I only had short notice for Ellen’s birthday, so here’s a silly little bit of silliness, of no real literary merit, which will hopefully give her a little smile.



Ellen sat tapping away at her computer, sipping a cup of tea, and enjoying a rare quiet moment before the whole family descended upon her. She knew that when her husband and kids came in they would clamour around her with gifts and good wishes for her birthday, and then take her out to her favourite Mexican restaurant. And while she was looking forward to all that, she couldn’t help feeling that one of the nicer moments of her birthday was a chance to be by herself, if only for the little, checking her messages and touching base with her Dueser friends.


Ellen was generally thankful for her blessings, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t acknowledge that things had been a little busier and a little more trying recently. From the front vestibule came the voices of her family, shouting for her to come and see what they had brought her. Ellen bade a quick bye to the net-friends she had been talking to and joined them.


Later, in the restaurant, surrounded by Mister Ellen and all the sub-units all making simultaneous noise, Ellen became aware of a waiter standing beside their table waiting to take their order. Nobody else had noticed him there, it seemed, so she turned to give him an apologetic smile and was startled to see none other than Ray Vecchio standing there, leaning sideways on his left hip and clutching an order pad. Under his white apron he seemed to be wearing an outfit most inappropriate for a waiter – tight black dress pants, a gleaming white turtleneck with a blue undertone that perfectly set off his “winter” complexion and over these an elegant navy blazer.


Ellen did a take. The she did a double take. Ray grinned at her, his green eyes sparkling mischeviously.


“What are you doing here?” Ellen sputtered.


Mister Ellen answered, “Trying to decide what to have. You’re going to have the burritos as usual, of course.”


Nobody else seemed to notice Ray standing there. Ellen suspected she might be hallucinating.


“They can’t hear me or see me unless I want them to,” Ray told her. “You see, when it was my birthday on Friday I got a magical present: to spend a week doing anything I want with nobody seeing or hearing me unless I wanted. So, of course I wanted to come be with you on your birthday.”


“What do you mean, ‘of course’,” Ellen repeated, a little confused.


“That’s what you always have,” Mister Ellen answered.


At the same time Ray said, “I mean, you’re one of my favourite people. I’ve always wanted to be with you on your birthday and now I can.”


“I’m confused,” Ellen said, confused.


Mister Ellen snickered. “I bet. That’s more wine than you usually have, you know.”


“Let me tell you what I have in mind for us to do,” Ray said and leaned down to whisper some very racy suggestions into Ellen’s ear.


Ellen was aghast. “Ray! I’m married! And I work in a church!”


Ray gave her another merry laugh. “Sucks to be me, then. I was looking forward to . . .”


“And you’re married too, now,” Ellen pointed out, “And you have a family. What about Louise and Grace?”


“Oh, you’re such a good author, couldn’t you just sort of write up a chapter where I have a brief but satisfying affair with an otherwise respectable lady and both our spouses sort of forgive us and we all live happily ever after?”


It was tempting and Ellen certainly had the skill, if not the time recently, to write up just such a scenario in a most convincing manner. As she was busy considering her options, Mister Ellen said, “Who are you talking to? Who’s Louise?”


“Ray, I need you visible right now or my family’s going think I’ve lost it,” Ellen whispered.


Ray winked at her and instantly materialized. But he now looked like a young man in his early twenties wearing a tee-shirt and jeans under his apron. Ellen peered at the young man and caught his eye. Why, he was Ray some twenty years younger. “It’s still me,” he mouthed the words in Ellen’s direction and none of the rest of the family caught on.


“It’s hard to decide,” Ellen told the handsome Italian boy, meaning that she couldn’t be sure whether or not to indulge in a wild fling with Ray.


“No it’s not,” Mister Ellen said, oblivious to the hidden meaning, “Just have burritos like you always do.”


“I’m not sure I want what I always have,” Ellen commented, staring into Ray’s eyes as she said it, her mind already racing with alternatives.



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