Al’s Blind Date: The Al Series, Book Six

BOOK: Al’s Blind Date: The Al Series, Book Six
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Al's Blind Date

The Al Series, Book Six

Constance C. Greene

To all children

who love to read

One

“Blind date! I would never never go on a blind date!” Thelma cried, fluffing up her back hair so her bangle bracelets jangled noisily.

“Blind dates are tacky. My mother says they were tacky in her day and they still are. No really popular girl”—and Thelma smiled complacently down at her chest … “would be caught dead on a blind date.”

It was Sunday. We were having lunch at Polly's. Sunday is usually togetherness day for Al and her mother, but today Al was off the hook due to the fact her mother was whooping it up at some fancy do at the Plaza.

Some days we discuss world affairs, some days politics. Today we were into blind dates.

“I don't believe I know any really popular girls, Thel,” Al said, smiling. “And never say never, kid. It's bad luck.”

“What's that you're cooking, Polly?” I asked.

“Hollandaise,” Polly said. “For the eggs benedict. You have to stir it constantly or it'll lump up on you.”

“Mr. Richards!” Al and I said in unison, on account of that's what he told us when he was teaching us to make white sauce.

“Eggs Benny,” Thelma said. “Yum. What are you two, clones or something?” She was all bent out of shape, I think, probably because of what Al said about not knowing any really popular girls. Thelma's had six dates. Well, one doesn't count because it was with her cousin. She didn't tell us that; Polly did. Al doubts the other five bozos even exist but so far, nobody's been able to prove anything.

“Next thing you know,” Thelma said, “you two will be wearing matching dresses or something nauseating like that.” Thelma ruffled her back hair again and her bracelets got noisy. Thelma thinks her arms are sexy, Al says. But then, she also thinks her teeth and her elbows and other parts too numerous to mention are also sexy.

“Oh, we already have matching dresses,” Al said. “We're very cute together. When we wear them, people think we're twins.”

“What are they, dotted swiss with matching bloomers and puffed sleeves?” Thelma drawled.

“Actually,” Al drawled back, “they're leather.”

“Yeah,” I spoke up. “Mine's red and hers is black.”

“I don't believe it,” Thelma snapped. “You two in leather dresses. I could die laughing.”

“Try,” Al said.

“Soup's on!” Polly shouted. “
Mange, mange!
” and we all filed to the stove carrying our plates.

“Eggs Benny are my very favorite, Polly,” Thelma said. “Yum.”

“Yum yum,” Al said, stony faced.

We sat down and dug in.

“What would we do without you, Pol?” I said.

“Starve, probably,” Polly said.

“I knew a boy named Benny in California,” Al said. “He was an egghead too. He could already read in first grade. Benny was very smart, but on the first day of school he wet his pants and everybody laughed and he went home and didn't show up for a week. Our teacher told us we should be very careful about laughing at someone because as sure as you're born, she said, we'd all do something embarrassing someday and then people would laugh at us and we'd know how Benny felt. She said we should be kind because there's too little kindness in this world. And she said everyone needs kindness. I never forgot that.”

Polly nodded. “Little kids are very cruel sometimes. But so are big kids. I think you have to learn to be kind. I don't think you're born kind, I mean. I think you have to be taught kindness.”

“Lots of adults are unkind, too,” Al said. “It's not just kids. I don't think you learn it, I think it's in your genes. You're either born kind or you're not.”

“Well, my mother says good manners and kindness sort of go hand in hand,” I said. “That's why she's such a bug on good manners.”

“This is turning into a very philosophical conversation,” Thelma said in her bored way.

It
was
kind of philosophical, I thought, pleasantly surprised.

We all had seconds of the eggs Benny to clear our heads.

“Speaking of blind dates,” Polly said, “Evelyn might get married to a guy she met on a blind date. She fell madly in love with him because he's got two little kids and if she marries him, that means she'll be a stepmother and she says she's always wanted to be a stepmother.”

Evelyn is Polly's off-the-wall older sister.

“Who's she marrying?” Al said.

“He's this really nice guy, kind of old, about thirty-five or so,” Polly said. “His wife left him to find herself.”

“Suppose she finds herself and comes back? What then?” Al said. “Couldn't that get kind of hairy?”

“Who knows?” Polly said. “My father says Evelyn changes her mind and her plans so often it doesn't pay to worry.”

