Flash fiction challenge–genre: humor, theme: Father’s Day at the Beach, Focus: a purple turtle, limit: 715 words (won first place)
My folks always seemed very conservative to me, so it was a shock when I hit thirty and they declared that I should now call them “Fred and Sara” instead of “Dad and Mom”. Maybe that should have been my first warning, I thought, as I looked at them onstage at the karaoke bar. They were doing a Sonny and Cher medley. Only Dad was Cher (with a beach towel draped over his head for hair) and Mom was doing Sonny (holding a finger over her upper lip in place of a mustache). They’d started with “The Beat Goes On” and now they were doing “I Got You Babe”. How on earth did we get to this point?
I had decided to take them to Ocean City on Father’s Day weekend, to see the classic car show. On the way we stopped for lunch at Red Lobster. Dad is a big fan of sweet tea, but he hates adding the sugar himself — it just doesn’t dissolve right, he says, and he hates the taste of unsweetened. I suggested he try the Boston iced tea — it’s unsweetened tea mixed with cranberry juice. He and Mom loved it and kept asking the waiter for more of “that drink with the cranberry juice.”
The car show was great! In addition to all the muscle cars, there were lots of pristine model T’s and Packards with unusual paint jobs. It was really hot, so we kept detouring back over to the boardwalk for drinks. I always went for a margarita, hoping the salt would replenish what I’d sweated away. The folks didn’t seem to mind the heat as much as I did. They said they were sticking to the drinks they’d discovered at Red Lobster, but commented that the versions served in Ocean City seemed sweeter, “and you know how I like sweet things!” Dad had joked, squeezing Mom’s waist.
Dad’s favorite cruiser was the purple dragster that had its engine completely chromed, including the 6 foot stacks. Mom sweet-talked the owner into letting Dad pose for a photo in the driver’s seat. If I didn’t know better, I would swear she was flirting with the guy. Mom liked the VW minibus covered with psychedelic flowers. “Remind you of anything, big boy,” she laughed, raising her arms over her head and whirling around. Dad chuckled and wrapped her in a hug, even squeezing her butt! I was starting to think my parents were “getting frisky” as they used to say on Happy Days.
When we hit the old-time photo shop, Dad went for the riverboat gambler outfit, which put Mom as a saloon girl. She really got into it. She swished her skirt around and sat in Dad’s lap, flashing a gartered leg. Next we split a bucket of fries, and Dad fed the leftovers to the gulls, while I took photos. When he got tired of holding a fry up for the gulls to snatch out of his hand, he started holding one in his mouth. Mom was content to balance fries on the brim of her hat. I got some great shots, even some with the giant purple frog kite in the background.
Those old folks wore me out. I went to bed while they stayed up dancing to the Caribbean band back by the pool. The next morning they showed me the trophy they won in the limbo contest! I was feeling like a real stick in the mud, compared to these two. After dinner we came to this karaoke bar where Mom and Dad started their duets. The crowd loved them. When Mom took a break after their third song, I volunteered to go get drinks for us all. Dad stayed onstage (as Cher) and started wailing on “Half-Breed”. I shook my head and asked the bartender for my margarita (a double) and two Boston teas. He said they didn’t serve Boston tea.
“What do you mean?” I protested, “They’ve been drinking Boston teas all weekend,” I pointed at my parents.
“Them?” said the bartender, “They asked for ‘that drink with cranberry juice’, so I’ve been making them purple turtles — very popular here in OC — it’s cranberry juice with blue curacao liqueur, coconut rum, and triple sec.”
That explained a lot.