled space that Julius Caesar would have envied. Fifty yards in front of me four glassed in elevators traveled up and down. I watched them for a second and stopped when I started to develop vertigo. I never met cousin Genevieve or as I like to refer to her as the creepy old broad and I glad I didn’t. I’m only five feet into the building and I’m staring at her blood curdling, two story image hanging on a wall overlooking the lobby. It’s one of those paintings where the eyes follow you. She had a face that’d make grapes turn into raisons. I’ll bet my five thousand dollar weekly allowance she never had an orgasm.
I averted Genevieve’s freaky eyes turned my head toward the guard. He looked like ex military with the buzz haircut, square jaw, and a Brooks Brothers made his navy blue suit that didn’t fit right on his chiseled body. I made a mental note to get a personal trainer and workout when my five year hitch of working is over. I wonder how he likes the tie? He’s got an eighteen inch neck that looks like the stem to his mushroomed head. He doesn’t move his head, his eyes slightly shift toward me and he said in a voice that sounded my like a low growl than human speech, “Good morning Dr. Sanderstuff, I’m Joe Maples. I’ve been expecting you. Your office is on 21st floor facing the Ocean. It’s room 2002. Do you want me to write it down so you’ll remember?”
I caught the dig. Of course I needed it written down, but I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction. I smiled, and said, “No.”
I wanted to tell him there’s help for ex military who relied on steroids to bulk up, but I wasn’t sure he’d accept it as friendly advice. I began repeating the room number to myself as I walked toward the elevator bank, “Twenty oh two, twenty one two, Twenty two two.” I know it’s one of those rooms. I should have concentrated. I lost concentration because I starting thinking about asking Prettybone if I could hire the guard to sub for me. It’s better than being a guard.
I walked across the marble floors to the bank of elevators and joined three men and two women in tailor made business suits. I’m six feet even, not real tall but I was a bit taller than each of them. I looked at the men and quickly decided I was a more good looking, taller, and had better hair than any of these yuppie dweebs. Then, I checked out the women. The taller of the two, wore a dark blue business suit, skirt instead of pants. Nice legs, skinny hips, and small breasts. Not my type. I looked at the other woman, a Latina caliente. Hot, very hot. I might asbestos gloves to get close to her. My brain searched for the perfect waiting the elevator pickup line. Like her colleagues, she wore a business suit. Her’s was a pinstripe and her skirt was four inches above her tanned and toned legs. She hit all my markers, especially the c cup marker. I admit I’ve never emotionally matured. That’s what my dissertation adviser told me the few times I met with her. The only reason I asked her to be my adviser, she met all my markers as well. I mentally rehearsed a pickup line for my Latina. Before I could use it, one of the suits turned to me and said, “Can I help you?”
Do I look like I need help I thought. He may make a good salary, but he’s not in the Sanderstuff league, so I gave him a Sanderstuff putdown, “Can you make a run to Starbucks? I’d like a Chai Latte with extra whipped cream,” I said with all the faux sincerity one can muster on the first day of work. I hoped this impressed the Latina who stole my heart.
“You’re serious?” the suit said.
I nodded half expecting him to apologize for his faux pax. Instead, all five stared at me as if I belonged in a leper colony. One of the women turned her head toward Joe Maples attempting to make eye contact. Too bad Joe was staring at the Weather Channel on the console on his desk. My Latina put her hand in her hand bag, I think she was reaching for pepper spray, perhaps a Taser, or mace. It could have been a gun, there’s an open carry law in this state. I’m not sure dating her would work out. Mother and Father would never approve. She’s probably a first generation college graduate, strike one. She’s of Mexican descent, strike two. And, if she’s Catholic, strike three. The ballgame is over. I don’t agree with Mother or Father, but I really want my trust fund.
Two elevators opened simultaneously and all five suits rushed in the elevator to my left without so much as wishing me a good day. I walked into the empty empty elevator. I stood in the middle of the elevator cabin and did nothing. What was I supposed to do? Usually, everything is done for me. I stared at bunch of buttons on the elevator wall, each with a number. Nice tough I thought. I saw the elevator door start to close. Before the door closed, a thin brown skinned man stuck his arm in causing the doors to stop and retreat back into their shell, turtle like. He pushed a custodial cart carrying every cleaning item recommend by Martha Stewart into the elevator. He smiled at me and flashed a gold canine tooth. The door hesitated for a second then began its ascent.
He said, “Hey, man. I saw you checking out Maria Torres. She’s got a nice ass, but you got no shot. She’s an attorney with Longman, Longman, and Longman.”
I answered, “She’s not a Longman?”
He laughed, “No, but she’s sleeping with one of them.”
The elevator slowly made its way to the 21st floor. I said, “How do you know she’s sleeping with one of them?”
“Hell, man. I got ears. I got eyes jus like you. They on the 21st floor. Where’re you heading?”
“The same floor. What’s their office number?” I said with a faint hope I could magic on Maria Torres and bring her under my spell.
