It was just a brief flash, but it was clear enough that John had no doubt what he had seen out of the corner of his eye. If twelve years in the corporate world had taught him anything it was how to spot a box of doughnuts on their way to a conference room. He finished the report he was working on and walked to the main conference room. The room was empty. Not finding them in the break room he took the stairs up to the executive conference room.
Bingo! On a table just inside the door sat the box of doughnuts along with a silver coffee dispenser. There were only about three doughnuts left, but that was ok. He only needed two. He grabbed a small styrofoam plate and piled on two doughnuts. He then grabbed a cup and started filling it with coffee.
John’s heart froze. He turned to see about six people sitting at the conference table. He wasn’t sure how he failed to notice them before.
“Are you supposed to be in this meeting?”
“Uh, no. I just stopped in for a doughnut.” John had no idea what to say. Suddenly a pain shot through his hand and he realized that his coffee cup had overflowed and coffee was running all over the table.
“What department do you work in?”
John grabbed a handful of napkins and began trying to soak up the coffee. “Sorry, guys. I… uh… I guess I’d better go get housekeeping.” He tried to smile but everyone looked at him as if he were a stray dog or an alien. He tried to grab his plate of doughnuts but it was soaked in hot coffee.
He went to his desk and called to report a spill in the executive conference room. He then went to his boss and asked for a break. The last thing he wanted was to be hanging around when the execs started looking for the goof that interrupted their meeting to make a mess with the doughnuts and coffee.
Fortunately no one said anything about the incident for the rest of the day and he slipped out about 10 minutes early in an effort to forget the morning. He still wanted a doughnut, though.
On the way home he pulled into the drive-through at the doughnut shop and debated whether he should get one dozen or two. His cell phone startled him just as the line was moving again. It took a moment to dig it out of his pocket. “Hello?”
“John, where are you? We have to be at the school in 15 minutes for Dana’s play.”
“I’m on my way. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” John grimaced as he looked at the two cars still ahead of him. He slowly maneuvered out of the line and into traffic towards home. By now every car tire looked like a doughnut taunting him.
Arriving at the school, John was a tad miffed to find that they were late only compared to his wife’s target of arriving early.
“You mean we’re going to sit here for a half hour until it starts?”
“We had to get here early if we wanted a good seat. We’re lucky we got these seats since you ran so late getting home.”
John didn’t respond, but instead imagined pelting her with a dozen doughnuts – blueberry creme doughnuts covered with white powder.
“What are you laughing at?” she finally asked.
“Nothing,” John replied. “I’m just enjoying our time together.”
The next half hour seemed to take forever. In fact, John was certain that the wait for the play to begin was longer than the simple one-act play itself.
“How about we stop to celebrate Dana’s performance?” John said as they were pulling out of the parking lot. “I know just the place.”
“I think we need to get home, John. I’m kind of tired.”
“You can’t be too tired for doughnuts. Besides, it’s the weekend.” John sped up as if he spoke.
“Doughnuts? Aren’t you on a diet?”
“Diets and celebrations are mutually exclusive, hun. What do you recommend, taking her out for carrot sticks?”
“I thought you were taking me to Claire’s house. You said I could spend the night, remember?” Dana said from the backseat.
“I had forgotten about that. I did say she could stay.”
“So, we’ll drop you off after doughnuts.” John didn’t see the change in plans as needing to affect his doughnut plans.
“I don’t want doughnuts, dad. I told Claire I’d be over as soon as the play was done.”
John debated going to the doughnut shop anyway, but he was now outnumbered. He knew they should have had another kid. He turned the car towards Claire’s and drove in silence.
Upon arriving home John went directly to the pantry. His desire for a doughnut was now at an all time high. Spotting a bag of powdered doughnuts he smiled. They weren’t the sticky-sweet treat that had started his craving, but they would have to do.
Opening the bag his excitement waned. There was one little piece of a doughnut left. John estimated that it was not even a half of one of those small doughnuts. Who puts the bag back in the pantry with only a crumb left?
As he stood there dabbing up the white powder with his finger, he noticed his wife stop in the doorway wearing a sheer gown he hadn’t seen in a while.
“It looks like it’s just the two of us tonight. Anything you been wanting lately?” She smiled as she spoke.
“Uh-huh,” John mumbled looking her over from head to toe.
“Then go for it.” She raised her eyebrows, turned and walked toward their bedroom.
“Wow. What a perfect way to end this crazy day,” John mumbled as he backed the car out of the driveway. “I might even eat a whole dozen.”