When I was ten my father had the most beautiful intern at his law firm. This man had a head of thick, black hair and a tan that could rival that of the Situation from the Jersey Shore. I remember meeting him once when my mom sent me up to my dad’s office with my sister. Apparently, my dad, stressed because he was working on a big case, forgot his wallet. So since it was summer and we were in the middle of our rounds my mom sent us up. We were still wet from swim practice and ready to stuff our face with the TV dinners to watch Skipper and April favorite Brain Donors.
As my sister and I walked into my dad’s office we were greeted by my dad’s then secretary Bonnie. A woman who clearly spent too much time on her hair, when you looked at her you realized why the ozone had a big hole in it. The world’s biggest patron of Aqua Net, Bonnie’s hair was like some bad 80s nightmare. Not to mention it was bottle blonde, number five in the supermarket to be exact. The only reason was that she had told my mother this in a conversation. Her makeup was caked on as usual. She wore some outfit with horrid shoulder pads that made my sister and I almost cringe and of course it was vomit pink. “Hi Bonnie.” We said.
“How are you girls doing?” She asked. “Have you been swimming?”
“How did you know?” Skipper asked.
“Our hair is wet stupid.” I replied. Skipper could be so guillable sometimes.
Just then the tall drink of water walked out. “Hi girls.” He said. Immediately Skipper’s head turned along with mine.
“Hi.” I said stammering. I was only ten. Boys were ceasing to have cooties but I couldn’t be so sure. Looking at him I hoped he didn’t have cooties. Nevermind his cooties. He was much too hot for cooties. He was the Anti-Cootie man.
“Hi. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” Skipper said trying to sound more charming although she was failing miserably.
“Do you have a name?” I asked the stud muffin. Of course he had a name. He was walking around my dad’s office in a suit doing things. I was sure he wasn’t a partner. I knew all my dad’s partners and their families so well these guys had the term uncle before their names. He definitely wasn’t a new associate. We would have heard about him from our dad, probably with the term McIdiot at the end. At least we did the last guy.
The stud muffin laughed. “Yes. I am Jake. Nice to meet you girls.” He shook both of our hands. Immediately, both Skipper and I felt goosebumps. We looked at each other. We never had a guy this cute pay attention to us.
“Nice to meet you.” Skipper said taking his hand extra hard and shaking it. It was tough to see which one of us was more smitten. Either way, we wanted to know what he did around my dad’s firm and if my dad could possibly hire clones.
Jake laughed. “And who are you girls? How have you wandered in? You know this is a law firm where grown ups work.”
“We know. Our dad is Mr. Brucker.” I said. As we said that Jake’s face fell slightly. What had we said to this poor good looking hunk to make him suddenly sad.
“Your dad is my boss which means I really should get back to work.” Jake said and then off he went. Skipper and I were now sad. Why had the mere mention of our father’s name driven this man away? My father was being such a joykill and he wasn’t even there.
Just then our dad came trotting out of his office. Dressed from head to toe in suit and tie, his dark brown main was slicked back as usual. He scooped us up in his arms and asked, “How are my two favorite swimmers?”
“Good. Here’s your wallet.” Skipper said handing it to him.
“By the way, Jake’s cute.” I blurted out. Something in me couldn’t help myself.
My dad rolled his eyes back. Apparently his perception of Jake and our differed. Then again, my dad was a straight man and could not appreciate the dreamboat factor that was Jake. “You and all the girls.” My dad replied.
“What does he do around here. He said you were his boss.” Skipper quiered.
“He’s an intern. He’s in his second year of law school and wants to get his feet wet.” My dad explained.
“Oh.” We said. My dad’s firm recently had been rated very highly in the Pittsburgh record. Therefore it was to be expected he had a lot of interns. However, we didn’t expect any of them to be as cute as Jake.
