Steam lifted from scalding mugs of tea as Mabel, Casey and Zerelda took time to talk and sip.
The Three Musketeers used to say “all for one and one for all,” Mabel said.
Zerelda seemed embarrassed.
Mabel took a soft tone.
Alexandre Dumas wrote a famous book in which the three main characters stood by each other through thick and thin, she said.
I don’t read very well, Zerelda said.
We can help you with that, Casey said.
He, too, took on a soft tone.
Mabel dropped three sugar cubes into her tea.
Casey clapped his hands like a 10-year-old at a birthday party.
Use all the sugar you like, Ma, I’ve got tons of cubes in the cellar, he said.
Mabel took both Zerelda’s hands in hers.
We can be like the Musketeers, dear, loyal to each other and while remaining individuals, believing each other’s abilities, unstoppable when we’re together.
Casey settled down.
Yeah, unstoppable like you crashing next week’s Friendly Sons dinner, he said.
Mabel cackled a laugh that made her pet parakeet squawk.
That dirty Joe Biden never answered my letter asking him to be my dinner date, she said. Neither did his kiss-ass staff. So Zerelda’s going to escort me.
We’re going to Zoom bomb that virtual dinner and boil a few potato heads, Zerelda said.
Whoa, did you see that?
A shadow, dear, Mabel said.
Looked like a leprechaun, he said.
You got Irish on your mind, dear, Mabel said.
Do I ever. I can’t wait to spike some of that COVID miracle cure vaccine Mayor Harry Davies has me delivering to a few of his Friendly Sons buddies. After a few hits of my homemade LSD they’ll be taking their trips to the old country without ever leaving Scranton.
Now Mabel clapped her hands.
We all in?
We’re all in, Ma.
All for one, Zerelda said.
So let’s get down to business, Casey said.
Shoot, Zerelda said.
No guns, Mabel said.
Again Zerelda looked embarrassed.
Earl likes guns, Zerelda said, I was always afraid of them.
It’s OK, honey, Mabel said.
Casey started to fume.
You see that stiff Joe Biden on the TV last night promising the country would be dancing the Pennsylvania polka for the Fourth of July? They’ll probably hold a big barbecue block party up in Green Ridge at his old homestead.
Not smart to hold a super-spreader event, Zerelda said.
With all those variants flying around, Mabel said.
Zerelda looked like she might cry.
Why can’t people just wait? Too many people in Scranton still don’t wear masks. Now Biden’s promoting special celebrations like America’s back to normal, Zerelda said.
That’s when the new problems start, Casey said.
Problems started in that lace curtain Greed Ridge swamp long before they brought that little bundle of fibs home from the hospital, Mabel said.
Casey began to pace.
Just one question, he said.
Zerelda and Mabel waited.
What about my infrastructure?
Zerelda and Mabel exchanged looks.
So Casey said it again.
I said what about my infrastructure?
What do you mean, dear?
My pipes! And I’m not talking about bagpipes. Where am I supposed to pee? When a man my age got to go, a man my age got to go. Ask Joe Biden. All dribbles don’t take place on the basketball court. I just know they won’t have public toilets at the Green Ridge Independence Day block party.
Now I understand, honey, Mabel said. Wee wee isn’t just for the French.
Urine trouble now, Joe Biden, Zerelda said.
I bet Joe goes all the time, Mabel said. Bet he wears a rubber hose stuck down his suit pants that leads to a hot water bottle strapped to his leg.
Like one of those snakes St, Patrick drove out of Ireland, Casey said.
Sounds like a good reason for a pee-pee protest march at Joe Biden’s homestead, Mabel said.
But you’re out on bail, Ma.
At least I’m not wearing a hose and a hot water bottle strapped to my leg, she said.