Dad: Sounds great! Where should we go?
Mom: It’s kids’ night at Amy’s Awesome Grill. Kids eat free with every adult entrée purchase. We’ll save a bundle by going there!
Dad: You’re right. And the kids love going there. It sounds like a winner all around. Amy’s it is. Get your shoes on, boys! We’re going to dinner!
Boys [in unison]: Yay!!
[25 minutes later]
Waitress: Hi, folks! Welcome to Amy’s Awesome Grill! Can I start you off with any drinks or appetizers tonight?
Mom: Ooo, I do love the fried pickles. Honey, what do you think? Should we get some?
Dad: Well, we are saving on the kids’ meals. Even if we order the pickles, we’ll be spending less than if we’d gone anywhere else. Okay, what the heck. [To waitress] We’ll have an order of fried pickles to start. And a Diet Coke for me.
Mom: Make that two Diet Cokes. And two Sprites for the boys.
Waitress: You got it!
Dad [looking at menu]: Mmm, everything looks so yummy. Do you know what you’re going to get tonight, dear?
Mom: The chicken bacon ranch mozzarella mushroom melt, of course!
Dad: Of course.
Mom: What about you?
Dad: Well, I’ve always wanted to try the behemoth burger. It’s got five all-beef patties and Amy’s special sauce. It’s the priciest item on the menu. But…
Mom: It’s kids’ night! The kids are eating for free. I think we can afford to buy the behemoth burger!
Dad: You took the words right out of my mouth. The behemoth burger it is.
Waitress [setting food on table]: Two Diet Cokes, two junior Sprites, and an order of fried pickles.
[Dad emits excited gurgling noise.]
Waitress: Are you ready to order your entrées?
Dad: Indeed. I’m going to try the behemoth burger, medium rare.
Waitress: Excellent choice! Do you want to add the bleu cheese pellets and Amy’s Special Fried Onion Sawdust for just $2.50?
Dad: Aren’t those both included? They’re in the picture here…
Waitress: They are in the picture, but they’re not actually included with the burger. They’re sold separately. See, it says so right here.
[Waitress points to the menu.]
Dad: Oh, I see. Well, yeah, I kind of wanted those. Yup, I guess you better add them.
Waitress: Great choice! And for you, ma’am?
Mom: I’ll have the chicken bacon ranch mozzarella mushroom melt with French fries.
Waitress: Perfect. Did you want a side of Amy’s special pepper jack Alfredo dipping sauce for just a buck?
Mom: Why, that sounds delightful! Sure!
Waitress: Super! And how about for the boys?
Mom: The boys will each have the pepperoni pizza short stack.
Waitress: Okay, just so you know, only the cheese pizza short stack is eligible for kids’ night. If you want to add pepperoni, it’ll be $1 per short stack.
Mom: Oh, wow.
Boys [in unison]: Pepperoni, pepperoni, pepperoni, pepperoni!!!
Mom: Well, they definitely want the pepperoni. Go ahead and add it. That’ll be fine.
Waitress: Any dinner salads for anyone tonight?
Mom [to Dad]: Should we split one?
Dad: Splitting one couldn’t hurt. It’s kids’ night, after all.
Mom [to waitress]: We’ll have just one dinner salad with Amy’s House dressing.
Waitress: Excellent! It’ll all be out in just a few minutes!
[35 minutes later]
Dad: This burger is soooooo good!
Mom: The chicken bacon ranch mozzarella mushroom melt has never been better! This pepper jack Alfredo dipping sauce is amazing!
[A young man with balloons aplenty approaches the table.]
Balloon Man: Hi, folks! Is everyone enjoying their meal tonight?
[Mom & Dad nod, food dripping from their lips.]
Balloon Man: Wonderful! Well, I just wanted to stop by and let you know, Amy’s has invited me to be here as a part of kids’ night. I’m making balloon animals, free of charge, for anyone who wants one. They’re absolutely free, and I can make just about any animal you can imagine. Yes, you heard me correctly, and just in case you didn’t, I’ll say it one more time—the balloon animals are absolutely free! I don’t charge a dime! I do this all out of the kindness of my heart!