“Can you get more like him?” Skipper asked. My dad laughed. It was usually my mom who was more stern when it came to these things, especially when the year before I announced my ambition to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. However, my mom explained cheerleaders were dumb and I abandoned that right away. Although my dad was more stern in situations like that he usually just told us to shut up. That always ended a stupid thought.
“See you girls later. Love you.” My dad said as he kissed us both.
Running down the hall to the elevator Skipper and I argued over who he liked more. “He liked me more. He smiled at me first.” I reminded her.
“Well he shook my hand longer.” Skipper snapped.
“Oh yeah, well he answered my question first.” I retorted.
“Well wait until I tell him I had the best grades in the first grade. And you got A’s in everything except math.” Skipper said.
“Well you don’t need math to be smart. I read Voyage of the Beagle.” I told her.
Just then, as we finished our ride we saw our mother. Sitting in her mini van she awaited us. Climbing in we continued the banter. “So does your dad want me to run up?” My mom asked.
“I dunno.” I said.
“What did he say?” My mom asked.
“I dunno.” Skipper replied.
My mom, convinced my dad was busy drove off. “Why don’t you two know what your father said?” My mom demanded, wondering why she had walked into a Marx Brother’s moviesque scenario with her two children, normally intelligent, now turned to morons. She drove along again and asked, “How was your father.”
“Good. He was glad we dropped off his wallet.” I said.
“Ya.” Skipper told her.
“And he has this hot intern named Jake working there.” I shared.
“He liked me better. He shook my hand longer.” Skipper countered.
“Well he said hi to me first.” I snapped.
“Oh yeah, well Jake like me better because he knows I’m smarter.” Skipper told me.
“Maybe you are smarter in school but I am street smart and I made him laugh.” I countered.
My mother, a liberated woman, rolled her eyes. She had been a crusader for women’s rights, going so far as to do a sit in with her college swim team, which she was captain of, in order to get them letter jackets just like their male counterparts had. By the way, in case you are wondering, the sit in was her idea. Upon hearing this she said, “Girls, I want to teach you a very important life lesson. Never fight over a guy. It makes you look stupid. When it’s between you and another girl walk away and let the other girl have him. Because odds are he is probably not worth fighting over.”
As our mother pulled into the driveway we digested this pearl of wisdom. For our stupidity we were both sentenced to take the garbage up. It was Monday and tomorrow the trash man would come. There was nothing like missing garbage day in a family of five. If you did often times the trash got ahead of you. As Skipper and I were taking up the trash she said, “You know April, I was thinking about what mom said. We shouldn’t fight over Jake.”
“I agree.” I told her.
“Now I have an idea, I think we should share Jake.” Skipper suggested.
“How do we share him? This is not Utah.” I snapped.
“What is in Utah?” Skipper asked. While bright she had yet to study Brigham Young and his harem in school. We had this past year in history.
“The Mormons. They always have five or six wives.” I told her.
“Well that can’t be legal.” Skipper said.
“It isn’t. That is why they are always getting in trouble with the law sometimes.” I told her.
“Oh, then maybe we should convert.” Skipper suggested. Yes, April and Skipper become Mormons. Our very Catholic parents would love that.
When I told her as much Skipper scratched her head. She wasn’t one to upset Mom and Dad. “We will figure out a way. We are sister’s forever.” Skipper said. While this child was bright I had a feeling this plan would end in disaster. But still, we were smitten over Jake and there would have to be a joint token of affection.
After coming in from taking out the trash we saw Wendell in his soccer uniform ready to go to his second practice of that day. During this period in his life Wendell was on the fence. He couldn’t decide whether he was going to play soccer or football. So he did the football practice in the morning and the soccer practice in the afternoon. Tired, we saw him drinking an orange mixture.
“What’s that?” Skipper asked bouncing on the couch next to Wendell. “It’s pumpkin orange.”
“Tang.” Wendell replied. “The astronauts used to drink it when they went to space.”
“Why?” Skipper asked.
