Last night, just before 10, I was watching the last few riveting minutes of Miss Marple: the Moving Finger, and it was tense because my friend and I had a bet going. He said the doctor killed the gossipy wife and the domestic. I was distracted by the use of Bible pages in poison pen letters and said it might be the vicar’s wife but that in all matters Agatha Christie-related I could never pick the killer and it started to look like he was going to win. This is terrible because if he wins, not only do I not know how the murder was committed – which would bug me – but it was really going to cost me. And winning wouldn’t be much better because he wagered a pound of macaroni made by non-Italians, which would be okay if the non-Italians were Chinese or even French because Heaven knows throughout history European borders have been a little flexible, but then the phone rang! At first, I didn’t recognize the voice.
Some Lady: I know it’s late but I thought you might like to have a chance to…
Tata: I can barely hear you.
Some Lady: I know it’s late. It’s Tom’s birthday and I thought you might want to call him on the other phone.
Tata: What are you saying?
Mom: It’s Tom’s birthday. He’s talking to your sister Corinne right now on the other phone but if you wait a few minutes you can call before the end of the evening.
Tata: What’s today’s date? It was just Bastille Day. That should’ve been my first clue – pretty much every year for the last 30! I just never know what day it is.
Mom: I know. That’s why I called.
Tata: You’re not whispering. Where are you?
Mom: Cape Cod.
Tata: Is he in the same house you are?
Mom: Yes. This morning, we went quahogging and we’re going to watch a movie.
Tata: My jealousy knows no bounds. I was watching Miss Marple and absolutely no one went clamming.
My friend and I both picked the wrong culprits, which may mean meeting in trenchcoats on a bridge between East and West Berlin. I haven’t decided what to forfeit. It has to mean something, and it has to be funny. Is pesto hilarious?