Sweet Lady Biscuits

Mustapha just came into the kitchen where his wife was making him a fresh pot of tea.

“Had a good day at work, dear?” she said.

He sat down on a chair near the kitchen counter, tired but still feeling talky.

“Well.. We got a new guy transferred to our department.” he said as he picked up a curry puff from the plate on the table and broke it in half.

His wife poured some tea for herself, but not before pouring out some for her husband and saying, “Oh?”

“Yeah.” He began eating one half of his puff. “He's a bit.. how do you say..”
he ended his sentence by flapping his hand in front of his face.

“A bit what?”

“You know..” he continued flapping, adding a grimace this time.

“Oh.” She sat down opposite her husband and picked up her cup. “He smells.”

“It's not B.O. though,” he said in between chews. “I think he just farts a lot.”

He offered the other half to his wife, who took it and set it down neatly on her plate.

He took a sip of his tea and asked, “How about you? Are we doing anything for the weekend?”

“Oh!” She perked up immediately. “As it turns out, we are. Remember our old friends Ibrahim and Alia? I'm thinking of inviting them over for tea tomorrow.”

He looked at her blankly.

“You know, Ibrahim. Our high school friend? You two used to play basketball together? We met them at that..”

“..thai restaurant last friday, I know,” he frowned slightly. “I'm just wondering why you would invite him over to our house. To my house. Him.”

“What's wrong with him? You two got along well that night.” she asked.

He heaved a sigh. “You're right. We used to play basketball together. Did you notice how the conversation was never about that? We played, sure. But never on the same team. We were rivals,” he clenched his fist and stared at it, ignoring his wife's rolling eyes. “I was being all smiles and cracking jokes because I thought that was going to be the last I'll ever see of the bugger. I don't want him to have the satisfaction of knowing that I still hate him after all these years.”

“Oh, grow up Mus. You said it yourself, it happened years ago,” she started to get up to clear the table. “Besides, it's just basketball.”

“Whoa. Stop right there,” he stood up straight in his chair, almost standing up. “We weren't just rivals in the court, okay? It goes deeper than that,” he rolled up his left sleeve and pointed at a long mark across his elbow. “See this? It was him.”

She put her hands on her hips and said, “I was there when you got that. He bumped into you by accident.”

“As far as you can tell. He was laughing with his buddies back in the locker room after that game.” he rolled down his sleeves and leaned near the kitchen sink where she was cleaning up and said, “And that wasn't the only accident that happened to me. I'm telling you Sara, the guy had it in me ever since I accidentally sneezed on him at the school cafeteria the first time we met.”

“You know, I think I'm going to make a nice batch of brownies tomorrow from that website Alia told me about,” said Sara, ignoring her husband.

“You know what I think? I think he poisoned my food back at that restaurant,” he said, looking thoughtful.

“Well, I'm not going to make anything heavy if that's what you're thinking. I mean we'll only be having tea,” she said, wiping down the countertops.

“No really, I think he did. Remember how I had to leave for the restroom and I can't finish in time to leave with you and we had to meet up at that boutique like... two hours later? Remember?,” he's getting a little more animated now. “I wasn't just in the bathroom, you know. I was nauseous as well. Let's just say I was ‘burning the candle at both ends’. It wasn't pretty.”

“It was probably an allergic reaction or something. I bought that nice scarf at the boutique though” she said, while opening the pantry and picking up a jar of peanuts. “Speaking of allergies, you don't think either of them are allergic to nuts, do you? Because I like my brownies nutty.”

“Good,” he said, gulping the last bit of tea from the cup he still has in his hand. “Put plenty of peanuts in those brownies. I hope he chokes to death.”

She turned to face her husband, snatched the cup and folded her arms across her chest, “Listen. I have no idea what happened between you two that's making you be like this and I don't really care to know. All I know is that you're acting very childish right now.”

He opened his mouth to speak.

“We're all adults here, okay?” she said. “Even if there's some bad blood between you two, this should be the time to mend the fences. Bury the hatchet. Let bygones be bygones and just relax and have some tea and be nice.”

He pursed his lips.

“Alia will be there,” he muttered. “She's always fun to talk to.”

“There we go,” said Sara, before continuing to put things away in the kitchen cabinets.

“Can we serve Monte Carlos instead of brownies?”

“Monte Carlos?”

“You know, those little sort of sandwich biscuits with jam in the middle. I like those.”

“I never made those. Those are store bought.”

“Can we have them anyway? I do love them so.”

“I already bought this week's groceries and I don't think it'll be worth the trip just for a box of biscuits.”

“They're sandwiched biscuits, you know,” he continued. “We can mix laxatives in the jam and no one will be able to tell.”

She shot him a look.

“Kidding! Only kidding,” he said with a smirk.

* * *

The weekend has arrived and everything is nearly ready. The table is set up and Alia and Ibrahim will be arriving in a few minutes. Both Mustapha and Sara are in the kitchen making the last minute preparations.

“I already cut the brownies and they're cooling down on the counter.” said Sara.

“Sweet,” he replied, peeking at the deep brown rectangles on the cooling rack. “By the way. Check it out.”

He took out a box from the paper bag he was holding and put it neatly on the counter next to the cooling rack.

