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Jack With a Twist

Chapter Ten
“You do not look like James Bond,” I say.

“Of course I do,” Jack says, not even looking at me, waving the zappy gun menacingly at the row of crystal bowls we’re browsing.  We’re at Tiffany and Co. today to register since my parents’ friends apparently went to Tiffany to buy us an engagement gift and we were --- gasp! --- not registered there yet.  (“The Goldmans said that you are still not registered at Tiffany’s.  I could not believe my ears.  Still not registered at Tiffany’s?  Still?  Well, when they told me I was horrified.  Horrified!”)

 “You don’t,” I say, grabbing the gun from him to zap the Harmony bowl onto our registry.  I’ve bought that bowl for so many engaged couples that I’ve lost count.  I know that I should be thrilled that I am now the one registering for it, but all I can do is be annoyed at Jack for acting so juvenile.  Who is this man-child and what has he done with my fiancé?

Why does Tiffany’s even give out these stupid zappy guns out to couples who are registering, anyway?  You would think that a classy joint like Tiffany and Co. wouldn’t want to give couples a scanner to scan merchandise directly onto their registry.  You’d think that they’d ask you to write them a formal note on perfumed stationary detailing just exactly which items you would like on your registry instead of letting all of their couples make a scene in the store by having them walk around debating the merits of the basketweave pattern versus the plaid.  More importantly, don’t they know that the men who hold the scanners will instantly revert to children and start using the scanning guns as toys? 

 I had this image of us walking into Tiffany’s --- a modern day Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard --- behaving elegantly as we registered for all of the things that we would need for our glamorous new life together.  I even wore a black shift dress and beige raincoat.  Instead, my fiancé began playing with the gun like a six year old, thus testing our relationship to its very brink.

 “Gimme that,” he says, grabbing the gun from my hands, “those Russians are on our tails.”  And with that, he begins to skulk behind the glassware.

“What in God’s name are you doing?” I whisper loudly as I follow him behind the rock cut beer mugs.
“Shhh!” he says, pointing at another couple around the same age as us who are also registering, “the Russian couple!”

“First of all,” I say, “they’re not Russian, Jackie.”

“Yes, they are,” he whispers, “and use my code name, Hannibal.”

“Excuse me?”

“Hannibal,” he says, crawling past the wine glasses straight towards the bowls.  “You said that I had to be George Peppard today.”

“Get up!” I say, pulling Jack up off the ground from his shirt collar, “His character’s name was not Hannibal.”

“Well, I’m George Peppard from the A Team,” he says, “George Peppard from Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a huge wimp.”

“You can’t just pick whatever George Peppard you want to be,” I say.

“The Russians!” he says, pulling me behind the wall that separates the personal shoppers from the rest of the floor.

“Stop this,” I say, “You’re George Peppard from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Start behaving accordingly.”

 “A Team!”

“Who are you and what have you done with my fiancé?”

“Please, Brooke,” he whispers, “we don’t want the Russians to attack.  We’re vulnerable by the glassware.  Let’s move to the sterling silver.”

“You do realize that you’re supposed to be the normal one in this relationship,” I say as he drags me across the floor to the sterling silver.  And he’s right, there’s much more cover in the sterling silver section.  It’s just that my father will kill me if I register for any sterling silver that could be gotten for cheaper out on Long Island at Morell’s.

“Do you see the Russians?” Jack asks, his back to the display case.

“Okay, they are not Russian!” I say.  “They are just another couple registering for their wedding, just like us.”

“Well, actually, Brooke,” Jack says, “both of my grandmothers were born in Russia, as was my grandfather on my mother’s side.”

“Could you focus on registering, please,” I say, taking the gun away from him.

“Shouldn’t you just be happy that I came?” Jack asks, “most men make their fiancées do all the work by themselves.  But, I’m here.  So, can’t you just appreciate that and let me have a little fun instead of being bored to death?”

“Oh my God, Jackie, you’re bored to death?”

“Kind of,” he says, “but I know it’s important to you, so I’m here.”

“Jackie,” I sing, grabbing him for a kiss.  “That is so sweet of you.”

“Of course, sweetie,” he says as he glances back to the table filled with crystal bowls, “but you can do Bloomie’s with your mother, right?”

