All in for Baldwin

FROM THRILLING OUTDOOR ADVENTURES AND CULINARY NIRVANA TO ROMANTIC GETAWAYS, LUXURIOUS SPAS, AND SECLUDED BEACH RETREATS, THE BAHAMAS OFFERS EVERYTHING YOU COULD IMAGINE…AND SO MUCH MORE.

Oh Baldwin, you’re amazing. You are simply wonderful.

Larry, you’re spoiling him … as always.

How can you spoil this guy? He deserves the best. Don’t you Baldy?

Dr. Russo says —

Pardon my French, Penny, but fuck Dr. Russo.

You’re not even reading his book, Larry.

No, Darling. But I am doing what’s asked of me. You read the book — you tell us the program. That’s sufficient. You’ve gone whole hog on Russo. Fine. You explain the routines and we go along with them. Baldwin seems enthusiastic and I’m doing the best I can. I’m going that extra mile aren’t I?

Not willingly.

That’s irrelevant, baby. I’m complying — Reconstruct your everyday habits … CHECK. Promote the positives in your relationship … CHECK. Think about what’s best for loved ones affected by your decisions — that would be you, Baldy … CHECK. Avoid angry verbal confrontations; if you have objections put them in writing … CHECK. Lock your written objections in your fucking peace capsules … CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.

You’re not doing it enthusiastically, Larry.

No? Did I not adventure the future of my company by taking this week off? Haven’t I booked us on a ludicrously expensive Caribbean Cruise? When I look out over our cabin balcony right now do I not see, or would see, if 566 cruise ships weren’t blocking our view, something called Nassau? Change your environment, create a new narrative together… CHECK. I’m all in, Penny.

Don’t get so riled up, Larry.

I’m not riled up. If anybody should be riled up it’s Baldwin. All we have put him through to be on this trip? All on account of Russo. Those terrible shots. You’re such a Braveheart, Baldwin.

And please stop feeding him lobster.

He likes lobster, Penny. Don’t you, Baldy? … Okay, let’s get down to business. What’s next on the list?

Taking reversed positions.

A sexual exercise?

Not even funny, Larry. We are going to go ashore and take Carnival’s recommended walking tour, but primarily we are going to talk to each other. We’re gonna assume each other’s outlook. I take on your point of view, seeing things your way. And you imagine yourself in my position. Russo calls it Converse Extrapolation.

Sure. Why not? Hey Baldy, do you want to explore the Bahamas? Up for an excursion? Meet some local ladies maybe?

WELCOME TO NASSAU, SPARKLING GEM OF THE CARIBBEAN. ON LEAVING THE SHIP AT PRINCE GEORGE WHARF YOU WILL BEGIN YOUR 3-HOUR WALKING ADVENTURE THROUGH HISTORIC DOWNTOWN. THE TOUR INCLUDES SHOPPING OPPORTUNITIES AND INDULGENCE IN OLD NASSAU’S RIVETING HISTORY, VIBRANT CULTURE AND CHARMING MIEN.
COMBINE DELICIOUS AND AUTHENTIC FOOD AND DRINK WITH SOME SERIOUS FUN AS YOU DISCOVER NASSAU’S OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH SITES AND WONDERS NOT FOUND IN YOUR GUIDEBOOKS WHILE GAINING FASCINATING HISTORICAL, ARCHITECTURAL, AND CULTURAL INSIGHTS. YOU WILL LEAVE THIS TOUR FILLED WITH NEW PERSPECTIVES AND KNOWLEDGE — MEMORIES TO TREASURE FOR A LIFETIME. SUITABLE FOR ALL AGE GROUPS AND FITNESS LEVELS. HAT, SUNSCREEN AND SUNGLASSES ARE RECOMMENDED.

My God, this is worse than Disney World. It’s mob tourism.

Relax, Larry.

You relax. We’re, like, in a lemming migration. Baldy is going to suffer agoraphobia or whatever it’s called.

Don’t let these crowds spoil the moment for us. Remember, we’re not tourists.

We’re not? What are we?

We’re explorers. We’re adventurers, Larry. It’s all about attitude. The crowds will thin out as soon as we get off the beaten track. Now let’s get down to business.

You go first.

No, you go first.

Why do I have to go first? I always go first.

Alright, I’ll start. Are you ready?

Yeah, we’re all ears. Aren’t we Baldy?

I have been selfish, Larry. I forget how important your career is to you. I realize that all those extra hours you are putting in at the office now will pay off further down the line when you’re tremendously successful and we’ll have more time for each other.

You do?

Larry!

Sorry.

Now it’s your turn.

Well Penny, I’ve given it some thought and I think I understand your wardrobe needs. It can’t be fun hanging around the house waiting for me all day, even with Baldwin to take care of. I don’t think 18 new outfits, 10 pairs of shoes, 3 or 4 handbags, and, what was it? 5 items of jewelry? last month was excessive. Not to mention that your consumption levels are helping bolster up the US economy.

That’s bullshit. You’re being sarcastic. Either we do this right or we don’t do it at all.

Okay, you do it right then.

Like this, Larry … I no longer blame you for that thing with Keisha. I realize that you didn’t start that. She took advantage of your kindness. She sucked you in, seducing you against your will, luring you to those motel rooms.

