SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- For the past seven years, Bailey Kortright, 11, has hosted one of the most popular and longstanding imaginary tea parties in Bennington Vale. Her afternoon teas, in their early days, were open to every interested child in the affluent suburb. But as demand for seatings grew, exceeding the capacity of Bailey’s bedroom and her meager make-believe staff, the events became more exclusive. The waiting period for a coveted invitation now stretches to the start of the 2014-2015 school year. After Wednesday’s news, however, the hopes of many on that list were dashed. Bailey shocked the community this morning when she announced the end of the weekly Kortright Chai Chanoyu. “I am really sad to tell you we’re closing the doors on the tea party forever. And that’s because a bunch of obnoxious food snobs with allergies to everything have made it impossible to stay in business.”
Bailey’s first tea party took place shortly after her fourth birthday, according to her mother. At that time, the guest list consisted of Bailey’s stuffed animals and, occasionally, one of her parents or a visiting relation. Her first service was a plastic Disney Princess edition. As the event evolved and gained in popularity, her parents purchased a formal set made of bone china.
“When I started the teas, they were just pretend,” Bailey said. “It was me, Lady Kerfuffle, Piggy the Bear, One-eyed Sally, No-No the Clown and Barnabas Kittens of Kittensport, Maine. Soon, it grew and all my classmates started coming. Then my neighbors. Then girls from grades first through sixth. It got so busy, I had to hire a pretend waiter and chef: Juan Miguel and Pierre Petit Chou Chou.”
Her inspiration to expand the event and involve real guests came from her father.
“He made up the name ‘Kortright Chai Chanoyu.’ I don’t even know what most of that means,” Bailey confessed. “It happened when he got fired from his fancy investment banking job after the government turned communist and decided that hard-working people shouldn’t be allowed to make money. That’s how he explained it. Communists suck.”
Disgruntled and disillusioned with the socialist destruction of America’s free markets, Malcolm Kortright decided that the imaginary tea parties would serve as excellent tutorials for educating his daughter in real-world economics.
“The tea parties were good ways to teach me about business,” Bailey said. “Daddy taught me how money wasn’t real anymore, so operating a make-believe business with imaginary money was pretty much how things work. A long time ago, we had some gold in a fort. And the value of the gold was the value of our dollar. Then it went away. Now the economy’s a car. A Fiat, he said. Like a car, it just moves around all the time and it will never cost the same as when you bought it. Sometimes, it takes a lot of money to keep it running. Sometimes, it doesn’t. But it’s never the same. And its price comes from how much people like it. When all the hipsters moved in, they started buying junky cars like Pintos and Gremlins and Dusters. So the value of my daddy’s BMW went really far down because nobody wanted it. Now my dad trades something called Bitcoins, which also aren’t real.”
But the harsh lesson Bailey would come to learn, which wasn’t part of her father’s instruction, was how the strange demands of overly needy and entitled customers could kill her thriving business.
“I blame the Glenworths,” Bailey said. “And their stupid bratty daughter, Pippa. My parents had them over for wine when they moved in, and I had to host a tea party for Pippa.”
A week later, Pippa had become a permanent fixture at the Kortright Chai Chanoyu, because Malcolm Kortright was trying to influence Mr. Glenworth to hire him. Pippa began bringing her sisters, friends from a different class and even her parents to Bailey’s gathering, forcing kids with reservations off the guest list. Then the real conflicts arose.
“The whole Glenworth family is a bunch of freaks,” Bailey said. “They’re allergic to everything. They wouldn’t eat carbs. They couldn’t have dairy. They wouldn’t eat fruits or vegetables that weren’t organic or grown locally by farmers who didn’t use pesticides.”
The breaking point came when Mr. Glenworth spent twenty minutes grilling Bailey’s imaginary waiter, Juan Miguel, about which teas were gluten-free and harvested in countries with no human rights violations.
“Poor Juan Miguel,” Bailey said tearfully. “He didn’t know the answers, and Mr. Glenworth was losing his patience. Juan Miguel quit on the spot. Then Mrs. Glenworth said she wanted a salad. So I had Pierre Petit Chou Chou make one. When I set the plate in front of her, she was like, ‘What is this?’ I told her it was salad. She wanted to know what was in it, and I said lettuce and beans. Then she got all angry and demanded that I bring one back with kale and something called quinoa. And I blew my top and I yelled, ‘It’s a f**king pretend tea party, the salad is whatever the f**k you want it to be!”
Overhearing his daughter’s alarming use of profanity, Mr. Kortright shuttered the Kortright Chai Chanoyu for good. Bailey said she plans to open a lemonade stand in the near future, once her restriction ends.
Photo courtesy of Aidan (c) 2014
2014. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.