So, was this it? Was this, in fact, the most boring night of my life? Was I going to literally die of boredom? It didn't seem out of the realm of possibility. I was so tempted to start weeping and cause a scene. Anything for some momentary entertainment.
But no. No scene, no tantrum, no secretly setting a napkin on fire under the table. I was on my best behavior for my least interesting friend. Sweet Christ, was she boring. Respectable job, seven-figure condo -- neat as a pin, of course -- lame husband with similarly respectable job, golden retriever. I mean, seriously. A golden fucking retriever. You can totally tell what kind of a person someone is by looking at their dog, and golden retriever says, "I shower vigorously after sex out of shame and guilt."
She had asked that I come, I guess to round shit out so there was an even number of pairs. So I came. And spent the last two hours being as boring as possible. Best behavior.
But then I ended up saying something outrageous, of course, because I just can't help myself. And that got the attention of Johnny Blueblood, who had surprisingly rough hands, and after we caught each other's eyes enough times, we found a way to excuse ourselves separately and then meet in the upstairs bathroom. We made out, sloppily, then fastidiously clogged the sink with towels, turned on the faucet, set our napkins -- which had been carefully starched and pressed -- on fire, and held them beneath the smoke detector until it went off. Then we scrambled out the window and ran giggling down the street, but not before ringing the doorbell.
I left my shoes in the toilet. Best dinner party ever.(less)
At age sixteen, dinner parties lost their fun for Darcy. All she could think of was that awful movie, where Jack Nicholson hallucinated his way across the Golden Room, talking to that imaginary waiter as his wife and child dealt with the repurcussions. After the Shining, all Darcy saw(more) in a dinner party was: is it real? Or am I crazy, just like Jack? (less)
I stopped chewing and looked at my host. He continued to slice his ham, as if those words were of the most normal, everyday sort.
(more) The carrots, which had started out mealy and bland, became a thick wad in my mouth. I tried to work up some spit, failed, and reached for the wine. This was only the second glass. Or maybe the third. The clock was on the wall in front of me, above and behind my host's head, but I couldn't remember when we'd started dinner. Perhaps I hadn't noticed the time.
I had been extremely hungry.
"I'm sorry, sir, I thought you said 'bones'."
"Yes, son. Bones. Of course they're very old. Some have become brittle. Wholly untrustworthy, the entire damned machine. But the grandkids..." he shrugged at the whims of children and smiled.
I managed to swallow the gluey vegetables and gulped the remainder of my wine.
"It will have to be repaired. And materials are so hard to find these days." He tutted quietly and set into the potatoes.
"And you have hired me to..." I was afraid to finish. I was short. Very short. My bones would hardly be appropriately sized for the gigantic wheel I'd seen looming behind the manor.
He looked at me, surprised. "Son, it has been told me that you are the finest machinist in these civilized states. If that isn't true, then please show yourself to the door."
It had been so long since I'd eaten better than rats and rotten cafe toss. And it was warm in the dining room. Dry.
I sat straighter. "Absolutely, sir. The best. I rebuilt Mr. Van Bubon's flyer not three years ago."
My host nodded. "That was fine work. Later, I'll show you the dungeon."(less)