The Misadventures of Mrs. Fishbaum

Today’s Special

"Oh look, Louise," trumpeted Mrs. Fishbaum as the Biddies were settling down at their usual brunch table, "your sandwich is today’s special!"

"Whaddaya mean, my sandwich?” Louise, who hadn’t yet had her morning coffee, was in no mood for games.

"You know," Mrs. Fishbaum sing-songed with far too much enjoyment, "the one with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. But instead of avocado they use hummus."

Gloria gave Mrs. Fishbaum a disapproving look. “Oh, Elle. Don’t be so… racist,” she whispered the word as if it were pornographic.  ”Just because it has hummus on it doesn’t mean Louise will like it.”

"She’s not racist," Louise grumbled, adjusting in her chair, "just ignorant. Jews don’t even eat bacon, ya meshugana shiksa!”

"Uh… I don’t think that’s what she was referring to," muttered Mrs. Larsen, pointing nervously toward the Menu board.

And they all turned in unison to read what was written there beneath the words TODAY’S SPECIAL:

The Bltch

"Remember when Saturday mornings were special?" Mr. Fishbaum blew into his coffee mug wistfully, "We would sleep in, and then I would make breakfast, and we’d do the crossword puzzle together."

"Frank," Mrs. Fishbaum gave a little dry laugh at her husband’s sudden attack of nostalgia, "that’s what we do every morning now."

"Exactly. Sometimes I think we should start getting up at 6 again on weekdays, just to have our weekends back."

And at the moment he pronounced the word “back,” Mrs. Fishbaum kicked Mr. Fishbaum in the shin. Hard.

"Ow! What the hell was that for?!"

"To help you appreciate how pain-free your other leg is. You’re welcome."

Something Special

"Now Gloria," began Mrs. Fishbaum, taking Gloria by the arm conspiratorily, "I know this is a big birthday coming up for you, so I wanted to do something extra-special. How about a fancy brunch?"

"Oh, that sounds lovely, Elle!"

"Great. How many can you cook for?"

Gloria stopped cold. “Me? You want ME to do the cooking?”

"Gloria. You know I can’t cook!"

"But… what kind of a birthday present is that?"

Mrs. Fishbaum treated Gloria to one of her very wickedest grins before delivering her punchline:

"Who said anything about a present?"


What they said:

Mrs. Fishbaum: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pool?

Mr. Fishbaum: Mmm.

What they meant:

Mrs. Fishbaum: I want a sexy pool boy, preferably latin, who will ogle me like I’m the centerfold in a Sport’s Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Mr. Fishbaum: Excellent!! I am now justified in buying a pool table on the pretense of having misheard that.

The Birthday Card

Mr. Fishbaum brought in the mail and, with carefully practiced nonchalance, pretended he didn’t notice the the large card envelope tucked in with the Valu-pack coupons and CURRENT RESIDENT junk mail. With luck, Mrs. Fishbaum wouldn’t notice until he’d gone to bowling league.

However, Mrs. Fishbaum couldn’t be thrown off so easily. She sat at the table, lit a new cigarette and plucked the offending card from the pile.

"Goddammit, Gloria," she snapped while she opened the envelope, "I thought I made myself clear on this point last year: I’m not young enough to look forward to birthdays and I’m not so old I need to be reminded of my age, so stop killing trees about it already. Strip-o-grams ONLY!"

"And why, dare I ask, is Gloria not speaking to you this time?"

"Oh," Mrs. Fishbam’s hands swatted the air, as though at a cloud of fruit flies, "she wouldn’t shut up about her stupid SPIRIT animal, so I told her…"

"Let me guess," Mr. Fishbaum pursed his lips, as if to kiss a less-than-treasured aunt, "you told her you have a spirit animal too: the dust bunny."

Mrs. Fishbaum stared at her husband as if he had suddenly begun to ooze molten chocolate. “Actually I told her she was a moron, but that is PURE GENIUS!” Reaching for her phone, she added, “I knew there was a reason I married you!”

Mrs. Peacock, in the drawing room, with the candlestick

Leaning over her husband’s shoulder, sprinkling crumbs on the Obituary section of his newspaper, Mrs. Fishbaum clucked her tongue disapprovingly. ”How can you read that crap?” she mumbled through a mouthful of toast.

Mr. Fishbaum looked up sympathetically, “Too depressing?”

She chewed for a moment, swallowed, and said, “Too DULL; they never tell you how anyone died!”


“Oh, Elle! This gravy is delicious!” cooed Mrs. Larsen, spooning another heaping helping onto her mashed potatoes, “what’s your secret?”

“You mean besides the fat and the MSG?” Mrs. Fishbaum smirked.

“Her secret,” Mr. Fishbaum jumped in, “is that, underneath this sarcastic exterior, beats the heart of a woman who is truly thankful…”

There was a moment of sentimental silence before he added, “…for powdered gravy packets.”

"You know, Gloria, the thing about New Age," mused Mrs. Fishbaum, unintentionally harmonizing with a humpback whale, "is that it’s most appealing in old age.”

Good Knight

He was an aging, errant knight in plaid trousers and a bad hat. And when he approached the Biddies mid-brunch, he had admittedly been communing with a bottle of Scotch before noon. But being a gentleman, he placed the aesthetically offensive hat over his heart and gave a stumbling little bow before he spoke.

“Ladies,” he began, a bit too solemnly, “the thing about saving damsels in distress, is that the ones worth saving… the ones worth saving…” he looked as though his train of thought had been boarded by robbers, and could not go on.

“…are too heavy to pick up?” Louise supplied, rather optimistically.

“…remain dressed?” Mrs. Fishbaum offered, rather snarkily.

“…don’t want anything to do with the likes of you?” Mrs. Larsen suggested, rather harshly. 

“Oh, I know,” Gloria bounced in her chair and waved her hands, bracelets tinkling like wind chimes in a hurricane, “it’s: ‘…the ones worth saving don’t need to be saved’!”

“No, no, no,” the red-nosed knight shook his head, “I remember now. The thing about saving damsels in distress is that the ones worth saving will beat the crap outta you if you try to get ‘em in a fireman’s carry.” 

And then he passed out cold.