“Didn’t require much water.” Wendell told her. “Want a taste?” Skipper tried it. She wrinkled her nose in disgust and then spit it out.
“You didn’t like it?” I asked sarcastically.
“No. It’s disgusting. You try it April.” I went over and took a sip. I did have to admit it was sort of bitter. However, I liked it. I really liked it a lot.
“Where is the powder?” I asked Wendell.
“Turn around.” He told me. And then I went to the kitchen and made myself a glass. When I went downstairs I saw my brother and sister watching Sally Jesse Raphael. It was some episode about out of control teens. One girl was on there and she had a nose ring, a tattoo, was fifteen, and had two kids.
“IF that is either one of you at any point I will kill you.” Wendell said as we were watching. “You hear that April?” During this phase of our development Wendell sometimes took on the role of our father. While he meant well it was annoying.
“Why is all this directed at me?” I asked
“Because you’re an idiot.” Wendell replied. “The idiot who wrote the story about killing six people and who wanted to enter it in the Lincoln Log contest. Thank God Mom and Dad put a stop to that.” Yes Ihad written that story. It was about a guy who killed six people and buried them under a floorboard. It was modeled after “The Tell Tale Heart.” My friends loved it but my parents thought it wasn’t appropriate for the school paper. After an argument where I locked myself in my room, I wrote a story about a cat named Krackle and his rivalry with a mouse named Tom. That was published and my dad was so proud of me he told everyone. So it worked out.
Then two minutes later a good looking guy, who was the father of the out of control teen walked across the stage. He was a tall, good looking, drink of water, just like Jake. My sister and I looked at each other and giggled. “Jake!” We exclaimed.
“Jake!” Wendell squealed mocking our girlish tone.
“The same Jake who can’t send a fax, broke the copy machine, and can’t turn on a computer who expects to go to law school?” My brother asked.
My sister and I exchanged a glance. We didn’t care. That was between Jake and my dad. All we knew was that he was hot. “We don’t care. He has other talents.” I said.
My brother rolled his eyes back. “Dad is always an inch away from getting rid of Jake.” Wendell informed us.
“How do you know?” Skipper asked suspiciously.
“Easy, I hear him talking to Mom in the morning when she fixes his tie.” Wendell replied. He then informed us that when Dad’s firm had won the Best in the South Hills Award, there were many eager students who wanted to intern. However, Jake had been ahead of the bunch because he was the nephew of Judge Ledo. Apparently, Judge Ledo had been very kind to my dad when he was in law school and wrote a letter of recommendation for him that was stellar to get into The Honors Law Society. So to return the favor, the Judge phoned my dad and asked him to take Jake on as an intern. My father, thinking Jake would be like his uncle, took the aspiring legal eagle on.
However, for as intelligent as the Judge was, according to my brother, the brain had skipped that generation. Whatever Jake could screw up he did, and my dad would have given this “lazy ass” the boot but my dad was too indebted to the Judge. Yes the Judge. The Judge who, despite the fact my dad did not come from a long line of lawyers and judges like some of his classmates, recognized his natural intelligence, hard work, and street smarts; something many of his then pedigreed classmates lacked.
My mother, on the other hand, viewed the Judge as an old wind bag, who at parties trotted around with a former beauty queen wife clearly on Prozac as he complained about his yearly prostrate exam. Needless to say my mother, everytime the Judge called would say, “No wonder that woman needs anti-depressants.” Nonetheless, my dad would shush her, scolding her for disrespecting a true blue man who had given my dad a chance. Because the Judge had recognized my dad’s abilities, soon others followed suite. And soon those with the long legal blood lines began to cater to my dad because he was so gifted. Needless to say, in the Dickinsonian terms, he had risen up from the ranks. As a result we got good baskets with plenty of chocolate and liquor around Christmas.
A few minutes later Wendell was off to soccer practice and my sister and I were left with Sally, Tang and thoughts about Jake. “We need to split him.” She said.