“I tink its 2001 or maybe 2003. I know it’s not 2002, there’s some psychologist guy coming into that space. I hear his parents set him up. It must be nice.”
I said, “Some people have all the luck.”
“You said it man. You look like you not doing too bad for yourself. You selling grit? That how you get your bread?”
I thought I was up to date on street lingo. I made a mental note to check Reddit out. I’m pretty sure he’s referring to drugs and not the southern dish of grits. I said, “You buying?”
He said, “No, man. But a couple of the attorneys are into that crap. They can afford it. I was jus gonna help you out.”
“Why do you want to help me out?” I ask. I wondered if I look needy.
“You look at yourself in the mirror before you come here, man? I bet you never did a day’s work in your life. I got five dollars says I’m right.”
Before I could answer, he said, “Here’s your floor. Who you here to see?”
“The psychologist,” I said.
“Good luck with that one,” he laughed and pushed the button for the 35th floor.
I used my Spanish as I left the elevator, “Hola.”
He gave me his gold toothed smile, waved and said, “Hola.”
Friendly guy. I’m glad I paid attention in Spanish class. I know how to say goodbye.
I stepped out of the elevator and stepped onto the marble floor staring at 2002. Good job Pettibomb I thought. Nice touch putting my name on the door to make sure I can find my office each day. I wouldn’t want Attorney Torres to think I’m stalking her. I read the door to my office, Dr. Artin Martin, Psychologist. Office Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I lifted my wrist and looked at my iWatch. It was 10:30 a.m. I already missed an hour and a half of work. I’m off to a great start. It’s something Mother taught me when I went to private school. She always said, “When you make people wait for you, you show them you are more important than they are.”
I planned to use this tried and true upper crust tactic on my secretary. Before I opened the door, I wondered if I was a bit too early. I’ll check with Prettybone on my required hours. Perhaps a cameo is all I need. I tussled my hair, unbuttoned a second button on my shirt, and dialed up a sexy smile. I know Pettybong won’t disappoint. I opened the door to my office.

Trust Fund Baby – 3 A Satire

Chapter 3 ~ What’s Work?
I said, “Father, I don’t know how to work. What’s work?”
Father said, “Honestly, Son. I don’t know. Neither one of us have ever worked. Believe me, Mother and I have thought about it. It’s a vexing problem, that’s for sure. We didn’t want to ask Nicole or Oscar or Victor about work because that would make them think they were smarter than us. I asked Pettibone and he said it had something to do with exertion. He even said some people have told him it is about exerting oneself for a purpose or a cause. Son, we are filthy rich capitalists. For us, work is an abstraction. It’s only a word and nothing to cause you worry. Sure, you’ll have to leave home and go to an office and pretend your working.”
I interrupted, “Will I have a secretary?”
“Of course, Son. She’ll do your work for you.”
I had a flicker of hope. I said, “If the secretary is beautiful, can we have sex and call it work?”
“Martin,” came the voice of the avenging angel across from Father. “Is sex all you think about?”
Mother may be reading my mind. I do think about sex often. Make that, quite often. I read in a men’s magazine it was normal for the male species. If I’m not thinking about sex, I’m thinking about where to go eating or drinking. I turned my head slightly toward Mother and said, “Not all the time, Mother. But it takes up my thoughts about 80 percent of the time.”
“Father,” Mothers said. “Do you think Martin needs hormone therapy?”
“It’s only a stage, Mother. Do you think sending him to a brothel in Las Vegas for a week will help?”
I interjected, “Can I leave this afternoon?”
Father answered immediately, and it burst my balloon. He said, “No, Son. You have to go to work. Now listen to our plan. We created a job based on your education and experience where you won’t have to work. All you have to do is show up each day, tell your secretary what to do, and meet with a few people each day. All you’ll have to do is pretend you’re a psychologist. You’ll have all the props. Certainly you can do that, don’t you think?”
I looked at Father and said, “You mean I’m going to be a head doctor, a shrink?” I asked.
“Now, Martin, watch your language. Mother and I want to know what you thought of using the name Sanderstein instead of Sanderstuff?”
“Why?”
“It sounds Jewish. You’ll be able to charge more and the people will think you’re brilliant.”
“No,” I said. “It will be too hard to spell. It’s a tough learning curve. Don’t make this more difficult than it has to be.”
“Martin makes a good point, Father,” said Mother. “Can we hurry this along, I’m having my Evian bath and Caviar facial this morning.”
“Sorry, Mother. I’ll hurry it along.” Then Father addressed me, “Working as a psychologist ties perfectly into the dissertation Mother wrote for you.”
I turned to Mother, “What was the subject of my dissertation?”
Mother beamed with pride and said, “Using Love Therapy as a Counseling Technique.”
“I love my dissertation. Will I be a sex psychologist?”
“No, Son, your dissertation had nothing to do with sex or the erotic form of love. It focused on the altruistic notions of love.”

