C utlass and Bobo came home raving about the marvelous cruise they took over the holidays. For once, they were free from their enslavement of holiday decorating for JoJo Three Fingers and his ‘family.’ JoJo, sequestered aboard his yacht in an undisclosed location, was keeping a low profile from the authorities.
Max and I had invited Cutlass and Bobo for happy hour with champagne and canapés. We sat on our terraza by the pool listening and nodding encouragement, champagne glasses in front of us, while they told their stories,.
“How was the food?” Max asked.
“Oh ………… !” Cutlass rhapsodized, clutching his hands to his chest.
“Tell all!” I said, sitting back.
“The restaurants on board! The buffets! The ice cream parlor by the pool!” Cutlass’s eyes traveled skyward.
His midriff had expanded, the buttons straining on his striped shirt. “It was a holiday cruise with stops pulled out. Christmas cookies galore with loads of gingerbread men. Roast goose with dumplings, spiked eggnog, and grogg at Christmas. Buffets from nirvana: Alaskan crab salad, dim sum, tender steaks, ravioli stuffed with fontina cheese, butter roasted chicken with rosemary potatoes…………. and those rhubarb and almond tarts …….. “
Cutlass took a delicate swipe at his mouth with a napkin. “Sorry, just the memories make me drool.”
“The activities?” Max asked, leaning forward, refilling glasses. “Anything memorable?”
Bobo chimed in, “There was so much to do we couldn’t do it all. New nightclub acts every night, discos! The music pounded all night but, of course, our cabin was nice and quiet.” Bobo took a sip of champagne, warming to his story.
“Interesting ports of call, too.” he said. “The walking tours were extraordinary. Lots of color and local crafts, art galleries, historical sites. Some of us welcomed the exercise after all the eating on board.” Bobo threw Cutlass a pointed look. “Some of us didn’t.”
Cutlass sniffed, ignoring the barb. “I languished. For once, I didn’t have to obey your decorating commands. I had time to sit in my clamshell sofa by the pool and read a book.” He snorted. “It was sheer heaven.”
“But, dear, I forgot,” Bobo said, touching Cutlass’s arm. “You exercised, too. You swam in the pool, didn’t you, darling?”
Cutlass threw Bobo a look filled with fire. “Let’s forget about that. Shall we, dearest?”
Max and I leaned forward. “No, no. Don’t hold back. Tell all.”
“You see? Sylvia and Max want to hear about it.” Bobo giggled. “Cutlass enjoyed the pool so much, he decided to try the water slide tube but he got stuck at the end. All you could see of him was his feet. He thrashed about trying to get free. Several helpful people pulled at his feet until he popped through. Everyone applauded when the water tube finally gave birth to Cutlass,.”
Bobo laughed. “Be a sport, darling! It was the highlight of the day!”
I saw we were headed into rough seas. Before this tale could go any further, I pressed the tray of caviar and egg canapés at them and asked, “How was your cabin? Décor of the ship?”
With a sigh of relief, I saw Cutlass hold back. He didn’t want to spoil the homecoming. He smiled at me and took a canape. “You tell it darling,” he said, a gleam in his eye.
Bobo chimed in. “Oh, the décor was ‘No Expense Spared Modern’.” He smoothed an eyebrow. “Rich, but frankly, kitschy.”
“Like what?” Max asked, leaning forward.
“Our cabin was classy and low key, no complaints: navy and white theme, velvety soft Egyptian cotton sheets, down pillows, brass lamps, a sitting area with couches and chairs, mini fridge, sink. The bathroom was divine: all marble and chrome, bathtub with jets, large shower, and walk-in closets.”
“Sounds great. So what was the problem?” I asked.
“Of course, I’d seen photos of the public areas on-line before we booked on the ship, but it was a surprise in real life: oversized chandeliers, busy carpets, patterned upholstered chairs, colored lights everywhere, lots of disparate colors.” He gestured with his hands. “Gaudy.”
Cutlass giggled. “They only bothered you when you got seasick, dearest!”
Bobo recoiled. “I did NOT get seasick! I just liked spending time in the cabin.”
Cutlass looked gleeful. I could tell he was geared up for his own story. He took a hefty pull of champagne. “Most of the time you were on the bed with a cold cloth over your face. That’s really why you took so many on shore excursions. It was the only time you weren’t throwing up!”
Trying to stop a potential storm at sea, I offered more canapés. Bobo, slightly green now, turned away.
Happy hour, obviously, had ended.
“Before we go,” Cutlass said, handing me a shopping bag with the ship’s logo, “here are some souvenirs.”
Max and I opened our gifts: a lovely river pearl and amethyst bracelet for me and a giant bottle of expensive French cologne for Max. How lovely and thoughtful!
After air kisses had been blown and they left, Max and I returned to the terraza and finished the champagne. He looked up at the stars. “Sounds like they had fun even with mishaps.” He sighed. “Reminds me of our family’s voyage to Europe on the RMS Queen Mary. What a trip!”
I’d heard this story before but was never tired of hearing it again. Max – you’re on!