“And then lets move to Utah. Pittsburgh is getting boring.” We exchanged a sisterly fist bump and then were called to vacuum. Our break was over and leisure time was the devil’s playground. However, we were in love with Jake. So that made the day all the better.
That evening when our dad came home we sat down for dinner in the Florida room as usual. The windows were open and we could hear the sound of wildlife around us. With my dinner I had my Tang. I knew it would add flavor to the meatloaf my mother made. While I did enjoy her cooking I hated her meatloaf. It was so bland. I considered meatloaf the lowest life form when it came to dinner food. It was the Eric Roberts of dinner food. Tang however was supurb.
“What is that April is drinking?” My dad asked.
“Tang.” My brother said. “You know the astronaut thing.”
“Yes. I remember them selling that when I was a kid. Long time since I saw that anywhere.” My dad replied chomping on his meatloaf.
“It was on sale.” My mom said.
“Dad, what do Mormons believe?” Skipper asked. “April said that they could have more than one wife.”
“This is true. They are infamous for committing polygamy. It is believed that the more wives a man has the more children he has and the closer to heaven he is. But unfortunately, the US Laws don’t see eye to eye with them. The Mormon Church for the most part have done away with it but there are still splinter sects that practice. Then there are women like your mom that have more than one husband.” My dad said as he took his usual dinner jab at my mom.
“One of you is enough.” My mom countered as she gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Oh you mean it’s not me and Cement Head?” My dad asked making a reference to a boyfriend my mom had back in the day before she met my dad. Yes the infamous Steve aka Cement Head, who lived on a farm and always had cement in his hair whenever he would arrive on dates with my mom. As a token of his affection he got a cow he named Anne after my mom. This bizarre token of love was enough for my mom to have second thoughts so she ended the relationship. Grieving, Cement Head slaughtered Anne the Cow and made some steaks, or so we heard.
“And they also believe Jesus arrived in a spaceship. They are really weird people who pump a lot of money into commercials too.” Wendell said.
My dad, taking a moment to teach us a daddy lesson said, “The first amendment in this country protects everyone’s freedom of religion. So that’s why you shouldn’t criticize anyone’s beliefs. It’s not right.” My dad had a point. However, Wendell wasn’t done.
“Well they are freaks.” Wendell protested.
“How do you know they don’t think we are freaks Wendell? A lot of people don’t like Catholics. Especially when you go down South.” My dad countered. We were all quiet for a minute as my dad explained, “That is why you should never judge someone on their belief system.”
“Well April and I are thinking of becoming Mormon.” Skipper explained. My dad, now happily chomping on his meatloaf, suddenly looked like he was going to choke. My mom’s mouth dropped open in shock and horror.
“What!?!” My dad yelped.
“ We took Mom’s advice about never fighting over a guy no matter what. That way April and I don’t have to fight anymore and we can both marry Jake.” Skipper explained as if she had thought this out for a whole ten minutes. Wendell, who had been in the dog house moments before, was now enjoying a good laugh.
“I pass the dunce cap to Skipper.” He mumbled taking a huge helping of mashed potatoes. Wendell had a smile on his face, as if he escaped the dog house. After all, he had been living there for the last day and a half when he decided to heat up Chinese food and fry it in the microwave for fifteen minutes. The Chinese food was fried, friend so much that the smoke alarms went off and all the windows were open just as my dad was coming home from a stressful day at work.
“Jake?” My dad said looking at my mom. My mom, who had only given the most sound parental advice on the subject, had never dreamed it would come to his. Sighing, she looked down.
“Yeah, the cute one that works at your office.” I reminded my dad. “You know, Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome? By the way, could you also put in a good word for us, especially me?” I figured what did I have to lose? The worst my dad could do was say no.
My dad rolled his eyes. “Anne, did you know anything about this?”
“No. Girls, Jake is a lady’s man, he has a girl in every port.” My mom explained.
