Since the unfortunate events involving my dog with the Virgin Mary and my niece with Cee Lo Green, I haven’t dared show my face at the residence now occupied by Sophia’s parents, her brother Giuseppe, and Giuseppe’s wife and kids. But with Giuseppe’s birthday falling yesterday, I saw my chance to make amends. I placed an online order with one of Atlanta’s best bakeries for a decadent, seven-layer chocolate cake.
On the drive to the bakery late yesterday afternoon, I realized I’d forgotten to request an inscription for the cake. I found a small sheet of notepaper in my pocket and scribbled a boring but safe message: “Happy Birthday, Giuseppe!” Once in the store I pulled the paper from my pants, handed it the clerk and waited. It took longer than expected, but at last I received a sealed, beribboned box containing the purchased delicacy.
I barely made it to the dinner table on time, pausing only to shove my container into the refrigerator. In the dining room, I found the usual suspects along with one addition. Sophia’s first cousin, Angelica, has just arrived from Sicily for a week-long visit. She possesses two attributes which feature in this tale. First, she doesn’t know any English. Second, she likes to be helpful.
When the time for dessert arrived, helpful Angelica retrieved the cake from the fridge and prepared it for delivery to the birthday boy. She returned from the kitchen, towering cake in hand, with a single lit candle planted atop. Determined to be of equal assistance, I turned off the lights for added ambiance, and everyone commenced singing “Happy Birthday to You.” The song ended as Angelica placed the frosted delight before Giuseppe, who made his wish and blew out the candle. That’s when I turned on the lights.
With my view obstructed, I initially couldn’t understand why Giuseppe — in a tone smacking of disbelief — suddenly questioned: “Get Levitra?” Nor could I understand why everyone in the room except Angelica turned and leveled their iciest stares at me. But then I saw the writing on the cake. You guessed it; the words “Get Levitra” appeared in flowing frosted calligraphy.
How did this accident happen, you ask? As I learned after reflexively reaching into my pants’ pocket, I apparently had stored two sheets of identical notepaper. One, the blank sheet on which I’d written Giuseppe’s birthday greeting, was still there. The other, gone missing, was the reminder I’d given myself the day before to refill the prescription for my erectile dysfunction medication.
In the moment of quiet before several voices began simultaneously berating me, I and everyone else distinctly heard Giuseppe ask a single question to his wife. Guiseppe used the same tone Julius Caesar must’ve employed when Cassius and Brutus stabbed him in the back: “You told them?”