One little mistake.
"I can hardly wait to use my Spanish," said Mr. Fuss. "It's been so long."
"Long is right," said Mrs. Fuss. "It's been years since you took that Spanish class. And then, quite frankly, Mr. Fuss, you didn't learn much."
"Didn't learn much?" cried Mr. Fuss. "Why, I spoke Spanish like a native. And don't you worry, Mrs. Fuss; I haven't forgotten a word."
Soon Mr. and Mrs. Fuss stopped for lunch at a cafe.
"I'll order some ham and beans," Mr. Fuss said as a waiter approached. "Jabon y frazadas, por favor."
"Mr. Fuss, are you sure?" Mrs. Fuss pulled a Spanish-English dictionary from her pocketbook.
"Ham and beans," said Mr. Fuss, rubbing his hands together. "I'm positive."
But when the waiter returned, he didn't bring ham or beans. He brought bars of soap and lots of blankets.
"This is not what I ordered," cried
Mr. Fuss. "This is not ham and beans."
Mrs. Fuss was still reading the dictionary. "I'm sorry, Mr. Fuss, but you got exactly what you ordered--soap and blankets. Ham and beans would be jamon and frijoles, not jabon and frazadas."
"One little mistake," said Mr. Fuss.
That afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Fuss went shopping in the marketplace.
"Look at these lovely hats," said Mrs. Fuss.
"You shall have one," said Mr. Fuss. He turned to the woman selling hats. "Just one. Mil uno."
"Mr. Fuss!" cried his wife. "Are you absolutely sure that mil uno means just one?"
"Of course I am sure," said Mr. Fuss.
"Then why is she bringing that tall stack of hats? And why is she pulling more from under the table? And why does she have such a big smile on her face?"
Mrs. Fuss paged through her dictionary. "Mr. Fuss, you have ordered one thousand hats."
"But I'm sure that uno means one," protested Mr. Fuss.
"And mil means a thousand," Mrs. Fuss added as a donkey arrived carrying more hats.
"One little mistake," said Mr. Fuss.
Mr. Fuss said he would explain to the lady in the market. But Mrs. Fuss thought the best way out would be to give the lady money for several hats and leave the country as soon as possible.
"Come, come, Mrs. Fuss," said her husband. "There's no reason to take such drastic measures. Everything will surely look better after a good night's rest."
So they checked into a hotel with a sign on the window that said ENGLISH SPOKEN HERE.
That night in their room, Mrs. Fuss said, "I'm awfully hungry. The soap and blankets we had for lunch weren't especially filling."
"Very funny," said Mr. Fuss. "Don't worry, my dear I'll call room service."
So Mr. Fuss did. "Hello, room service.... Oh, I see." He cupped his hand over the phone mouthpiece. "Room service doesn't speak English."
"Hang up!" shouted Mrs. Fuss.
"Mrs. Fuss, you'd think you hadn't a grain of faith in me." Mr. Fuss spoke into the phone again. "Una docena de los gatitos y un litro de la leche. Gracias."
Mr. Fuss hung up the phone. "Your favorite--a dozen cookies and a liter of milk."
"That does sound delicious, Mr. Fuss, but are you sure...?"
An hour later a knock sounded at the door. The waiter wheeled a cart into the room. On top of the cart was a big box. Inside the box were twelve meowing kittens.
"But I ordered gatitos," cried Mr. Fuss. "Cookies."
Mrs. Fuss already had her dictionary nary open. "Gatitos. Kittens." Then she looked up cookies. "Galletas, Mr. Fuss. Galletas is the Spanish word for cookies."
"One little mistake," said Mr. Fuss. But then he remembered the rest of his order. "It's here," he said, pointing to the bottle of milk behind the box of kittens. "Can you believe it, Mrs. Fuss? I ordered something and actually got it."
"Congratulations, Mr. Fuss."
"Shall I order those cookies now?" he asked.
Mrs. Fuss had a better idea. She gave the milk to the kittens. Then Mr. and Mrs. Fuss went to a restaurant for supper. And this time Mr. Fuss let Mrs. Fuss do all the talking.
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|Title Annotation:||short story|
|Publication:||Jack & Jill|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1998|
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