Thank you.

But why did you have to bring her on as a receptionist in the first place? Couldn’t you have hired —

Now you’re breaking the rules, Penny.

Alright. I realize that in a company like yours it’s a big advantage to have a half-naked erotic dancer in the office to make your clients feel welcome and get excited about your insurance policy offerings even though she lacks any clerical training whatsoever.

Penny!

Okay. I appreciate that you need attractive office personnel.

That’s better. And I am not going to fault you for flirting with that asshole from Texas at our dinner table last night — although his wife might have a thing or two to say about your obvious intentions.

What? That’s not how this is supposed to go, Larry. That is an accusation, not an apology. If you have an issue with me talking to that guy you are going to need to write it down and file it in our peace capsule. Building new relationships with other couples is part of the program. This cruise gives us an excellent opportunity to do just that.

Did you hear their snide remarks about Baldwin? Asking about his service qualifications? Questioning if we had the correct authorization?

No, I didn’t hear that. He seemed like a very nice guy and she was having an unfortunate seasickness thing.

Speaking of Baldwin, I’ll take this opportunity to say that I am sorry for accusing you of trying to influence him into loving you more than me. Trying to turn him away from me.

I could never do that, Larry.

Nevertheless, I appreciate you not trying.

Fine, and I respect the fact that you normally need to smoke a few joints and down a stiff drink before we have any serious conversations.

Thank you, Penny. And I feel, despite what I might have said in the past, that you look even more beautiful with all those extra pounds!

Fuck you, Larry!

No, really. You were too skinny when we met. 195 is a good weight for you.

I’m sorry for not realizing how important it is for you to always have the TV on. I never understood that there are so many essential sporting events; that you feel anguish when you and Baldwin can’t watch your favorite games undisturbed. I regret trying to make conversation during those games and, since I don’t understand the significance and technicalities of what is going on, I know I have interrupted your concentration at very inopportune moments.

It’s sweet of you to say that, and I’m sorry for calling you a fat toad and a clam brain, Penny.

And bitch slime?

I don’t remember using those exact words but I’ll apologize for it anyway.

Retarded slut?

I might have used the term ‘retarded slut’. Sorry, baby.

Apology accepted. And I’m sorry for ramming your new car into the back of that dump truck because I was distracted by your argument with my mother.

Thanks, fifteen hundred bucks later. And I regret telling your mother to fuck off.

You shoved her out the car door, Larry!

I was just helping her leave. I’m sorry if that could be interpreted as a shove.

For Christ’s sake Larry, she broke her leg. And you frightened the hell out of Baldwin.

I’m sorry if my attempt at helping your mother out the door, which might possibly be construed as a shove, is in anyway connected to her bone fracture, which, with all probability, is more directly related to her destructive lifestyle choices, such as chain smoking, long-haul couch sitting, and a nutrient-deficient, sugar-charged diet. And I have done my utmost to make it up to Baldwin. Haven’t I buddy?

Okay. And in retrospect I regret asking my mother to come live with us. I thought it would help our problems.

You know, we might be getting somewhere, Penny. I feel better already. And Baldwin seems to appreciate this … Incidentally, why have we stopped in front of this parking lot?

Because this is the site of the famous Royal Victoria, built in 1861, the haunt of spies, fortune seekers, royalty, pirates and smugglers. It says in our guidebook that this was the largest and most commodious hotel ever built in the tropics.

Penny, look up from your guidebook — we are standing in front of a goddamn parking lot.

Former guests have included Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, and Prince Albert. This is a very important landmark, Larry.

I repeat. There is no hotel here, Penny. It’s a fucking parking lot.

That’s because it was destroyed by a fire in 1971. It says here we should take time to imagine the former splendor of the Royal Victoria before heading south along Parliament Street.

What bullshit. The former splendor of a parking lot?

If you had read Dr. Russo’s book you would know more about P I P, Positive Imagining Power. If we can imagine the splendor of the Royal Victoria even though it burned down fifty years ago, we should be able to imagine anything, for example the upside of our lives together.

Our marriage is a parking lot?

You could say so.

Penny, the judge ordered us to go to Russo for plain vanilla marriage counseling, not to hear a lot of pseudo-psychological crap like Positive Imagining Power.

Doctor Russo has saved hundreds of marriages, Larry. People in a lot worse shape than us. Russo states clearly that there are no hopeless marriages. He’s highly respected everywhere, you know. This very weekend he’s up in Philadelphia accepting an award for his achievements from one of the top women’s organizations in America. We should consider ourselves lucky to be in his care.

Well, when he said we owed it to Baldwin to work together to solve our problems, that did strike a chord with me. That made sense. I’ll grant him that.

Baldwin is the most precious thing we have together, Larry. Of course we owe it to him. Dr. Russo says our splitting up could cause Baldwin irreparable psychological damage. Just see how he reacts when we fight.

I’m all in for Baldwin’s sake, Penny. You know that. You know that too, don’t you Baldy?

The Russian princess Alexandra Feodorovna was brutally murdered with a shower head by a runaway slave in room 127 of the Royal Victoria, during the drought of 1905. That’s important history, Larry.

Yeah, well that’s really fascinating to learn, but do you think we can move on to some place where we can get something to eat. Baldy must be starving.

 

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