Three women and a plate of shrimp
“You’re going to that dead lobster place again, are you?” husband-head said disdainfully. “I don’t know why you gals think it’s so great. You’re just buying bait on a plate.”
I heartily disagreed.
“It’s our favorite restaurant,” I defended. “We’ve been going there for years when it’s somebody’s birthday. It probably won’t be long before we’re ordering pureed peas at the local senior center, so we’re enjoying it while we still have teeth.”
Every year, I travel with three of my girlfriends ” Kelley, Karen and Becky ” to a city about an hour away to make fun of whoever has turned a year older, combined with the proverbial shopping trip from hell. Yeah sure, we could buy anti-wrinkle cream and knick-knacks in our home towns, but it just wouldn’t be the same. Especially without the coconut shrimp.
The four of us have been friends for years and our collective professions consist of a reporter, a photographer, a social worker and a kindergarten teacher. But all that is thrown out the window during our quarterly trip. When we get together, we have shared interests ” eat, drink and shop till you drop.The best part of the outing, though, is scarfing the seafood lunch.
On this particular day, it was Karen, the teacher’s, birthday.
Since I am last to be picked up on the route on our trip, I fixed a round of mimosas before we headed out to get the morning started in a celebratory fashion. Naturally, since Becky (the social worker) was the driver, she got plain ol’ orange juice.
“Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail at 8:45 a.m.!” Kelley exclaimed. “This is so wicked!”
Maybe so, but she proceeded to finish her cocktail WAY before the rest of us.
I had also prepared little breakfast bags to take with us, containing ham and cheese croissants, hashbrowns and complete with little colored, coconut-laced squirt guns.
The birthday girl and I sat in the back seat of Becky’s SUV as we departed. Upon finding her squirt gun, Karen proceeded to gleefully aim her gun and shoot at me straight between the eyes right as we pulled away from my house.
“STOP IT, you nitwit!” I screamed, wiping the liquid away from my contact lenses. “That’s coconut rum in there, not water!”
She laughed and turned the gun on her tongue instead.
At last, we were finally on the way and looking forward to our girl’s day out. We agreed that lunch was the first priority.
“I can just TASTE those coconut shrimp now,” Becky drooled as we headed down the highway. “I’ve had erotic dreams about this moment …”
We all knew she wasn’t kidding, but we didn’t want to know any more …
And it was even more apparent at lunch, when our order arrived and Becky guarded the coconut shrimp platter like a pit bull. She had wanted to get two platters, but was ruled out when we decided to order other food as well.
“You only get THREE apiece,” she cried, slapping my hand with the knife as I reached for another coconut shrimp. “Take something from one of the other platters.”
We all waited for her to bare her teeth and quickly ordered another drink. Becky, of course, wasn’t drinking and ordered a Diet Coke with lime, instead.
“You put the lime in the Coke, you nut, and drink it all up!” the rest of us sang after our second cocktail, making sure to avoid the coconut shrimp platter.
Next was the shopping trip, in which each of us traditionally lose each other in various stores for hours at a time. But for the grace of cell phones, I’m sure we would never find each other again.
At one point, Becky, Kelley and I met up in front of one shop and sat on the curb wondering where Karen was.
“Hey, let’s screw with her and move the car,” I suggested. “She’s taking way too long.”
We all piled in and parked at a different place and then watched as Karen finally emerged and wandered around and around the parking lot looking for us.
When I arrived home, husband-head asked how our bait lunch had been.
“You put the shrimp in the coconut and leave ’em all alone!” was all I had to say.
Heidi Rice is a Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her columns runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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