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American Contemporary Happy

Ernest stood before the supermarket freezer section, contemplating the flavors. Vanilla...strawberry... chocolate...coffee...all the usual stuff. Nothing really appealed to him. He opened the door and pulled out the closest pint, paying no attention to the flavor (ice cream is ice cream, isn't it?). Then he headed to the checkout counter.

On his way home, he wondered what flavor he had picked up. Hopefully, Wendy would enjoy it. If not, they'd just have to call the donut shop. No big deal. They'd done that before.

He brought the bags into the house. Dinner smelled good – salad, rice, chicken tenders. Ordinary stuff.

He put the bags on the counter by the fridge. Wendy gave him a kiss on the cheek and started unloading the groceries with her regular indifferent look on her face while Ernest took a seat at the table and flipped through the newspaper. Pretty ordinary stories – nothing catastrophic or extraordinary. Cool.

“Ernest, what the heck is this?”

It took him a second to process that she'd said something to him. “Hm?”

“Banana-Fana-Fo ice cream?” She held up the pint.

Yep, that was what it said. Banana-Fana-Fo. Ernest started to laugh. What a stupid name. “Sorry, I just grabbed a pint at the market. I didn't pay any attention, really.”

Wendy giggled. “Okay, I guess we'll find out if it's any good.”

“Guess so.” That was kind of a relief, actually, that Wendy was in a decent mood. Not that she wasn't usually in a good mood, but it was still nice to see.

Ernest's mood improved when he saw Wendy's too. Might as well make himself useful. He stood up, took the plates from the table, went to the counter and put salad and rice and chicken on each one as Wendy finished putting the groceries away.

She looked over at him and smiled. “Thanks, hon.”

He smiled back. “Sure.” He took the plates to the table and sat down.

Wendy sat across from him. She had two beers with her. She didn't usually give him beer with dinner, and never drank it herself. What was up?

Dinner was – well, pretty ordinary, really, but the beer and Wendy's good mood made it taste better somehow. Ernest ate a forkful of rice and salad, chewed and swallowed. “Delicious,” he said. Wendy's eyes actually seemed to glow.

Then came dessert. Wendy took the pint of ice cream out of the freezer and read the description before serving it. “Banana-Fana-Fo: Banana ice cream with marshmallow ribbon and walnuts sprinkled through it. Delicious with hot fudge.” She looked over at Ernest. “I don't suppose you bought any hot fudge?”

“Sorry.” Was this going to ruin Wendy's mood? “Like I said, I didn't even notice what flavor I was picking up, let alone what you're supposed to put on it.”

Wendy shrugged. “Well, if we don't like it plain, I guess we can get some topping later.” She scooped some Banana-Fana-Fo into two bowls, put the rest back in the freezer, and brought the bowls to the table. While she did that, Ernest went to the silverware drawer and got two spoons.

Interesting. He rarely thought to do stuff like that. It was like tonight he especially wanted to keep Wendy feeling good, just in case the ice cream didn't work out.

It seemed to work. Wendy saw the spoons on the table and smiled at Ernest. “You're feeling pretty good, aren't you?”

Ernest smiled back. “So are you, babe.”

Banana-Fana-Fo tasted kind of bland. “Yeah, this would be better with hot fudge.” Ernest looked up and winked. “Want me to go get some?”

Wendy winked back. “Leave it for tomorrow,” she breathed.

They headed for the bedroom. Wendy left the dishes in the sink. Wow, thought Ernest. No crabbing about the kitchen mess and lovemaking to boot. It's a rare night.

The next morning, Ernest woke up with a nasty taste in his mouth – a little like rotten bananas. Maybe it was the Bana-Fana-Fo ice cream. Confusing – ice cream didn't usually leave a foul taste like that. Ernest got up and headed, naked, into the bathroom.

As he brushed his teeth, Wendy walked in, also naked. Lovely. She saw what he was doing and cracked a grin. “You still tasting that Banana-Fana-Fo too?”

He grinned back and spit a mouthful of toothpaste into the sink. “Tastes like it, doesn't it? Sorry about that.”

“Never mind,” said Wendy, squeezing toothpaste onto her own toothbrush. “It was worth it.”

Ernest winked into the mirror so she could see it. “Sure was.”

“Well, that settles it.” Wendy started to brush her teeth, but Ernest could still understand her. “Next time you go for groceries, you'll have to load up your grocery cart without watching what you put in.” She spit into the sink. “Especially when you get to the ice cream freezer.”

Ernest laughed and gave her a swat on her rear. She jumped and squealed.

At work that day, Ernest started out with his mind full of the previous night with Wendy. It wasn't too long before he found himself with proper concentration on the tasks in front of him. His mind didn't travel back to Wendy until lunch.

Great day at work, though. He accomplished more than on any day in memory. His boss sent him an interoffice email; “Whatever's gotten into you, Ernest, keep up the good work and you'll be getting a nice raise before you know it.” Astounding – he wasn't due a raise for at least another six months.

He headed back to the grocery store that evening. The ice cream freezer didn't have any more Banana-Fana-Fo. Ernest closed his eyes and grabbed a pint at random.

When he got home, Wendy took the paper bag from him. Plain Vanilla.

Her face fell a little, but it was a good dessert.

“Well, what did we expect?” she laughed after dinner. “Some kind of magic?”

He laughed back. “I guess we'll just have to make our own magic from here on in.”

May 29, 2021 01:44

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