“You actually went out and bought those?” Sara asked, barely hiding a chuckle.

“I told you,” he answered, pulling one out of the box and examining it. “I love Monte Carlos.” He took the sandwiched biscuits and separated them, revealing the jam in between.

“You can do that with Oreos, too you know,” she said as she reached into the paper bag to see what else he bought. Her mouth went gaping as she pulled out a much smaller box form the paper bag. “You bought a box of Fleet phospho-soda, too huh?”

He pointed to the ruby-colored jam on one half of the biscuit and gave her a wink.

“No, you crazy!” she said as she took out the bottle from the box to take a closer look. “I'm not feeding laxatives to my friend's husband!” she exclaimed. “Why on earth did you get that when I told you to be nice?”

Mustapha started giggling, “Oh relax, will you. Grampa is coming to visit on Tuesday and he told me to get this for him.”

“Oh.” she said. Her anger completely removed from her face, replaced with a small grin, “I hate you, you know that?” she said as she playfully slapped him on the shoulder.

The doorbell rang.

“You should get that. I'm gonna go finish up. Tell them I'll be there in a bit,” she hurriedly said, pocketing the bottle.

Just outside, the other couple are waiting.

“I still don't feel too good about this.” said the lanky man, Ibrahim, just outside.

“You're so stubborn. We're already here, you know. Might as well make nice.” said his wife Alia, next to him.

“He sneezed on me the first time we met back at high school.” continued Ibrahim. “Did I ever tell you that?”

Alia rolled her eyes. “Whatever you want to say, say it all now. I don't want you bringing up this rivalry nonsense once we get inside. They're a nice couple.”

“Yeah, I guess.” said Ibrahim, his expression slowly lighting up. “I heard she made brownies.”

Mustapha walked out of the front door to greet his guests. “Ah, you're here!” he gestured to the door. “Come in, please. Everything is just about ready,” he turned to Ibrahim and with the best smile he can make, said, “You'd be happy to learn that brownies are involved.”

“Oh joy,” he replied, returning his smile with a toothless grin.

The three of them made their way to the table, where Sara greeted them.

“Hey, Alia!”

“Hey, Sara!” the two women embraced.

“Ibrahim,” she turned to him, “I see you shaved your mustache. Somehow you look a lot less dapper without it.”

“Doesn't make a difference to me,” said Mustapha with a shrug.


“You look dashing either way,” he continued, pulling out a chair for himself. “Please, sit.”

“I see you're wearing that new blouse we got together at that boutique.” said Sara. “Fetching.”

“Thanks. We should do that again, sometime.”

“Oh, please don't,” said Mustapha with a bit of a smirk, “Sara'll bleed me dry!” he continued with a laugh.

“Oh, right.. You two went shopping together didn't you?” asked Ibrahim. “After I... left,” he added, not wanting to say it was because of indigestion.

“Yeah, I remember..” Ibrahim said. “You had that pineapple fried rice in that restaurant what was it called..”

“Thai-Tanic.” said Alia.

“Yes, Thai-Tanic!” said Mustapha. “How could I have forgotten such a name..”

“Try the brownies, Ibrahim.” said Sara, cutting him off. “You're not allergic to nuts, are you?”

“Oh, no. I love nuts.” said Ibrahim, as he glanced at the table full of goodies. “Wait, what are these?”

“Ah.” went Mustapha, his pensive look turned to one of giddiness as he picked of one of the cream-colored, sandwiched biscuits Ibrahim was referring to. “These, are Monte Carlos.”

Ibrahim took a bite. “Oh, there's.. strawberry jam in here,” he said, delighted.

“Awesome, isn't it?” said Mustapha as he also started to partake.

As this exchange was going on, the women continued talking.

“Monte Carlo is an interesting name..” pondered Alia. “Sounds french.. is it?”

“Yeah, it is. It's also the name if a resort in Monaco.” answered Sara.

“Monaco.. that's near France isn't it?”

“Yes, yes it is,” Sara continued. “You've been to France, haven't you?”

“That's right! It was a long time ago, though,” said Alia as she chewed on a brownie.

“Did you go to Euro Disney?”

“No, we didn't. We climbed the Eiffel Tower though.”

“Well, that's to be expected.”

“The food was great. I remember having some excellent bouillabaisse there.”

“I have no idea what that is,” said Sara, as the two women shared a laugh.

“Sorry to interrupt..” started Ibrahim, “Can I use your restroom for a bit? I'm.. feeling a little queasy.”

“I'll go with you,” said Mustapha, himself starting to feel a bit off.

They both left the room quite hurriedly, leaving the two women alone together.

Sara and Alia both put their cups down at the same time. “How did you manage this time?” asked Alia as she stood up and picked up her purse.

Sara took out the bottle of laxatives from her pocket. “These work amazingly fast, don't you think?” said Sara, also standing up.

Alia nodded in amusement. “You did your usual.. sleight of hand?”

“Of course,” said Sara, producing her husband's wallet that she palmed earlier. “I'm thinking of getting some new shoes to go with the scarf we bought last time,” she continued, both women already making their way outside.

“By the way.. putting it in the jam so they wouldn't be able to tell?” said Alia as she put on her shoes. “Genius.”

“I know.”


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