“This really isn’t a discussion,” his father said with his eyes closed, two fingers of his right hand pinching the bridge of his nose as he spoke. The old fashioned in his other hand left a sweat ring on the wooden table as he lifted it to his mouth, draining the rest in one gulp.
“Honey, don’t think of this as ‘cutting you off.’ It’s just time you start doing things for yourself, is all,” his mother said gently as she patted his arm.
He sat stick-straight at the table with his $54 three-peppercorn steak, cooked to a perfect medium, sitting untouched on his plate. His eyes had glazed over a half-hour ago, his parents’ words turning into garbled noises. His father was angry and fed up with his bullshit. His mother was trying to play referee but was doing about as good as a job as Stevie Wonder would in that position.
The waiter came by again, silently pouring the rest of the bottle of Caymus cabernet into his glass and escaping the tension of the table as quickly as possible.
When he first arrived, he had initially thought that maybe they were just making time to see him. They hadn’t visited him in the city since he moved here months ago. They had seemed interested in what was going on in his life, how his friends were, the whole spiel. And then his dad had absolutely laid the hammer down. He was either going to move back home to their suburban town and work for his dad, or get off his ass and get a job.
As crazy as it sounded, he seriously hadn’t even thought into the future. He was too busy flying off to friends’ ranches to hunt and get fucked up on the long weekend to worry about Monday mornings on the job like everyone else. He had been coddled (and enabled) his entire life. He didn’t know any different, and frankly, he didn’t want to.
“So let me get this straight,” he started slowly, gesturing toward his father with his hand. “You either want me to get a job here and start paying for everything myself…or I move back to bumfuck nowhere with you and mom?”
His parents sat silently, casting side-glances at one another. Their minds were made up, and now it was D-Day. His $2000 a month luxury loft apartment wasn’t going to pay for itself. His dad had repossessed the company AmEx. All he had left were his parents’ credit card numbers saved on iCloud on his MacBook Pro at home, which he had already decided he was going to keep until further notice, just as a back-up. They probably wouldn’t notice anyway.
He exhaled sharply through his nose. There was no way in hell that he was moving back home. He was sure he could talk them into letting him keep the credit cards for a few more months until he found something decent if he played his cards right. He had scraped by in college with a finance degree, a fat donation from his dad’s company probably playing a part in getting his diploma on what to be a C- average. His mind raced as he tried to figure out how to manipulate this situation to his advantage.
“Okay, fine. I’ll start looking for a job. Who do we know at the Merrill office downtown?”
His mother clapped her hands together and beamed from ear-to-ear, her teeth stained a light shade of purple from the wine. She turned towards her husband.
“Oh, I’m sure we know someone, don’t we honey? Of course, we do.”
She grabbed a waiter who clearly wasn’t the one taking care of their table by the arm as he walked by carrying a stack of dishes. “Excuse me, sir. Can we get another bottle for the table? My son is getting his first job.”
His shoulders lowered as he relaxed for the first time in an hour. He took a swig out of his wine glass and then lifted the heavy steak knife from the table and started cutting into his steak. Now probably wasn’t the best time to tell them that the Mexico trip was nonrefundable, anyway. .