“Right,” I say with a smile.

“Hey, are these the Georgetown bowls?” Jack says, picking up a crystal bowl and turning it over.  It’s a large crystal bowl, but rather plain.  It lacks the elegant lines of the Harmony bowl, and has big sides that look cumbersome --- like they’d always get in the way.  I never would have chosen it myself, but if Jack wants it, I suppose I don’t mind.

“Miranda says that we should register for the Georgetown bowl,” Jack says, getting the scanner ready to zap.

Miranda?  Why is Miranda telling him what to register for?

“Why is Miranda telling us what to register for?” I ask, taking the bowl from his grasp under the pretense of taking a closer look at it.

“She says it makes a great salad bowl,” he says, baby blues shining.  He seems so excited about having suggested something for our registry that I barely have the heart to tell him that I really don’t care what Miranda thinks we should register for, since she’s not our friend.  She’s just someone who works for Jack.

Not like I’m jealous of her or anything.  But, really.  How dare he invoke her name while we are in the temple of Tiffany and Co.  (And if you don’t think that shopping at Tiffany’s is a religious experience, clearly you’ve never been there.)

“It’s at a good price point,” Jack says, smiling.  “Didn’t your mother tell us that we should register for things in a wide variety of price points?”

“Zap it in,” I say, forcing a smile.  I think to myself that I can always delete it off of our registry later when I go online.

“Will do,” Jack says, and turns around to zap the totally boring Georgetown bowl into our registry.

“Gotcha!” the faux Russian guy says, coming from out of nowhere, pointing his zappy thingee at Jack.  Jack clutches his chest and pretends to fall to the floor.  I do what any woman in my position would do --- stand there with my mouth wide open, waiting for faux Russian guy’s fiancée to arrive so that we can roll our eyes at our respective fiancés.

“Brooke,” he chokes out, “Just remember how much I love you.  (Cough.)  I want you to go on without me and live a happy life.  (Cough, cough.)  Don’t mourn me for the rest of your life.  And --- whatever you do --- don’t register for that Metropolitan vase.  I really hate it.”  He coughs a bit more, just for good measure, and then collapses completely onto the floor, moaning all the way. 

I am not amused.  Again, and I really can’t stress this enough, he’s supposed to be the normal one in this relationship.

“Who are you?” I say, and take his gun and start zapping silver serving spoons indiscriminately.

“Boys and their toys,” a woman who I can only assume is the faux Russian-fiancée says to me, rolling her eyes.  “Just give them a phallus and they can play all day.”  Um, okay, can’t we just call them little boys?  Was that phallus remark really necessary?  That comment totally ruined Tiffany and Co. for me for the day.  Perhaps forever.

But, maybe they really are Russian.  That post-perestroika tough talking sort of Russian woman who simply tells it like it is.  After all, she does have pitch black straight hair, pale skin and blood red lipstick on.  I ask you, what says Russian woman more than black hair, pale skin and red lipstick?!?  And her fiancé has pale blond hair, even paler skin and a tall, skinny frame that totally screams Baryshnikov in White Nights

Or, she could just be totally correct.  There was something disturbingly phallic about the zappy guns at Tiffany’s, with their long noses and thick bases.

Eeeew.  Now I’ve grossed myself out.

“Let me give you a hand there,” faux Russian says to Jack, as he helps pull Jack up off of the floor. 

 “Thanks,” Jack says, brushing off his pants and running his hand through his shaggy brown hair.

 “No problem,” faux Russian says, “I’m Yuri.  And this is my fiancée, Natasha.”

“Nice to meet you,” I say, shaking their hands as Jack introduces us.  Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the edges of Jack’s mouth creep into a sly smile.

“So,” Jack says, putting his arm around my waist and giving me a squeeze, “you guys are Russian, huh?”

Jack smiles, and I must admit, I smile a bit, too, at the ridiculousness of the situation, but really, all I can think is:  Who is this man and what has he done with my perfect fiancé?

Jack With a Twist
by by Brenda Janowitz

  • paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Red Dress Ink
  • ISBN-10: 0373895550
  • ISBN-13: 9780373895557