Cassie: Did you remember to hand in the check?
Charlie: Check? What Check?
Cassie: The check for hot lunches.
Charlie: Ohhhh. That check. (Pause) I lost that check.
Cassie: What?! You lost it?! You had it in your hand when you left the house. The plan was that you were going to go straight into the office and hand it in. Remember?!!!!
Charlie: I totally forgot the plan.
Cassie: Charlie! When you got to school and got out of Dad’s car, was the check still in your hand?
Charlie: I can’t really remember.
Cassie: Arrrrgh! When you got out of the car, where was the check?
Charlie: I have no idea. Really. I’m drawing a blank.
Cassie: You’re drawing a blank?
Charlie: Yesss. I. Am.
Cassie: Unbelievable, you smarty-pants, fresh boy. (Pause) When you got out of the car, what did you do? Where did you go first? To the classroom?
Charlie: No. I’m always there waaaay tooo early to go to the classroom. Only the nerds go to the classroom to do extra work before the teacher’s even there. I went to the playground to hang with the posse.
Cassie: With the check in your hand? Is it floating around somewhere on the playground? Did you go to the bathroom? Is it in the bathroom?
Charlie: I’ve told you before I don’t go to the bathroom at school. Ever.
Cassie: So you totally lost track of the piece of paper in your hand on the playground or somewhere.
Charlie: I guess so.
Cassie: What an error! Really! Totally —
Charlie: Life is full of errors.
Cassie: Maybe it’s in Dad’s car.
Charlie: Could be.
Cassie: Which is at the airport in San Francisco….Maybe I can text him. See if he remembers seeing it in the car.
Charlie: I doubt it. Dad doesn’t concern himself with these kinds of montonenous details.
Cassie: Monotonous. Monotonous details.
Charlie: Yea. Whatever. He drops it. He doesn’t go on and on and–
Cassie: It’s just that I’m super annoyed, and, as usual, you’re all casual about another thing THAT YOU HAVE LOST!
Charlie: Easy come. Easy go.
Cassie: I’m really getting frustrated now!
Charlie: I can tell.
Cassie: A check is like money, Charlie.
Charlie: Not really. It was all filled in. No one can spend it, Mom.
Cassie: Since when do you know how checks work?
Charlie: Since I had a conversation with the Lunch Ladies. They gave me a hot lunch anyway even though I explained that I had lost my check. That’s when I discovered that I didn’t have the check. When I was in the lunch line.
Cassie: So all morning it didn’t occur to you that you hadn’t handed in the check for hot lunch.
Charlie: That’s right. That’s what I keep telling you over and over again. (Pause) Anyway, the Lunch Ladies said not to worry. That I could just bring in another check tomorrow.
Cassie: You were actually worried about losing the check?
Charlie: A little. I knew you’d have a cow. I was pretty much right about that. I explained that you were going to lose your mind about the lost check. The Lunch Ladies didn’t like hearing about how you go nuts and they gave me a pat on the head and called me sweetie and served me up some delicious chicken patty sandwich right away.
Cassie: Is that so?
Cassie: Well, there’s no way you are having hot lunch again until we figure out where that check is. You understand me, mister? The Lunch Ladies are all sweet as can be with you. Meanwhile they’re constantly after me for all your hot lunch dining that hasn’t been paid for. I get all these nasty emails. They’re totally annoyed with me because of your hot lunch tab and it’s not even my fault. YOU lose the checks, or forget to hand in the checks, or sneak extra lunches when we’ve agreed that you’re eating the bag lunches that I’ve packed for you —
Charlie: — which are awful.
Cassie: No they are not.
Charlie: Yes. And the Lunch Ladies take pity on me and give me food….for free.
Cassie: I don’t think it’s for free, Charlie. I think they just add it to your overall bill. This is just like in Montclair, when I’d have to go across the street and meet with the Lunch Ladies every month to pay your hot lunch tab. I have no idea who the Lunch Ladies are here in Saratoga. I don’t have a relationship with them. I’m totally unable to adequately manage the situation.
Charlie: They’re really nice. You want me to introduce you?
Cassie: No. I want you to find the check. Until then, no hot lunch. No deals with the Lunch Ladies. Just eat the stupid lunches I pack.
Charlie: I’m telling you, the Lunch Ladies won’t like it.
Cassie: Too bad.
Charlie: I’m NOT going to tell them you said that because it will really hurt your reputation with them.
Cassie: Just find the check, Charlie. Make the effort.
Charlie: First, can you text Dad? It’ll be a complete waste of my time, if I just left the check in the car.
Cassie: (gritting teeth) Yes. I’ll text Dad.
(The check was left in the car…in the parking lot…in San Francisco.)