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Lubricating Clams

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“Mm, yeah, no. Pass tonight, Polly.”

Polly’s eyes glittered. “Sorry, on tonight, Vee?”

Was like she hadn’t even heard her. Vera flicked her eyes aside.

“Of every night you could’ve picked to turn down one of your best-girl chef’s special sauces?” Polly leaned forward, mock-gasping. She held the little potion bottle up higher, its neck between her index finger and thumb; she shook it rapidly in the air as if jingling a little bell. “You wound me, Oberlin! Are you telling me I stayed sober all day cooking us a full-course dinner showcasing THIS -- “ She slapped her free hand onto the table. Vera’s snakes recoiled, hissing, and she leaned back a hint, nose slightly scrunched, squinting faintly onto Polly’s face to size up whether she did, in fact, appear sober as she continued. “ -- delicious abalone conchiglie… for this thanks?”

...Vera did let her eyes fall to the plate.

The three hearty pasta shells. Two and a half, rather - one bisected to reveal a likewise-bisected piece of nice meaty, sweet shellfish. Whole plate drizzled with pale tart white wine sauce and sprinkled with little perfectly, artfully random clusters and dots of emerald-green herbs.

Polly truly was a good cook when sober.

...And then those red eyes flicked back up to Polly again, low-angled, on realizing that she had ended with a shitty Italian accent.

Fa’ dis tanks?

Aaaaand sure enough.

“On dis? ” Polly continued, forming both hands into little beaks and jabbing them at her chest. “Da day o’ my doahter’s wedding?

“You’re lucky I wanted to eat in with you one-on-one tonight,” Vera said, averting her eyes again, “instead of doing something like… I don’t know…” She did know. “...having a lavish banquet with all of my top connections under the guise of a thank-you and making you my plus-one.” She raised an index finger; as one snake lifted her head to coil around it, Vera shifted her focus back onto Polly’s face again, superficially impassive. “I doubt every head honcho among my many, many mob ties would’ve appreciated hearing that impression. For the millionth time.”

Polly grinned. Winked. “What would they do about it? Shoot me?”

Vera cracked a quick smirk.

And Polly began to titter. “Come on…” she said, smile pinning her eyes shut from below. Another lift and shake of the bottle, high above the table. “Trust me; you will get a kick out of this one - believe me when I say that it’ll guarantee that right down to the last hour, tonight lives up to all it's worth as the happy ending to cap off one heck of a perfect day!

Vera sighed through her nose, thinning her lips a moment. Glanced aside at her wine glass - took it by the stem. “...Look, Polly.” Throat and tone were dry. “I know you can mix high-content wine with Das Ubermeth or whatever the hell kind of designer drug you’re calling a ‘sauce’ it is this time, but Dad had a ‘good day’, too.” She took a sip. Looked at Polly over the rim of her glass before setting it down with a fresh purple lipstick print on its edge. “I can’t say I’m interested in his and Val’s first night at the new Casa Oberlin by passing out cold in a pool of my own vomit on any of those hundreds of very nice new carpets in front of them.” ...A pause. She shut her eyes on a thought into another sip. “...Any of the hardwood floors, either, let me clarify. Either way, let’s just say I’d rather not subject my family to the bitch that is cleaning up literally toxic bile.”

Polly snickered. Vera arched an eyebrow.

“Oh, no, Vee,” she said. One more lift of the bottle - cheers - before she reached up and uncorked it. Winked, with a cock of her head. “Let’s think a little bit harder about the word ‘sauce’ . And the words… ‘happy ending’.”

...Both of Vera’s eyebrows lifted. She cooed a faint, considering “aaaaah” - curve of her mouth slanting into an open smirk.

“Spoilers…” Polly’s voice began to ring like a bell. “...Its waaaas moi who cooked dinner, right? And so, in retrospect, do you think it was just a total coincidence that moi, of all people, had us… eating clams?

Vera snorted. “You’re repulsive,” she said.


Another break of a snicker as strawberry-colored sparkling liquid started to pour out of the bottle. “Awwww, you know you love it…”

Vera’s smirk split open wider. Teeth showed. “I mean… I can’t deny that you sure do know what pairs the very best with a top-quality wine.”

Polly set the elbow of her free arm beside her plate. Plunked her cheek onto the heel of her palm. “You mean me?” Another wink - “flapped” that hand forward. “I kid, I kid…”

The last drop plinked from the bottle.

The sauce on both plates swirled cream and ruby-pink.

“But anyway… and what I love,” continued Polly, her grin fixed and broad as a Cheshire cat’s, “is that somewhere in those, like, hundreds of new rooms of yours… is that there’s gotta be a place we can take this afterparty one-on-one.”

Vera’s eyes half-lidded.

Her smirk sealed - equally lengthy and fixed.

The sweet, sweet other side and gasp of fresh air when true, true working hard pays off, indeed.