[Balloon Man pats his heart, which coincidentally draws attention to the large note pinned to his chest. In bold letters, it reads: “Tips Are Appreciated!!!”]
Balloon Man: So, would you like to let your kids have a free balloon animal tonight?
Boys [in unison]: Balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon, balloon!!!
Dad: Ok, sure. I guess so.
Balloon Man [to Boy 1]: And what would you like, young man?
Boy 1: An elephant!
Balloon Man [to Boy 2]: And you?
Boy 2: An elephant!
Balloon Man: Two elephants. One of the trickier balloon animals to make, but I think I can manage! I do this for fun, after all! Just give me 90 seconds…
[90 seconds later]
Balloon Man: Voila!
Dad: Wow! That’s pretty amazing! They really look like elephants!
Balloon Man: Why, thank you! I’m just glad I could bring your kids so much joy tonight! Why, if I weren’t a poor college student, I’d pay a few bucks just to see the smiles these balloon animals have brought to their adorable little faces! [Sigh.] Oh well. You guys enjoy the rest of your evening!
[Balloon Man feigns to leave, walking backwards very, very slowly. He does not break eye contact with Mom and Dad, a pleading smile glued permanently to his face.]
Dad [fidgeting in his pockets and withdrawing a small handful of cash]: Um, wait just a second. Here you go. Thanks again for all your trouble!
[Dad hands Balloon Man three dollars.]
Balloon Man [feigning surprise]: Oh, wow! Thank you very much! That’s so kind of you!
Dad: No, no, we appreciate it. Thank you!
Mom [to Balloon Man]: Thanks!
[Balloon Man winks, pockets the money, and walks away.]
[15 minutes later]
Waitress: How was everything?
Dad: Absolutely fantastic!
Waitress: I’m so glad to hear that! Can I interest anyone in dessert?
Mom: Oh boy, I think we’re too full.
Dad [to Mom]: Not so fast. Maybe we should get something to go. What do you think?
Mom: Really? Isn’t that a bit indulgent?
Dad: Well, like you said, it’s kids’ night. We’re saving more than enough on the kids’ meals to make up for dessert.
Mom: I can’t argue with that.
Dad [turning back to the waitress]: You guys still have the Marble Cake Marble Run?
Waitress: We do. Did you want caramel or chocolate drizzle?
Dad: How about both?
Waitress: Not a problem. It’ll cost just 50 cents extra.
Dad: That’s fine. And we’ll get that to go.
Waitress: Great! I’ll be right back!
Mom: OK, boys, we’ll be leaving in just a couple of minutes. If you wanted to visit the game room, you better do it now.
Boy 1 [hopefully]: Can we have some quarters, Mom?
Boy 2: Quarters, Mom!
Mom: I don’t think so.
Boy 1: But, Mom, you never let us play the games!
Boy 2: Never!
Dad: Do you have a couple of quarters in your purse, honey? Maybe we should let them play this time. It’s kids’ night.
Mom: Well, let me check.
[Mom digs in her purse and finds four quarters.]
Mom: Alright, we’ll let you play tonight. You can each have two quarters, but that’s it. There’s no more after that.
[The boys excitedly take the coins.]
Boys [in unison]: Thanks, Mom!
[The boys scurry off to the game room. About five minutes pass.]
Waitress: Here’s your dessert!
[The waitress sets a heavy, large box on the table.]
Waitress: And here’s your check. I’ll get it from you whenever you’re ready!
[Dad takes the bill from the waitress. He eyes the total.]
Dad: Holy crapanoli, how did that happen?!? We’ve spent twice as much as we normally spend when we go to dinner, even when it’s not kids’ night!
[Mom peers quizzically over Dad’s shoulder.]
Mom: Wow! Did they forget to discount the kids’ meals or something?
Dad: No, they took those off. See? [Pointing at the bill.] Right here.
Mom: Hmm. Well, maybe their prices have gone up since the last time we were here!
Dad: They must have! What else could explain it? I tell you, I’m glad we didn’t come here when it wasn’t kids’ night! From now on, we’re only going out to eat when the kids can eat for free!
Mom: You can say that again!
Dad: From now on, we’re only going out to eat when the kids can eat for free!
Mom: Oh you!
[Mom & Dad laugh in unison.]