It was Stephanie’s birthday a couple months ago. A good 15 people celebrated that day with dinner, drinks, and bowling at Elsie’s.
In an homage to frugality, Big Willie and I had fashioned two coupons out of a bit of colored paper we had in the house, putting his calligraphy skills to good use. The coupons were stuffed into a birthday card.
“Good for one free evening of badminton!”
As a quick aside, Willie and Stephanie are both part of the badminton cabal that meet at the community center in our neighborhood. Every Monday night from 6:30 to 9:00, a dozen or so people gather as much for the physical exercise as they do to use the word “shuttlecock” in as many contexts as possible.
Good exercise and potentially filthy jokes for only three dollars U.S.
Since that night at Elsie’s, Willie has carried an extra $3.00 with him to badminton, waiting for Stephanie to “redeem” her coupons.
Last weekend on Kurt and Kathy’s deck, we saw her again.
“Steph,” Willie called out. “We’ve missed you at badminton lately.”
“I’ve been there a couple times since Elsie’s. Where’ve you been?”
“Oh, I might’ve missed a couple, I guess.”
“Hey – where’s did you get those coupons, anyway?”
Willie smiled. “What do you mean?”
“Well…” Stephanie took a drink from her beer. “I presented the coupon at the front desk and I thought they were going to call the cops!”
Willie and I exchanged horrified/amused looks.
“I gave – who is at the front desk? Darnell? – the coupon, and he looked at me like I had three heads!”
Willie and I burst into laugher.
“Oh, no!” I said, “No, Steph –“
“And then he called the manager to the front desk!”
“They kept asking me: Where’d you get these coupons? And I kept telling them: They’re my birthday present! They’re a birthday present from Willie and Pearl!”
“Oh, we had quite a discussion about it!”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Did they honor the coupon?”
“No! I had to pay!”
As it turns out, poor Stephanie actually managed to attend two separate badminton nights that Willie had missed – possibly the only two he’s missed in well over a year – and on each occasion, she presented the home-made coupons.
Not surprisingly, the coupons attracted some suspicion. Management was brought in, a number of hands held the coupons to the light, discussions were had related to a possible counterfeit-badminton-coupon ring, unseen forces cheating the community center of three dollars at a time...
It was all sorted out in the end, of course, as Stephanie came to understand that those were home-made coupons, much in the tradition of “Good for One Foot-Rub” or some such old-fashioned sentiment.
And us? What have we learned?
Willie’s calligraphy is better than we had initially thought.
And don’t try to pass any funny coupons at the community center.
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