Code Word

Neither Jared nor his wife Rosalind had any desire to go to his coworker’s dinner party, but they both knew there would be hell to pay if they didn’t make an appearance at Peter’s place.

“Peter’s still convinced Jessica in Inventory hates him because she once gave him a box of pens with red ink instead of black ink. ‘She could have at least given me blue pens,’ he said to me. ‘They come across as somewhat professional, unlike these red ones that make my reports look as though they were signed by a teenage girl.’ I do not need to face the wrath of Peter,” Jared said. “He’s on track to become the next Sales Manager.”

“Fine,” Rosalind sighed. “Maybe we should bring him a box of black pens for a hosting gift, instead of this bottle of wine.”

Jared loved his wife’s sense of humour, just as much as he loved her willingness to support his career and to put up with the crazy coworkers that came with it. Peter Mulligan was the worst of the bunch. Every time they ran into him somewhere, he would spend the whole time staring at Rosalind’s ample bosom while pretending to be paying attention to what Jared was saying.

“We won’t stay long, I promise,” Jared assured his wife.

“We should come up with a code word for when one of us wants to leave,” Rosalind said.

“Asparagus,” Jared suggested.

“Asparagus? Why ‘asparagus’?” Rosalind asked.

“It’s a common enough word that people wouldn’t think it too weird if they heard it, but still different enough for it to stand out in our ears,” Jared explained.

“But what if Peter serves asparagus tonight?”

“Who serves asparagus at a dinner party?” Jared asked genuinely confused.

Peter Mulligan, that’s who. Bacon wrapped asparagus, to be exact.

“Would you like some bacon wrapped asparagus?” he asked while looking down Rosalind’s blouse shortly after they arrived.

“Why yes, I would like some bacon wrapped aspara…”Rosalind said before catching herself.

“How do you like your bacon wrapped asparagus?” Peter then asked the two of them a short while later.

“It’s great! I didn’t know you could get aspara…it, this time year,” Jared said before almost saying the word.

“Can I offer you some more bacon wrapped asparagus?” Peter then asked when he saw that their plates were empty.

“No, thank you,” Rosalind replied. “I find that if I eat too much aspara…vegetables all at once, it makes my tummy cranky.”

Two and a half hours later, the two of them were desperate to leave.

“Asparagus,” Jared said as softly as possible, although not softly enough.

“What’s that, Jared? You want more bacon wrapped asparagus? Coming right up!” Peter said before dashing off to the kitchen.

It took another hour and two servings for Jared to finish off the bacon wrapped asparagus.

“Thank you for a lovely evening,” Jared said as he and Rosalind were leaving. “I’ll see you at work on Monday!”

“What an incredibly rude man,” Peter said after the two of them had left. “He ate most of the bacon wrapped asparagus. I barely got to enjoy any myself. I’ll remember that for sure.”

As they drove home, Jared and Rosalind decided that they were going to have to do a better job of coming up with code words in the future.

“How about, ‘Just kill me. Just kill me now!’?” Jared asked his wife.

“It may lack subtlety,” Rosalind said.

“You’re the best,” Jared lovingly said to his wife.

“Better than bacon wrapped asparagus?!” she joked.

It was good she had such a good sense of humour about such things, because two weeks later Peter was promoted to Sales Manager and Jared was the first person he fired. It would be a good long time before they could afford asparagus themselves, wrapped in bacon or otherwise.


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