Tea Time

Contributor: Jerry Guarino

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    Tony poured 32 ounces of hot water over loose Earl Grey tea into his clear glass teapot.  He toasted a fresh slice of homemade brown bread and spread raspberry jam on top, then took both to his writing desk where his computer was playing new age music.  Summer vacation was his favorite time of the year, away from the classroom, with time to catch up on diversions and fantasies.

    The sky was cloudy and the cool air glided through his window, the weather he liked best.  Tony closed his eyes to capture the full sense of the cool air.  

    The doorbell interrupted his peaceful state.  Who could that be?  Tony opened the door and was greeted by a beautiful young woman, maybe 24.  “Excuse me sir.  We’re collecting money for people in need.  Would you like to make a donation?”

    Tony wrinkled his face.  People in need.  Everyone is in need.  “I’m sorry.  Can you be more specific about your cause?”

    The woman held out an identification badge.  It indeed said her name was Becca Toscana, representing People in Need International.  The name suited this lovely woman with Italian looks, dark hair and dark blue eyes.  “I’m sorry Becca, but I’ve never heard of your charity.  What do they do?”

    “We provide food to hungry children by supporting other charities set up to do that.  You know, Save the Children, Christian Children’s Fund, Unicef and others.”

    Tony was still suspect, but Becca’s smile kept him interested.  “Would you mind if I looked up your group on the computer?”

    “Certainly sir.  What was your name?”

    “Tony Mariani, Becca.  Do you think you could come back a little later?”
    “Not at all Mr. Mariani.  I’ll be around again this afternoon.”
    “Fine, thank you.”  Becca went out to the next house while Tony looked up the charity in question.  

    Well, I’ll be damned.  This charity does exist.  Tony decided to contact the receiving charities to verify that People in Need sent money to them.  Within an hour, he received three emails from legitimate charities supporting their good work.  He was about to write a check when he heard the doorbell again.
It was Becca.  “Hello Mr. Mariani.”

    “Becca, come in.  I was just about to write you a check.  Please sit down.”

    Tony used the piano top to write out a check.  “You know, you should get a better name.  People in Need sounds like a scam.”

    “I know.  We hear that a lot.”

    Tony turned and gave Becca the check.  

“One hundred dollars!  Thank you so much.”  Then Becca put her arms around Tony and kissed him slowly.   Tony held her close and before long, they were in bed for an afternoon of lovemaking.  When she left, Becca smiled and waved.  “Bye Amante.”

Tony dreamed about Becca all that night.  I wish I had gotten her number.  The next day, he brought his tea and brown bread to his computer again, hoping to have channeled into some worm hole of fortune.  He was about to write down the experience in his journal when he heard the doorbell.  He looked up, and then rushed to the door, hoping that Becca had come back.

“Hi.  My name is Annika Setterlund.  I’m collecting money to feed hungry children.”

Sure enough, Annika had a badge with her name and representing People in Need.  Tony wondered whether he should mention that he already donated.  

“Please come in Annika.  Let me get my checkbook.  Have a seat.”

“Would one hundred dollars be all right?”  Tony smiled at the Swedish girl with blond hair and blue eyes.

Annika took the check.  “Thank you so much Mr. Mariani.  I can’t tell you how many children will be fed by this generous donation.”  Annika put down her backpack and sure enough, put her arms around Tony.  They made love all afternoon.  She smiled as she left.  “Bye älskare.”

Tony had a quick supper and got to bed early.  An old man like him needed his sleep for energy.  His dreams were as vivid as the events of the day had been.
The next morning he repeated the routine of tea, brown bread and sitting at his computer.  He had forgotten what he was going to do there days ago, but anticipated another doorbell.  Guess it was just some quirk of the universe.  But the memory will last forever.

The doorbell rang.  Tony pinched himself, ran with his checkbook in his pocket and opened the door.

“Hi.  My name is Carolina Munoz.  We’re raising money to feed hungry children.  Would you be interested in donating?”

“I see you’re from People in Need.  Is that a real charity?”  Tony waited patiently as the beautiful Latina explained about her cause.  He decided to continue pretending not to know anything about the best charity he had every contributed to.

Tony smiled and handed the check to Carolina.  “Here you go Carolina.”

“Mr. Mariani.  One hundred dollars.  This is most generous.”  Carolina unbuttoned her blouse, put her arms around Tony.  They made love all afternoon.  Just like the others, she left slowly, smiling and with the same goodbye.  “Adios amante.”

Tony sat back down at his computer.  The cool breeze coming through the window was interrupted by a crack of thunder and suddenly his wife was tapping him on the shoulder.  “Honey.  Are you all right?  I called but you didn’t answer.”
Tony sat up at his desk, noticed his phone was on silent.  “Sorry dear.  Guess I nodded off.  Why are you home so early?”

“I wanted to tell you that tea you bought was confiscated from the store.  Apparently it contained some sort of hallucinogen.  You didn’t drink any, did you?”

Tony pushed the bag of tea into his backpack.  “No dear, I’ve been writing up some lesson plans for next year.  Thanks for thinking of me.”

Tony had flowers delivered to his wife at the office that next day.  She came home early and reciprocated his romantic gesture.  Afterwards, she brought two cups of tea to the bedroom.  “Tony, where did all the brown bread go?”

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Jerry Guarino’s short stories have been published by dozens of magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. His latest book, "50 Italian Pastries", is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook. Please visit his website at http://cafestories.net
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