The Offer (I’m Glad) I Didn’t Refuse: A Plan Well Laid

godfatherThree weeks following the embarrassment of my aborted Halloween costume, our family went over to the Witters’ house for a Saturday night visit. This wasn’t just any Saturday night though. This particular night was the first of the major, two-night television event that gave me – what I still considered to be – a great Halloween costume idea. Tonight, the NBC television network was set to air the first half of the Oscar-winning motion picture, The Godfather.

I was super-excited to watch the movie with Brad. We had grown up watching the late night creature features during our family visits. The Godfather represented a never-before-seen chance to watch an R-rated movie while our parents were playing cards in the kitchen.  The seeds of this night were sown during the Witters’ last visit to our house three weeks prior.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Brad and I had returned to my bedroom after the embarrassing display in the kitchen.  Sitting on the edge of my bed, I kicked at the area rug while pouting like a little baby.   The mockery at the expense of my great idea was bad enough, but the bigger issue at hand was my current lack of a costume for Halloween.

We batted around ideas for another costume, but none compared to the absolute brilliance of Don… Don… Don who?  Apart from calling him “Godfather” I had no idea what this guy’s name was.  The magazine that gave me the idea was still resting on my dresser from earlier in the day, so I picked it up to read the article on the movie to get an answer.

“Don Vito Corleone.  Huh,” I muttered.

“Whatcha readin’?” Brad wanted to know.

“Huh?” I answered reflexively, a trait I had developed that drove my parents silly.  “I-I’m just reading about the movie.  There’s more to it than I thought.”

For the next few minutes I read aloud the first half of the article before skimming through to find the most interesting bits and pieces.  Previously, we both figured the movie was just like any of the old black-and-white gangster movies.  The article painted a picture of an epic movie that had to be seen.  We’d pause to give our own commentary on how cool it all sounded, then would continue on to learn even more coolness.  The last paragraph of the article really caught our attention.

“NBC will air The Godfather in two parts on Saturday, November 16, and Monday, November 18, starting at 9:00 Eastern and 8:00 Central.”

I looked up from the article at Brad and raised my eyebrows.  He was already grinning and obviously thinking what I was thinking.

“Think we can pull it off?” I queried.

With a smirk, Brad answered, “No problem.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The phone rang around 10:30 the morning of the 16th.  Mom’s tone of voice when she answered told me that Nancy was on the other end of the line.  Brad succeeded in manipulating his mom.  Step One of the plan we concocted was now in effect.  I crossed my fingers that Step Two would be as successful.

I waited a few minutes before walking into the kitchen all casual-like then stuck my head in the fridge looking for nothing.  While closing the door I asked Mom if that was Nancy on the phone.  She nodded yes.  I asked if we could go over to their house.  She stuck an index finger to her lips to signal me to hush up then pointed to the living room.

I sat down in a spot that allowed me to eavesdrop.  The two moms chatted for several minutes.  Concern set in that Step Two was doomed for failure.  Just as I was giving up hope, the question finally came up.

“Susie?” Mom called from the kitchen.  “Could you go ask Dad if he wants to go to Jerry and Nancy’s tonight?”

Now normally if Mom asked either one of us to do anything we would piss and moan about it and try to pawn it off on the other sibling.  This “chore” was one of the few that we eagerly jumped at.

“Yeah!” Susie hollered as she eagerly jumped up off the floor from the cartoon we were watching to go find Dad.  She came running back to tell Mom he was okay with it.

“Okay, then,” Mom told Nancy.  “We’ll be over at our usual time.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, I grinned from ear to ear at the success of our plan and imagined that Brad was at his house doing the same.


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