Dick and Jane Grow Up by Valerie Frankel

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SUMMARY: These aren't the Dick and Jane you've read about. A humorous satire.

Dick and Jane Grow Up
A bright new day dawns. Seagulls swoop over the bay. Swoop, seagulls. Even through glaring office windows, the air smells fresh and salty.

Jane's busy at her counseling session. A picture of Dick smiles on the windowsill. Smile, Dick. "Go back to your childhood," Jane tells her patient. What a traumatized patient! "Did you have to wear frilly dresses that Mother wouldn't let you dirty? I wore frilly dresses. Frilly dresses drove me into homicidal rages. Then I learned to suppress them and play with dolls and decapitate them with mother's sewing scissors. I need to listen to my ego more. Now I use throw pillows and voodoo dolls." Good for you, Jane!

"Are we still talking about me?" the patient asks. The patient likes Jane. Jane is a strong, liberated woman who doesn't wear pin curls anymore. The patient's name is Betsy Lou and she is still wearing a red-striped apron. Betsy likes being a housewife. Good for Betsy. Jane had two unsuccessful marriages. Not so good for Jane. But Jane says she's happy. Watch her grind the voodoo doll in her hands. Grind, Jane, grind. So happy and successful.

Jane glances at her watch. She can tell time (quite easily since it's a digital). "We have five more minutes to discuss how you hated baking cupcakes for Dick and Spot while they had adventures," she snarls. "Let me fetch a throw pillow and some pins." Fetch, Jane, Fetch.

Across the city, Dick is trying on a new suit. Dick looks handsome and very grown up. He still has dimples, but doesn't wear yellow shorts anymore with red shirts and blue socks. Now he wears suits. He speed dials Jane on his cell phone.

Jane picks up. (Her patient is writing out a check. Write, patient, write. What a helpful patient for Jane.) "Hello, Dick," says Jane.
"Hello, Jane," says Dick. "Will I see you before the wedding? We could eat ice cream cones in the park."

"I don't eat carbs, or sugar, or fat, or dairy," Jane says. "Ice cream has carbs and sugar and fat and dairy. So no ice cream."
"How about pizza?" Dick asks.
***

Jane tells Dick about a vegan seafood restaurant. She arrives early and orders fake crab, fake shrimp, and fake fish. She waits next to the fake meal. She smiles a happy smile. Fake, fake, fake. She wishes tomorrow's wedding wasn't happening. She doesn't want her life to change. But Dick seems so happy. Jane sits at the table and folds her napkin. She still has good table manners. Nice manners, Jane! And she smiles at her table of fake fish. Fake, fake, fake.


Dick struts in the door. What a fancy suit! "Hello, Dick," says Jane.

"Hello Jane," says Dick. "I'm here."

"Yes, you're here," Jane says. "Come and eat." She stands by the table.

He grins. "You always cook and dust and offer me food. So cute." He smiles. Jane frowns.

They hug. They smile. They smile and hug. Since Jane habitually avoids sucrose, the reunion makes her feel queasy. Dick feels happy. Jane still feels queasy. But they smile at each other. Jane has always had rosy cheeks, no matter how much ivory foundation she wears.

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