Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Fiction: It's Expensive to Eat Out

The whole thing started because it was my night to cook. Maggie set up a thing about a year or so ago that I would be the one to cook two nights a week. It started out being Monday and Thursday nights, but we quickly realized those were NFL nights, so she changed it to Tuesday and Friday nights. It didn't bother me any; I don't mind to cook. And it gives her a chance to have a night off every now and then. Besides, my meatloaf is better than Maggie's, anyway.

But, that particular Tuesday night I was late getting home from work. Winchester and Pierce had really botched things up with the Honeycutt account, and I had to stay late to get things fixed. By the time I got home I just wasn't in the mood or the mindset to cook anything. So, I decided to take the whole family out for dinner.

My next mistake was going to IHOP. Personally, I wanted to go to Chili's, because I love those honey-chipotle chicken fingers they have, but smiley-faced pancakes outvoted honey-chipotle. They showed us to a booth, and Maggie got in on one side in between Timmy and Tammy, while I got on the other side with Tommy. And then we set up Cassandra in her high chair at the end of the table. Since it was my night to cook, I was in charge of feeding the baby.

I thought the evening went pretty well. Tammy and Tommy enjoyed their smiley-faced pancakes. Timmy, of course, had to have the macaroni and cheese. Cassandra didn't cry the whole time we were there. Sure, she knocked half of her food to the floor, but it was mostly big pieces and we picked most of it up before we left. Maggie had the chicken fried steak breakfast meal for dinner, and I had the "Rooty-Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity" pancakes. (Hey, don't judge me! A man can have fruity pancakes if a man wants fruity pancakes!)

We packed up, paid, and left, and not a single word was said to us by them. I barely even noticed them at all, since they were sitting behind me. Later, Maggie said that she saw them come in and definitely noticed them, because she wondered what people dressed so nice were doing at an IHOP. But, we didn't hear so much as a peep from them that night.

We did, however, hear from them five days later. That's when we got the letter.

At first, I thought it was junk mail. It looked bigger and more official than all the other mail, but I still thought it was junk mail. Because, you know, how the junk mail people sometimes try to make their mail look more official so that you actually open it. That's what it looked like. Like someone was trying extra hard to get you to open their junk mail.

Well, Maggie did open it. It was from the law firm of Geller & Green. That's when we found out we were being sued. $1,000 for actual damages, plus $17,000 for emotional distress. I would have thought it was some kind of weird joke except they had pictures from the restaurant. Pictures of our table, pictures of Timmy's bowl, and pictures of a lone cheese-covered macaroni noodle on the shoulder of a $1,000 dress.

I still think it's all some kind of set-up. Timmy likes his mac and cheese way too much to fling a noodle over the table. He eats every last noodle! Besides, either Maggie or I would have seen him if he had flung a noodle, wouldn't we?

Still, we had no choice but to defend ourselves. We had to get a lawyer. All I could think of was the jingle:

Someone sued you for no reason?
Give a call to Gary Gleason!

So, I called Gary Gleason. At first, he said all the right things. "They have no case," and "We'll have this taken care of quickly." That was four years ago. In that time we've spent over $42,000 on legal fees to Gary Gleason to resolve an $18,000 law suit. And we're not even close to being done with it yet! They finally have a court date set for next March, but that will just add more fees. The only ones who have benefitted at all from this law suit are the firms of Geller & Green and Gary Gleason.

Never trust a smiling lawyer.
That, of course, is grinning Gary Gleason on the left, next to Geller and Green.*

In the meantime, in order to pay for all of this Maggie has had to go back to work, and I've had to pick up a second job. The days of going out to "fancy" places like IHOP are over. In fact, about all we can afford to eat anymore is macaroni and cheese. We've eaten it so often that I think even Timmy might get sick of it. Maybe.


Please choose a title that best fits this story.
O A. Dinner and Litigation
O B. Never Trust a Smiling Lawyer
O C. The IHOP Shuffle
O D. It's Expensive to Eat Out
O E. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

*Note: I have no idea who these guys are in the picture. I got the photo from the free photo website Pixabay. I went to Pixabay, did a search for "lawyers," and found this picture of these three smiling fellows. My apologies if I have offended any of the gentlemen. Please don't sue me.

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