Why the hostess, blonde and 20 years too young, waited until the guests were here to polish the banister with artisan bee pollen is maybe the biggest mystery of the night.
"Miracle stuff from a little apiary near our place by the lake," she says. "He's a wonderfu(more)l guy. He and his partner were bankers who just gave it all up and started a bee farm!"
We're supposed to chuckle. Some of us do.
I came here to try to be friendly, because I know in my soul that I am lonely and, if nothing else, an awkward night out would justify another couple dozen spent alone.
Out of earshot of the guests croning about Trump, I cross the living space and pick up the host's guitar, set in a corner stand.
"Ah," he says, sidling up, his fanfare the clinking of his drink ice. "You've found old Trigger."
It's a worn Martin, islands of separating nitocellulose blotching the spruce top, the fretboard ornate with aquamarine inlays. Probably 70 years old, but no twisting. Great shape.
"My beautiful Trigger," he says again. "I found it at this delightful boutique near- Dennis!" He sees another face and jerks out of the conversation like his parachute went off.
My thigh rises to balance the guitar's body and my fingers remember a G chord. I grip it a little too tightly. It's not mine to drop, after all.
Instead of the gentle, private, controlled hues of GBDGDG, I get a plastic flutter. On the strings near the bridge, six little red pieces of tape, an indicator by some luthier months ago that the guitar's action had been set during service and was ready for sale. They'd never been removed.
I leave through the patio door, too socially poor for this marketplace of bullshit.(less)