Life decisions were no longer being scrutinized and grudges were done taking root for now; family dinner had ended. Tonight, however, had been tamer than previous dinners. Tonight we had eaten Shake n’ Bake and everyone adored Shake n’ Bake.
Mother scrubbed dishes alone, lamenting Father’s latest lie about promising to help her. She blamed herself at this point for believing him in the first place. As the shaken, baked, and now currently soggy morsels nested into her fingernails, Mother examined them, hopeful they would serve as a future reminder of Father’s chicanery.
No one wanted to seem prudish or uncomfortable while witnessing depraved copulation on screen, but everyone was careful to remain stoically unenthused. Like sluggish, unsocial moths to light, Sister and I made our pilgrimage to the television. Father joined us with his tumbler of spirits a moment later. He sipped his drink and chuckled to himself as he settled in. Evidently Father felt he was much too cool to do dishes.
Not long had passed when Father began rephrasing talking points from dinner arguments and trying to beguile the two near-unconscious, non-consenting parties of Sister and I into discourse. Wise to Father’s ruse, we ignored him until Mother joined us with her glass of wine. "How about a movie?" she started in as she relished in our family’s ever-fleeting togetherness.
A feature film seemed like a conservative option. This would not be another Scattergories debacle. Certainly that particular family game night had begun all puppydog breath and hummingbird kisses, yet took a turn with Father putting his great fist through the parlor room wall. I remember Father emitted a great bellow and declared his utter contempt in spending his hard-earned coin on university for me, his son who, apparently, doesn’t respect his father enough not to play dirty. Prodding, I recall suggesting that perhaps Father had been better suited to play Outburst. It was a remark that did nothing to remedy Father temper. But, I digress, what could go amiss when watching a feature?
And so, like a slow, portly lad, lured into the family motor carriage by a trail of Cadbury Eggs for yet another inescapably tragic dental visit, I took the bait. "Sure," I replied, "a movie sounds great."
What ensued was a fifteen-minute ordeal. The four of us badgered whomever was wielding the remote control with great gusto and vigor. It seemed not one of us was familiar with this "Netflix-OnDemander," particularly not Mother, who demonstrated her longevity and Neo-Luddite tendencies by making generous use of the word "gizmo."
After much commotion, we were presented with many film choices, yet the only thing we were in accordance on was our absolute abhorrence toward all of these titles. A motion picture about breakdancing grandmothers described as a family romp? I’m quite sorry, but that’s not the kind of rubbish our family romps to, thank you very much. We grimaced, we scrolled, we even discovered a spring break-themed sequel in which those breakdancing grandmothers are up to their old tricks again. However, after much discussion we finally settled on a feature starting Mr. Mathew McConaughey. We’re all McConaughey enthusiasts after all, and we’re all aware anything starring Mr. McConaughey cannot be completely objectionable.
To maximize our McConaughey, we selected the extended version and cozied in. The feature began and we all became thoroughly engrossed in this handsome-boy-ex-American-football-star-turned-sports-handicapper tale.
Now, I hate to nitpick, but at one point a little over an hour in I began to question the director’s choices. Certainly one needed to convey Mr. McConaughey’s plight in the film, however, I absolutely felt as if the uninhibited-no-limit ménage a trios inside the geisha love dojo was a bit over the top.
The tables had turned. We were now the thespians, trying to act naturally as we each desperately tried to cultivate that aloof, detached demeanor associated with watching a sexual scene with one’s family.
As Mr. McConaughey moved across the television screen, heaving currency and leaving no nipple un-moistened, everyone shifted in their seats and discreetly scanned the room. No one wanted to seem prudish or uncomfortable while witnessing depraved copulation on screen, but everyone was careful to remain stoically unenthused.
30 awkward seconds passed.
50 seconds passed. Father coughed suddenly; no doubt caught off guard by such a copious intake of Mr. McConaughey’s bare hindquarters.
Tensions rose as we approached the 90-second mark. We were uncomfortable, but Mr. McConaughey was anything but. The scene progressed. We were closing in on two full minutes of McConaughey-depression lovemaking and, aside from a few sighs and errant glances, we handled it in stride to that point.
It had to end soon; there was no way the director needed to belabor this point any further. Mr. McConaughey ravished one of the women, the two taking on qualities of pneumatic machinery and farm animals all at once. It was assumed this was the end. But, just as we thought we had weathered the worst, the other vixen pulled away from kissing Mr. McConaughey’s chest before gingerly licking her index finger and then, without reservation, sliding it down Mr. McConaughey’s backside.
"Welp," Father said, standing up and conceding defeat, "who wants popcorn?"