My wife Shelly and I run a small non-profit catering operation on the side (not to be confused with the For-Profit catering we do to keep the lights on that sometimes turns into a non-profit situation. Shit happens). This non- profit thing is not a big production-just occasional dinners to raise operating funds for organizations we support.
During the last dinner, my wife and I had to leave for an hour or so to attend a funeral service for an old friend’s father. The kitchen was handled, servers were all in place and we enlisted our friend Theresa to take the money at the door. Not a complex job and she had sat in to spell either of us previously, but we had never left her alone to run the show. The thing about Theresa is that she is our only vanilla friend who knows what goes on behind closed doors at our house. Some expect, I’m sure, but she knows. My dear wife, fueled by Vodka tonics, spilled the beans during a heart-to-heart with her a couple of years ago about keeping marriages strong, what we did, yadda-yadda.
Shelly had told me about it afraid I’d be angry but it was sort of a kick. Something to add to a flirty overlay that Theresa and I are always playing with. And she’s quick-like the time I came up beside her at a bar and she offered me a stool. “That’s OK”, I said. “I’d rather stand…” She gives me the look: “Were you really bad today?”
So when we left her at the door heading out-“OK, I counted the till and I know we’re straight. You know what happens if you’re off when I get back, right?”
“I guess I get spanked”, she said with a smile and twinkle that gave me a southerly buzz, funeral home trip or not. She laughed, I laughed and winked saying something like “As long as you know…” Shelly smiling led me out of the room asking, “How long will that exchange stick with you?”
As a natural vanilla, this stuff will roll off of my wife. Theresa, who talks a lot, probably wouldn’t remember by the time we got back. As a spanko though, this is the kind of thing that I can wrap a whole day’s worth of fantasies around.
So we get back about an hour later and the hall is packed-sold more dinners than we had in six months. Good for all concerned, but I ducked into the kitchen to help and Shelly did her thing, and we were at it hard for the next three hours or so. “Assholes and elbows” as my Gramma used to say. No time to fraternize or commiserate.
The next day Theresa and I had the text exchange you see here. All nudge, nudge, wink, wink; showed it to Shelly, she gave me the “you’re incorrigible” look and that was that. Then, this past weekend I’m in the garage tuning my lawnmower-it’s that time in my corner of the realm-when my phone buzzed. I assumed it was Shelly telling me when she’d be home but nope. “Theresa” said the phone.
“Hi Babe”, says I. She’s been “Babe” to me for years…as is my wife and most woman friends. (If it makes me an asshole, so be it.)
“What are you up to?” she asked.
I told her. She asked about our garden-had I tilled yet. Stuff like that. Small talk that I knew she really didn’t give a shit about but I kept the conversation going. Then she asked-
“Did you ever recount?”
Of course I knew what she was talking about. “Sure”, I lied. “The next day.”
“How did we do?”
“Good, real good…over 250 dinners.”
“Was the money straight?”
“Well, yeah”, I said slowly-as if reluctantly. “We were off a bit-not so you’d notice.”
“Around fifty bucks-cost of five dinners. Well within the ‘close-enough’ range.”
“It got really busy for a while there”, she said.
“I know…great job by you…”
“Still”, she said….”I feel like I should make up that money.”
“Get the hell out of here! No way…”
The phone was silent but there was still a connection….
“Still….” She said finally.
“Still nothing,” I said. “We’re good. And besides….we already worked out a penalty if you were off.”
I’d offered to spank her before-most famously when she was complaining about not being able to stick to a workout regimen. I’d offered the same service to her that I provided my wife-which had earned me a severe punch in the shoulder from Shelly who was sitting next to me. But this seemed to be different. It was just she and I on the phone.
The silence earlier had nothing on this. The birds stopped singing, there was no wind, I do believe my heart paused so that I wouldn’t miss anything Theresa might say.
Finally, “Is Shelly home?”
“No. I mean, not yet. She’s on her way. I thought you were her, on the phone. ”
“Okay…” she said, stretching it out…”I’ll swing by your house on the way home. If I see both cars, I’ll stop.” Good-she didn’t trust herself alone here either.
“Ok, Trece-maybe I’ll see you later…”
“Maybe you will…”
I didn’t. Shelly got home about twenty minutes later and I didn’t mention anything. Really nothing to mention yet. That’s bullshit-OK-I know that’s bullshit. But I’m waiting, see what happens at the next dinner….