The Heavenly Birthday Party
A short story by Charlie Tyler
'My card's been declined,’ said Mary. He elevated an eyebrow; a mere jot, but it was enough.
‘Oh, not this again,’ she hissed. ‘Jay-cee is our only son. He deserves to be spoilt, especially after all you put the poor lamb through.’ With that, she pushed the waiter forward and stormed off.
He sighed, reaching into his gown for his Rhodium Amex. The waiter placed the card-reader in front of him and he peered at the screen, unsure what to press; he’d never been good at the small stuff – always preferring a large, blank canvas.
‘Bloody love you, Dad,’ said Jay, slumping down on his right-hand side, taking a glug of Beaujolais Nouveau. ‘Best. Party. EVER.’
He handed Jay the machine. ‘You do it, I’m off.’
‘Don’t go. There’s karaoke and…ooh!’ Jay frowned. ‘How much shall we tip?’
‘TIP!!’ Fire and brimstone spurted up his oesophagus. ‘It’s a crappy buffet.’ The waiter stared at his feet. ‘I’m setting it in stone, Son, no more outside caterers. From now on it’s manna or famine. You’re to tip nothing; that’s a commandment.’
‘Hash-tag-sad-face,’ said Jay. ‘Flatbreads with smoked fish inside - radical.’
‘It’s a bloody sandwich, Jay.’ That was enough; his throne scraped against the marble plinth as he rose to his feet.
‘Oh! Dad, ditch the sackcloth, it’s my birthday party. Hey! What about a riddle to turn that frown upside down.’ For a nano-second he froze. ‘A number puzzle.’ Hidden symbolism; his spine tingled.
‘I’ve thought of a figure. If you can guess its connection with Adam then we won’t pay the tip. If not, then these guys here are going to get fifty-five million, three hundred and seventy-eight thousand and eight pounds to take home.’ CRASH! The waiter slumped to the floor. Jay set the timer on his Apple watch. ‘Ten seconds.’ This was going to be as easy as hiding Moses in the bulrushes.
Stars in the Milky Way? Deepest part of the Ocean? Something to do with the beginning of time? No: Jay wasn’t interested in the past.
He blinked. He didn’t know. But…but…he was omniscient.
Jay pressed proceed. ‘That was fun,’ said Jay, handing him the receipt. ‘Flip it,’ he winked, skipping off; crowds thronging about him, as usual.
He squinted: BOOBLESS. Well, of all the sinful, wicked…
‘Testing. Testing.’ Jay-cee’s voice echoed around the hall. ‘Just want to give a big shout out to the Boss Man.’ The guests whooped. ‘And who better to kick off proceedings than Dad with a Chesney classic.’
Bloody marvellous! He’d always been quick to anger, vengeful, some might say, and, as he headed for the stage, he tried to swallow down the steam which was spurting out of his nostrils. That boy needed a spot of inward contemplation…and a haircut. Suddenly, it hit him, like a thunderbolt; he’d send Jay on a forty-day retreat. Old school punishment. Right in the middle of the wilderness. He picked up the mike, winking at his son.
‘I am the One and Only…’