15 Apr

Image and text Rick McVicar             

     The table is set with fine creamy white China. Light from the center candle flickers off the silver forks and knives, each piece engraved with roses lining the handles. A recording of Miles Davis plays amid the sound of raindrops pelting against the window. The overhead chandelier is dimmed.             

Digital painting of a man and a woman staring into each other's faces.

                                 Click on the painting to go to a YouTube music video.

       Lulu leads her fiancé, Dennis, into the dining room. The sound of clanging pots and pans can be heard from the kitchen, punctuated by an older woman’s screeching voice.             

     “Put down that beer. You behave tonight, Fred.”            

      “Ya, ya, just one more sip and I’ll be ready,” the woman’s husband replies.             

     In the dining room, Dennis’ lips tighten as he wipes his hand across his forehead. Lulu places her fingers on Dennis’ lips.             

     “Relax. You have nothing to worry about. That’s the way he always is. But he’s just a Teddy bear. You’ll see.”             

     A flash of lightning outside the window lights up the dining room. Thunder erupts.           

     “Are you sure your dad is going to be up for this? I hear he can be a real bear and not the Teddy kind.”             

     “So where have you heard this?” Lulu asks.             

     “The bartender at The Last Dance Tavern.”             

     “What were you doing there?” Lulu inquires.             

     “Oh, I stopped in for a beer after work last night. I said something about meeting your dad for the first time. The bartender said he had to ban your dad from the bar.”             

     “No! Really?” Lulu stands with her mouth open in disbelief.             

     Her parents walk into the room. Her mom speaks first.             

     “Good evening. Welcome to our home.”             

     Dennis clears his throat. “Thank you. It’s a very lovely home.”                  “             

     Lulu’s dad, Fred,  belches. “Hello. Care for a beer? Or would you prefer bourbon?”        

     “A beer would be fine,“ Dennis replies.             

     “Sorry, I’m all out. Here’s a bourbon.”             

     Fred walks over to a hutch in a back corner of the room where a bottle set sits.             

     “I heard you say something about The Last Dance. Nothing good comes out of there, you know,” Fred says gruffly.             

     Dennis asks, “Oh, what do you mean?”             

     “You haven’t heard? A man was shot there a few days ago. Some say I did it. But don’t worry. The police have me cleared."           

     Lightning flashes and thunder erupts. The electricity goes out, leaving everyone in the dark.

     I hope your day is not as dark as this story. Good artful health to you.

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