A gypsy warned me that I would die under unusual circumstances.
I have to admit this is an unusual circumstance. I'm being dragged down to the bottom of the lake by three fruitcakes. I try to kick off the rope twisted around my ankle without losing a new Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford. If I have to die, it might as well be in good taste, with both shoes on my feet.
My father opens the door after I ring the doorbell to my parent's home. "Hello, son!" He gives me a bear hug.
My mother calls out from the kitchen. "Is that my Poo Bear?"
My face feels warm. It's probably bright red. I'm amazed at how quickly my mother can reduce me to a 10-year-old. But I rally when I walk into the kitchen. "Mom, my name is Randy, remember? Randy, the doctor, you brag about to your friends?"
"Oh, you'll always be my Poo Bear." She smiles as I give her a hug.
"Mo-o-m!" I give up. I'll never win this battle. "What are you making?"
I groan. "Seriously?"
My older twin brothers, Wendell and Jasper, join us in the kitchen.
"What are you pissing about now, baby brother?" Wendell uses his best divorce lawyer interrogatory voice.
"Fruitcake." I roll my eyes at my brothers.
"Oh, good grief!" Jasper says, and pushes his glasses back up his nose.
"Fruitcakes last forever," Mom says. "Just like my love for you."
"I know fruitcakes last forever," Wendell says. "My friends and I are still regifting the fruitcake you made for me when I graduated high school. That was more than 20 years ago."
Jasper punches Wendell in the shoulder.
"I thought you use dried fruit," Wendell says. "What's with that candied crap?"
"I'm trying a different recipe this time." Mom squints at the scribbles on the paper in her notebook.
"I hope that recipe isn't from Aunt Agnes," I say.
"Yes, it is," Mom says. "I thought you boys liked her fruitcake."
"Mom, we were only being polite," Jasper says.
That recipe is bad juju," I say. "The last time she made it, Uncle Ed lost his thumb."
"That was just an accident," Mom says. "Agnes didn't realize she baked part of the food processor blade into the fruitcake."
"Accident? I think not," Wendell says.
"You're a jerk." Jasper punches Wendell in the shoulder again. "Can we all lighten up a little? This is supposed to be a celebration."
"Then I need a brandy," Wendell says as he rubs his shoulder. "Gentlemen, follow me."
"Dad, do you want to join us?" Jasper asks on our way to the liquor cabinet.
"No thanks, boys, I want to spend some time with my bride."
We're working on our second round of drinks when Mom screams. We run into the kitchen to find Dad face-first in the mixing bowl.
"I just turned my back for a moment, and, and, there...." Mom points to Dad and starts to wail.
I pull Dad's face out of the mixing bowl and check his vital signs.
"Is he ok?" Jasper asks.
I look up and shake my head. Mom screams.
After the coroner leaves with the body, Wendell asks me, "How's Mom?"