|Photo Credit: S. R. Karfelt
Sherman Kelts picked Beth up from the police station in his Jag-You-Are as he called it. He announced she could pay him back by treating him to lunch.
At the Bistro of his choice in downtown Cleveland, Beth watched as Sherman actually sniffed the wine cork. Deaf to her protests he insisted on filling her glass to the top with the shockingly expensive beverage.
“You’ll love it. Just taste it.”
“I don’t drink.”
“Wine isn’t drinking.” Sherman took a large mouthful and swished it around like mouthwash. Beth decided Sherman seemed like the sort of man who could have a perfectly happy lunch with very little response on her part, quite possibly none.
Settling comfortably into her cushioned pew, Beth ignored her lawyer and the wine. She ate her organic salad, quietly thrilled to have found what her mother always called real food. Sherman ranted about retribution for her false arrest. Beth occupied her mouth with chewing to keep from arguing, almost thankful for his soliloquy.
After a hopeful examination of the dessert tray, she settled on a Buy Local Fruit Compote. The waitress, a pretty redhead appropriately named Kelli, lifted the glass dish straight from her tray, setting it on the table in front of Beth. Several blueberries rolled over the edge, and Beth nabbed them off her lap, popping them into her mouth.
“Organic is a gimmick. Just a way to get you to pay more,” said Sherman.
“Actually no it isn’t,” said Beth. Kelli winked at her and turned away with the luscious tray of desserts.
“For the price of that fruit, you should have gone with strawberry shortcake. Now that’s dessert – homemade cake and ice-cream. Killer fattening though. Looks like Kelli might be a big fan, if you know what I mean.” There could be no doubt that Kelli had heard every word, but she continued smiling at the couple at the next table.
Unable to stop the truth tumbling from her lips Beth glanced pointedly at her lawyer’s paunch while he shoveled in a double chocolate cheesecake.
“Kelli and I both know exactly what you mean, and I couldn’t disagree more. You’re very observant of the perceived faults of others, but you seem blind to your own.”
“Don’t take it personally, Beth. You could eat everything on that tray without a worry.”
“Thank you, Sherman. Perhaps I should.”
Holding his fork and a hand out defensively, he said, “I didn’t mean to say that you’re too skinny. Though women look better a little underweight and that’s a fact.”
Beth motioned to Kelli, who rolled her eyes a bit and returned. She slid the check across the polished antique table. Beth immediately slipped her credit card into it, handing it back to the gorgeously curvaceous waitress. Counselor Kelts continued stuffing his feet in his mouth until the woman returned to whisper that the card had been declined.
The same was soon true of all three of Beth’s credit cards.
While Sherman submitted his take on the wisdom of purchasing a house beyond one’s means, Beth rooted in her bag, thankful to locate enough cash to keep her out of any further debt to Mr. Kelts.
“You can’t be serious.” Kelli shoved the extra fifty back at Beth.
“Don’t worry, I actually can afford it. Besides, you earned it,” Beth said.
“Thanks.” Kelli stuffed it into her pants pocket, and nodded towards Sherman. “I’ll use it to buy more cake.”
Reprint from Warrior of the Ages, Chapter Seven by S. R. Karfelt
S. R. Karfelt All Rights Reserved
Votadini Publishing ~ Horace Tupper Books
|Photo Credit: S. R. Karfelt
Nicole Mason Photography