“Why does she want to be a stepmother?” Thelma asked.

“Well, she loves little kids and she figures if she's a stepmother, that means she doesn't have to have kids of her own, which means she won't get stretch marks,” Polly told us.

“Stretch marks?” I said.

“They're what you get when you're pregnant,” Polly explained. “The baby grows bigger and bigger, so your stomach stretches and it leaves marks on your stomach that don't go away. And Evelyn figures if she had stretch marks she could never wear a bikini again.”

This was followed by a small silence while we all contemplated Evelyn in a one-piece suit complete with skirt.

“I'll have to think about that for a while, Polly,” Al said. “Toss it around and see how it comes out. But listen to my blind-date story, which I think is very romantic. I read it last week. There's this dude called the earl of Wistwick, see. He meets some lovely on a blind date and marries her two weeks later, thereby renouncing his claim to the throne. He was sixteenth in line to the throne, you see, and she swept him off his feet and he's no longer sixteenth in line; he's nowhere. How about that for a blind date, huh?”

“Who's the earl of Wistwick, anyhow?” Thelma asked, voicing the thoughts of us all. “And why'd he have to renounce his claims to the throne just because he got married?”

“I thought you'd never ask,” Al said with a big grin. “He had to renounce his claim to the throne because royalty doesn't recognize divorce and the earl's bride is the divorced mother of two, that's why. She just swept him off his little feet. The earl is thirty-nine, you see, and his bride is twenty-five, so it was high time the earl got hitched.”

There wasn't a whole lot to be said to that, so we finished our eggs Benny and waited for dessert.

Polly put a blue bowl with apples and pears in it in the center of the table.

“Fruit,” Polly said.

“Fruit,” said Al, who had hoped for lemon meringue pie. “
Parfait.
Fruit is very slimming, I hear.”

“Yeah,” Thelma said. “Take a few apples, Al.”

“Who were the fifteen guys ahead of the earl?” I asked, seeing the storm clouds gather on Al's face. “That's a lot of guys lined up for the throne, if you ask me. I'd sure hate to be hanging by my thumbs until those other guys were eliminated. What's the big deal about renouncing his claim to the throne, anyway?”

“Listen, the earl was really into royalty,” Al said. “He dreamed of the day when he'd hoist his scepter and don his ermine mantle and climb up there, master of all he surveyed. He also liked the perks, the trips on the royal yacht, stuff like that. Those were great eggs Benny, Polly.”

Thelma turned to me and said, “Does she know this earl person? I mean, is he a personal friend or something?”

“Not that I know of,” I said.

“I think that's a fabulous story, Al,” said Polly. “Very romantic. To give everything up for love. Terrific.”

Al beamed. “You've got it, Pol. Me too. I love it. And to think that they got it all together on a blind date.
Fantastic.
The crowning touch.” She looked surprised, then said, “The crowning touch. Get it?
Parfait.

We all stared at Al.

“She's a très weird person,” Thelma said.

“Well, I don't know about you guys,” Al said, “but I can hardly wait for my first blind date. I can see him now, a superstar on a Yamaha, all in black leather, jacket and puttees and helmet, and me in my black leather dress. We'll ride into the sunset with his chains clanking like an armful of bracelets.”

“That wasn't kind,” I told Al on our way home. “You didn't have to say that about the bracelets.”

“O.K., and she didn't have to say that about me taking some apples for slimming, either,” Al said.

“Thelma's a bird,” I said. “Ignore her.”

“Yeah, a vulture,” Al said. “I never should've had seconds. As a matter of fact, I never should've had firsts. I'm bulging.”

When we got off at our floor, I asked Al if she wanted to come in and listen to my new tapes.

“No offense,” she said, “but I've got to go weigh myself. If the earl of Wistwick landed me as his blind date, he'd still be single and sixteenth in line to the throne.” She lifted a hand in salute.

“Have a weird day, comrade,” she said.

I had a sudden, perfect thought.

“Hey,” I said, “the earl's entitled, isn't he? I mean, if he wants to marry a divorced mother of two, he's entitled. Right?”

Al did a couple of bumps and grinds and grinned at me.

“You have unexpected depths, o skinny one,” she said and went inside.

I never should've had seconds either, I decided.

BOOK: Al’s Blind Date: The Al Series, Book Six
3.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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