We didn’t care. We loved Jake and that’s what we had decided. Either way, as we cleared off the table I heard my dad say, “What has gotten into the girls? Do they not know what an idiot Jake is? I would expect this nonsense from April but what has gotten into Skipper?”
“It’s young girls being girls.” My mom said.
“He has other attributes.” I told my dad over hearing this. My dad shook his head and walked away. So much for trying to talk sense into the boss man. If I were to wager a guess I would say my dad wasn’t putting in a good word for me.
The next day my parents announced that we were having a summer BBQ and all of my dad’s friends were invited. It was in part because the deck had been refinished, yes we were the indentured workers on that project. Not to mention my mother’s flowers looked better than ever. In order to prepare we had to spend the week cleaning. “This is so stupid.” Wendell grumbled as he crashed in front of the television.
“Tell me about it.” I said drinking my Tang. The Tang and I had not gone our separate ways since meeting. Being the copycat she could be, Skipper had started drinking it as well.
“I know.” Skipper told me. As usual, we were glued to a trashy talk show. Of course when my dad entered the room we knew it was time to clean.
“Shucks.” Skipper said downing her Tang.
“Say what you want but Jake will be at the party girls.” My mother called as she ran down the stairs.
“Is this before or after he breaks another one of my copy machines?” My dad grumbled.
“Now Bill, he is good with people and there has to be something said for that.” My mom told him. “Plus April and Skipper like him. And you know April doesn’t like anybody.”
“Why am I always the mean one?” I asked.
“Because you are an asshole.” Wendell said.
“Screw you.” I snapped. I had not said one mean thing in some time. However, my judgment of people was usually on the mark. With that I smacked Wendell who promptly smacked me back.
“Knock it off you both. Or else you will do yard work and cleaning for the party in addition to the dishes.” My mom said.
The day of the party came and the guests arrived in a timely fashion. The three of us were to stay poised at the front door greeting people with smiles glued on our faces. As usual, there had been the pre-party fight where my dad and I squared off because apparently I wasn’t cleaning fast enough. Of course this had been after my pre-party fight with Wendell because he was playing video games instead of cleaning the bathroom and I had to clean the bathroom in addition to vacuuming the hall therefore we were behind. Not to mention after I was tired I sat down and Skipper did one of my chores as payment for a glass of Tang. My mom caught me sitting down and all hell broke loose. She said, “I am not sitting down. Why are you sitting down?”
Then she gave me another chore, washing the dishes, and I was not happy. So I took my good old time dreaming of Jake and then my dad screamed, “The party is in two hours. Knowing some of these people they are going to be here early! Go faster, now!” As if I was a sled dog I was forced to mush. Oh gosh I hated those Goddamn backyard parties. Well, I liked the parties but hated the cleaning.
The guests arrived one by one. Our Uncle Edward and Aunt Essie came. Their daughters, Hannah and Wendy were in toe. Hannah was tall with dark brown hair and glasses. Even at a young age, she probably had rescued her clothes from the nearest hamper. Wendy on the other hand was a total girly girl and we could smell her lip gloss from a mile away. Both between the ages of five and eight, they were automatic playmates. Edward had known my dad since grade school and now they were both lawyers together. Known for his high strung ways, Edward was notorious into getting anyone to say what he wanted them to on the witness stand just because he was so intense. Essie, on the other hand, was obsessed with ballroom dancing.
“Hi girls.” She said.
“Hi.” We said. We hoped they would hurry up and Jake would get here pronto. That way we wouldn’t be trapped too long with Hannah and Wendy.
Just then, Jake arrived. Every inch the tall, drink of water that he had been in the office my sister and I were swooning. Sure he wasn’t Brad Pitt or Elvis but he was just as good.
“HI!” I said. Oh gosh, I had blown it.
“Hi Jake.” Skipper said trying to be a mini Marilyn Monroe.
“Would you like a drink?” I asked.
