Dinner With MJ

The two men were sitting at the bar at the club. They had played golf earlier. Now they were drinking scotch and eating goldfish crackers from a small brown bowl on the bar.

“Allie is really late,”  the first one said.

The second one looked at his watch. “Yeah she is a Diller. The whole family is slow.”

“I don’t know the other Dillers, but let me tell you Allie is really slow. When we have something that we really want them to arrive at on time we lie and tell them it is starting a half hour earlier than it actually starting. They’ll still be late but not so much.”

“Allie is a speed demon compared to her sister.”

“MJ?”

“Yup. MJ is the slowest human on the planet.”

“I doubt she could be slower than Allie.”

“She is slower. Trust me on this.  MJ is an old friend of Jen’s. I had been hearing about MJ for years. The first time I met MJ, Jen arranged for us to meet her at a restaurant somewhere in Philadelphia. MJ had picked out a restaurant that she really wanted us to try. She was planning to open a restaurant and thought this place – I can’t remember the name – was just like the restaurant she wanted to open.”

“Wasn’t she married to a guy from Philadelphia?”

“Yeah, she was but that had blown up and now she had a new boyfriend who was a chef and so she planned to open a restaurant with him if she could raise the money.”

“Did she?”

“Oh yeah. Of course. She was a Diller.”

“Tough business, restaurants.”

“So true.  Anyway, the logistics for this dinner were complicated cause we were all coming from different directions. I was up in Greenwich. MJ was in Philly and Jen was flying into Philadelphia from Nantucket.”

“Where were the kids?

“I think his was before we had kids.”

“The good old days.”

“Yeah. For sure. Anyway, I wasn’t that anxious to drive all the way to Philly to go to dinner with Jen’s friend from college. Plus I was sure MJ was going to try to hit us up for some money for her restaurant. But Jen really wanted to do it and you know how that is…”

“Yes I do.”

“I am at the house when Jen calls – she was just about to leave Nantucket – but she had just been talking to MJ and MJ had left a dress that she needed in her parent’s house in Westport and could I stop by on the way down to Philly and pick it up?”

“Dinner with the bride’s old friend and errands to boot?”

“Yeah yeah. What are you going do? So I said I would. But I put off getting ready and sat down to watch a little golf and then I dozed off.  When I woke up I realized I was supposed to be in Philly in a two hours. I was fucked.”

“What did you?”

“I jumped in the car and drove over to the Diller’s house.”

“Allie around?”

“No she was at school. I was just planning to run in and get the dress. I left the car running in the driveway and went to the door. MJ’s dad was home. By himself. He was old school. He insisted that I have a beer and watch some golf while he looked for the dress. He popped me a Heineken and then he set me up with a dish of bar nuts and asked me about my Mom and Dad and went through in detail where I went to school. He was one of those guys who like to pick a name from the air and say it to you with no explanation and you are supposed to know the person and then try to figure out how he knew you’d know the guy and then you talk about how he knows the guy and where they met and who was in college with who and who they married and what embarrassing thing he or she did with him or around him…”

“I know this guy.”

“Lime shorts and loafers and the Navy crew neck sweater with a hole in one of the elbows. Sweetest guy in the world.”

“I know him for sure.”

“Totally sweet guy. But not in a hurry. We must have been talking for half an hour before he actually started to look for the dress. And there is no way to hurry Mr. Diller along. If you look at your watch, he thinks you mean you want another beer and he is such a sweet guy that he doesn’t embarrass you by asking, he just pops another.”

“Down the hatch.”

“I am starting to get a little antsy because I am supposed to be at the restaurant in Philly in an hour and I am still in Greenwich and I know that Jen will be completely pissed cause she thinks I don’t like MJ very much which is another way of saying that I don’t respect her college friends which is another way of saying that I take her for granted and, well, you know how that goes.”

“Been there, my friend.”

“Anyway finally he goes off to look for the dress and damn if he does not disappear. I mean he is gone. I mean I wait for like 20 minutes and then I yell his name and he doesn’t answer and then I wander into the kitchen and he isn’t there and finally I go up stairs. I am wondering if he had a heart attack or something but he is up on the third floor – I never even figured out what he was doing – and he comes down without a dress but he has got an old silver plate from a golf tournament that he was in a couple of years ago.”

“Got it.”

“So by the time he tells me about that one and he finally finds the dress and I finish up my beer – he won’t let me leave without finishing – I have been at the house for an hour. I go out to the car and I realize I left it running in the driveway and the fucking thing is out of gas.”

“Oh no.”

“Fortunately MJ’s father says he has a can of gas in the barn out back. So he gets on his mucking around boots and we go out there and he tells me a story about running out of gas on a date with MJ’s mom and he doesn’t know exactly where the gas can is so I have to climb around and look under piles of junk. Now I am not only unshaven but I am covered with dust and cobwebs. Finally we find the thing and it looks like it has been there for years but there is still some gas in it. I figure if it will get me to the gas station, I can get to Philly before Jen completely freaks out.”

“So what happened?”

“One problem. I got underway and I wasn’t even to the gas station before my car started to make all sorts of weird noises.”

“You were snake bit.”

“So when I get to the gas station I asked the guy about it.  He says that he thinks that the gas Mr. Diller gave me was the old kind with lead in it and now I have messed up my catalytic converter.”

“Ugh.”

“So by the time I get to dinner I am an hour and a half late. I go in and Jen is sitting at the table by herself . She has had a couple of glasses of wine. And she is pissed.”

“Where was MJ?”

“That’s the best part. She hadn’t got there yet.”

“Whoa. Saved by the bell.”

“Exactly. Jen was still totally pissed at me but I blamed Mr. Diller and we drank some more wine and she finally cooled down. We actually had a nice time.”

“What happened to MJ?

“She didn’t get there for another hour.”

“Ok. I agree. That’s worse than Allie. Did she even apologize?”

“Oh sure, she has a great apology. She is really good at it; she has been giving it all her life. I think the Dillers start practicing their apologies when they are still in their cribs.”

“Impressive.”

“And she hit us up to invest in her restaurant too.”

“Bet that went nowhere.”

“Well…”

“You are kidding?”

“Jen really wanted to.”

“You wuss.”

“Well I hung tough for awhile.”

“Until?”

“Until I didn’t.”

“Complete loss?”

“Total.”

“That’s life.”

“Yup. There was really only one good thing about the day,”

“What’s that?”

“I left the fucking dress at her father’s house.”

– Jay Duret

jayduret@yahoo.com