I followed Lex from the kitchen to the study where she plopped down in her desk chair and crossed her arms in defiance.
“You can’t make me!”
“Lex, you sound like one of the kids.”
She pouted. Then she glared at me. “Eating at Jeannie’s is…is—I might as well set a tire on fire and eat it. It would taste a whole lot better and it’d be a whole lot healthier.”
“Le-ex? Come on now.” She glared at me again. “Not everything Jeannie cooks has to have health consequences.”
“Sure it does, mom!” Lori had slipped into the room unnoticed. When she spoke up, Lex motioned her over and gave her a ‘high five’.
I sighed and started to rethink my strategy.
“Honey, Jeannie bought a cookbook when we were in Austin and she’s been practicing.”
“Is that why Teddy couldn’t come over yesterday? Uncle Rodney said he had a tummy ache.”
I ignored Lorrie and glared back at my wife. “Don’t say it, Lex.” I sat on the sofa, nearly feeling defeated until a light bulb went on in my head. “ You know, hon. Jeannie offered to cook over here if we couldn’t go over to their home.”
Lex shot straight out of her chair, took my hands, and looked me dead in the eye. “I used to think you loved me.” Then she dropped my hands and turned away. “I guess I was wrong, since you seem so keen on Jeannie poisoning me. Poisoning us all.”
I honestly can’t say that Jeannie’s reputation as a ‘killer cook’ isn’t well deserved. After all, if it can’t be nuked, her family won’t eat it, with the exception of the liberally served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cold cereal, and hot dogs. That’s about the extent of her culinary range.
“Lex, how is Jeannie going to get better at cooking if she doesn’t do it?”
“I don’t have any objection to Jeannie trying her hand at cooking. As long as she doesn’t burn down the house or make us eat any of it.”
“She’s making lobster. Rodney is grilling steaks and Jeannie is making lobster.” I rose from the sofa and went back to where Lex was seated at the desk. “You know you want it,” I said in my most sultry voice. I sat on Lex’s lap and started kissing her on her neck.
“You don’t play fair, you know that, right?”
Lorrie made a beeline for the door. “I’m outta here. You guys can neck without me having to watch.”
After a while, Lex decided that we could go on over to Jeannie’s. Rodney was pretty handy with a grill and we could always develop allergies to shellfish if Jeannie’s efforts turned into a disaster.
We went to Jeannie’s for dinner tonight. Rodney had a good sear on the steaks and he grilled corn and vegetables. Jeannie…well, yeah.
We never got to eat. Maybe it was the lobster exploding when she put a live one in the microwave. Maybe it was the fire when the metal band on one of the lobster’s fins caused the microwave to spark when the lobster exploded. Maybe it was the cloud of smoke that made it hard to breathe in the house.
We all went to the diner where Francine gave another stab of flirting with Lex until she caught my eye and realized she was about to resemble that exploded lobster when I got through with her. Rodney ordered a steak. Jeannie was too distraught to eat, and the kids had the spaghetti special.
And somewhere in the dark, a small contingent of lobsters is making their escape to the highway.
Jeannie stirred the lemon around in her water-glass for a while and finally said, “Maybe I should have tried to make the smoked salmon.”