I felt a depression beginning to build in me. When this happens I either eat, drink, or have meaningless, nameless sex. My only choice at the moment was eating. I finished the remainder of my Danish and drew my forefinger on the bits of strawberry and frosting on my plate. When the tip of my forefinger was loaded with sugary substances, I put it in my mouth and licked it off with my tongue.
Mother suppressed a dry heave, “Martin, that is so low class. If you want another Danish, I’ll have Victor get you one.”
I suppressed the temptation to lick my plate, turned toward Father and said, “Dad, I mean Father.” I like to throw dad in there every now and then to cause Father a bit of acid reflux. “It sounds like work to me. I’d prefer other four letter words.”
“Martin!” shrieked the wicked witch of the West.
She surprised me. I didn’t know she knew any other four letter words. I better keep a closer eye on Oscar.
Father raised a hand signaling Mother, he was taking the lead, “I’ve already had an agency hire a secretary from a minority class. This will show the world that the Sanderstuffs do not have a biased bone in their body.”
“Is she hot?” I asked.
“Martin,” shrieked Mother. I wonder if she had problems being potty trained as a child. It was not a good time to raise the topic. I noticed she was beginning to develop an eye twitch. I wonder what is causing the reaction.
“Father? Father?” I said as I raised both hands up over my head my palms toward Father, he was tossing some serious stuff my way and I needed to understand it.
“What is it, Son? Mother and I don’t have all morning. Mother has her day at the spa and I’m playing golf with Senator Pratt. He’ll hit me up for the usual donation. I’ll pledge the usual donation after he renews his vows to vote for the rich every time there is conflict between the rich and poor.”
“I really don’t know anything about being a psychologist. I know how to mix drinks. I know how to play golf. I know how to play tennis. I know how to dance,” I said thinking of all the things I could do well.
“Son, be serious for a moment. Mother and I thought you will make an excellent psychologist. It’s a lot like being a bartender. Attorney Pettibone filled out all the papers. He paid off the appropriate approving agencies, and best of all you are set you up in an office in the swanky Loomis Building with a view of the ocean. All you’ll have to do is sit and listen to people having problems and give them some advice. You don’t have to study. Think of it as sitting at a bar with one of your friends.”
“This qualifies as work, Father?” I asked.
“I cleared it all with Pettibone. One other slight problem, but Pettibone will clear it up, nothing to worry about. You’ll just have to sign a few papers, no work involved.”
Father said this as if he were knocking a flake of dust off his silk cuffs. Alarms sounded in my brain. I asked, “What exactly is Petty balloon clearing up?”
“Son, it’s Pettibone. I know your fondness of playing with his name, but Mother is present. It’s nothing. Want to know how the stock market is doing?”
There was only one way to deal with Father. I said, “If you don’t tell me, I’m going to tell Mother what Helen and I did on Saturday.”
“Harold. Just tell him. For God’s sake it’s not all that important. He’ll find out sooner or later. He may as well start getting used to it,” Mother said with icicles laced on each word.”
“Okay, okay, Mother. Be careful of your blood pressure. I can see the red blotches beginning to appear on your neck,” said Father.
I watched Mother and Father and wondered if they’d have makeup sex. Nah. It won’t even come to mind. I said, “Will both of you act grown up and stop squabbling.” I like acting the grown up in the room every once in a while. Not too often, though. “What is it? You’re not trying to slip a power of attorney passed me. That’s it, isn’t it. You want to send me to a clinic for six months. No way I’m signing anything.”
“Son,” said Father. “It is nothing so drastic. We’re only changing your first name from Martin to Artin. Before you say anything, let me explain. In Internet searches for psychologists the results will be reported alphabetically. Martin will be stuck in the middle with all the run of mill psychologists. Mother and I want you to stand out from the crowd. It’s what a Sanderstuff does.”
“Artin? Artin? What’s an Artin? I don’t want to be an Artin,” I said almost pathetically. I need a life. I really need a life. I know they’ll win, they always do. My backbone … what backbone. I have a hard time standing up to my image in the mirror. Why don’t they just change my middle name to Samual from Milgram and my initials will be ASS, Artin Samuel Sanderstuff. I said what I always say in these situations, “Whatever, but will I still have my BMW and allowance, right?”
“Of course, Son. That’s the old spirit. Grandmother Houston is probably looking down on your from her gorgeous palace and estate in Heaven with her servants gathered around her feet and smiling.”
I thought for a second, Grandmother Houston is looking up at me from the hottest furnace in hell. I hope hell has reserved seating for Mother and Father.
Father continued, “Just show up to work for five years. Think of your experience as doing hard time like they say on the television. When you’re finished with serving your sentence, Mother and I promise to set you up in your own estate with a cast of lower class people to cater to your every need. You may even want to write a book on how to survive work.”
“It’ll be tough, Father. Do you think I can do it?” I asked.
“Son, you’re a Sanderstuff. You can do anything.”