“Sure. Whatever you have.” Jake chuckled. Did this older man know he was playing with our heart strings the way he was? Oh what tangled webs we weave.
“Where are you two going?” Hannah asked.
“To get Jake a drink. He’s our future husband.” Skipper explained.
“I heard that dufus can’t send a fax.” Hannah said. “My dad told me he is the stupidest intern in the history of the firm. It’s a miracle he can breathe so he probably won’t pass the bar.”
“We can’t all be perfect.” I informed her. Hannah wasn’t much of a looker and would later elect not to shave her arm pits and to take up women’s field hockey. So I guess even then she was headed in that general direction.
“He is nice looking.” Wendy said smiling. Hey, even she could appreciate a nice looking guy. As a matter of fact when she got older she appreciated them too much. As a matter of fact they called her “Bleachers” in high school and not because she was cleaning them with the National Honor Society.
As we disappeared I asked her, “What drink are we getting him?”
“Tang. We are making him Tang.” Skipper explained.
“He’s an adult. He’s gonna want something with booze.” I told her.
“He can add it later. Mom and Dad will kill us.” Skipper told me.
We went to the kitchen, put water in the cup and put the Tang in. “Which one of us is going to give it to him?” I asked.
“ME!” Skipper screamed.
“Fine, paper, rock, scissors.” I suggested.
We did the paper, rock, scissors and I had won. Skipper the Mini Magician had been dethroned. Looking dejected, we approached Jake. Upon seeing us he asked, “What are you guys holding?”
“Tang. We made it just for you.” I explained.
Just then we heard a laugh. We were so blinded by our mission that we didn’t realize that standing next to him was a woman. She was tall, gorgeous and had thick black hair and olive skin. She wore a white summer dress that clung to her curvaceous body. With full lips, she smiled and asked, “And who are you girls.”
“I’m April and this is my sister Skipper. And we made Mike some Tang.” I explained. This time the woman laughed even harder.
“Wow.” She said.
“Mr. Brucker’s kids. He’s my boss.” Jake said.
“And who is she?” I asked Jake. I was doing a hard time hiding my suspicion of this strumpet here to spirit Jake away.
“Oh girls, this is my girlfriend Gina.” Jake said as he took his Tang.
“Nice to meet you.” Skipper said barely able to hide the fact that she was dejected. After all this planning, all these ideas about converting to Mormonism, now they were all squashed. His very beautiful, age appropriate girlfriend had shown up. Damn her for being so good looking.
“Nice to meet you too. You girls are adorable.” Gina said.
Adorable. Then I remembered I was ten, Skipper was seven. Mike and Gina were twenty something. Adorable was the appropriate word.
“I think Mom needs us to help her.” I told Skipper. I figured I might as well end this all before it starts.
As we walked away I heard Gina say, “Man, those kids have it bad for you.”
Jake laughed, “They have since day one baby. Everyone does.”
To which Gina asked, “Are you going to drink that? I think it’s supposed to go with milk.”
I heard Jake laugh nervously and say, “No. They are cute kids but no. I have done plenty of things in my mind but go to jail for being into kids is never one baby.”
And then they kissed. I had to turn away and take Skipper with me. God were we going to die from the heartbreak. “Not fair.” Skipper said as we walked away.
“That’s life kid.” I replied.
“April, I don’t want to become a Mormon anymore to marry Jake.” Skipper said. With that I slapped my sister a five in agreement.
Two weeks later, Jake’s internship was up. Apparently he had screwed up the fax machine and broken the copy machine again. Not only was my dad relieved to see him go, but even more relieved to see that Skipper and I were no longer love struck with the dumbest, most lazy intern in the history of the firm. Plus my parents were equally as thrilled to see that we gave up Tang.
Jake somehow finished law school but was never quite able to pass the Bar. As a result, he gave up law and is now selling used cars. Gina dumped him for some other guy who has a big house.
In the words of Judge Judy, “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.”