The restaurant was pretentious. Even Dan could see that. Denver was trying too hard not to be a cow town. His father looked annoyed at the over-elaborate service, the constant pouring of water and wine, the constant setting and removal of unused plates when the food was no better than so-so. Dan had chosen to come to the University of Colorado, having heard that it was a party school, and comfortably far from his family in Mount Kisco. He had enjoyed lots of beer, climbing, and skiing, and he had been able, over his four years there, to spend only parts of each summer and two Christmases back East. Now, his parents had come to see him graduate, which he had just done with no distinction whatsoever. They were staying in Denver at its Landmark Hotel.
He knew what was coming and he dreaded it. His mother had left the two of them alone by what must have been a prior arrangement. She was on one of her continually changing diets and had said, “None of that temptation for me,” at the appearance of the dessert cart. His father had chosen apple pie à la mode; Dan, a large chocolate cube covered with chocolate sauce.
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