She brings out his old tax returns. In 1977 he worked at Feeney's Sirloin Pit of Paramus and reported an adjusted gross income of $1334. The next year, he made $3014 at A&S.
"Do you know he still has his first car?"
"A 1983 Nissan 280ZX with T-tops," he interjects, getting younger the longer he sits here.
"I made him pay rent while he lived here. When he got his first apartment and went to buy furniture, I presented him with all of that rent money." She leans in toward him. So-and-so is selling her Saab, she tells him. "I told her I'd talk to you. Could you get her a deal on a Lincoln?"
"Yes, Ma," he says. She pats his arm and heads to the kitchen for desserts. That would be plural. Mrs. Fields made peanut butter cookies. "But I can't vouch for them," she apologizes. "I used Splenda instead of sugar. They don't look nice." She follows with a jam-filled angel food cake covered in whipped cream and fresh strawberries. "I even got diet raspberry jam," she tells her diabetic guest, who wants to take her home.
She pulls out a recent news clipping. "Did you see this?" She shows him a picture of himself over a fairly lengthy story. "Yes, Ma."
Ma smiles. "I kept it for you. Remember the time you upchucked? Praying to the porcelain god. I said to his dad, 'Jerry! He's sick! We've got to get him to the hospital!' Jerry said, 'Sick? He's not sick - he's drunk!' "
Mark is looking about fifteen years old now.
Mrs. Fields doesn't drive a stick, and her son doesn't buy her cars. "No, I pay. But I get the parents' deal. But I do like to test the next one first."
Has she driven the Ford Flex?
"The one that looks like a hearse?" she laughs. "But that's the look of cars now, isn't it?"
"It's too big for her," he says.
"I like the Zephyr. I was always happy when a car gave me good service. You know, remember when you were in California?" She talks with her hand resting on his arm. "They introduced the Mark. I like that name." Yes, this is Mark's mom. And she will have the last word.