Contrary to popular belief, a party is more than a gang of people getting smashed in the same room at the same time.
Done properly, it is a brilliant interruption of the dreary schedule of life, a boisterous celebration of all that is right and wrong with humanity, an organized uprising against priggishness and moral restraint.
There was a time when you couldn’t walk down a residential street without hearing the glorious cacophony of a cocktail party reaching full roar. Sadly, that time is past and grown-up society has largely abandoned this private rebellion, preferring to march off to the mercenary barracks that are bars and nightclubs, largely leaving the underaged to carry the banner.
Which is a shame. While bars and clubs certainly have their place, there is nothing quite like the semi-exclusive yet open-ended bash to add color to a drinking life. Why has the party gone the way of the seltzer bottle? Quite frankly, we got lazy. Parties generally require actual effort, and who wants to exert themselves in this age of modern convenience? You do. And here’s why:
The Question That Never Need Be Asked
Instead you should wonder: “Why am I not throwing a party? Am I imprisoned? Living in an alley? Allergic to fun? Do I loathe drinking in the company of my closest friends?”
Quite frankly, you have no excuse at all. In fact, the only question that you should be asking yourself is: What manner of wingding should I throw?
An Array of Adventures
The Impromptu After Hours Bash (The Rendezvous)
This is the easiest party to throw, simply because it requires no more preparation than having ready access to alcohol. Executed after the bars have ushered us on our jolly way, it is precipitated with a simple (and usually slurred) statement of fact: “I have some booze at my place.” Expect overnight guests.
The Friendly Get-Together (The Victorian)
A small, intimate, friends-only gathering, this sort of party was extremely popular in the 1950s. They’re perfect for building ever-stronger bonds with your established set of cronies and are very unlikely to result in destruction of furniture. They lack, however, that certain stimulation strangers add to the mix. These often start early, may involve food of some sort, and generally shift to the bars later in the evening.
The Classic Wingding (The Greek)
This is the most stereotypical of parties, involving friends and whoever they deign to bring with them. The host will recognize about half the faces in the crowd, which is about perfect: Enough strangers to spice the mix, enough allies to put down a rebellion.
The Full-Bore Blowout (The Viking)
This is a wide-open come-one, come-all affair, and the host will be lucky if he can recognize a quarter of the crowd. It is akin to opening all the cages at the zoo at feeding time and letting the beasts interact as they will. While this is the crown jewel in any party-meister’s crown, the potential for brawling, structural damage and an appearance by law enforcement officials is very high. There is often a “keg charge” and they are usually, but not always, held in warehouses or out of doors.
What sort should you throw? Depends on how big a risk you’re willing to take. Generally speaking, the larger the event, the greater the joy. But realize that joy is a known associate of destruction, and they may show up on your doorstep arm in arm.
Announcing Your Intentions
Illogical as it may seem, enticing drunks to come to your home to drink free hooch can be excruciatingly difficult. Oh, your closest friends will show up, but if you wanted to party with just those mugs you’d be sniffing for a clean T-shirt so you can go join them for pitchers down at the Sip & Nip or whatever godforsaken place you call Happy Hour. No, you’ll want to expand the tribe a little for this one, and to ensure a good turnout use these tricks:
Get word of mouth started early. At least two weeks before the date. Don’t forget to politely remind them again the day of the party. Once the party starts, make sure you leave them goading and increasingly bitter messages every half hour.
Pass out flyers. Flyers are effective because they’re a physical reminder of your event and afford your guests the opportunity to feel somewhat superior when they throw them away. If your party is BYOB, try not to make that the main selling point of your invitation. You want them to know, but you don’t want them to brood on it. It’s like a used car dealer kicking off his pitch with, “You know what the best thing about this sweet Pacer is? The gas tank is empty! Bone dry!” A graphic of a scantily-clad woman is always a plus, as it might convince potential guests there’ll be at least one scantily-clad woman on hand. A map to your place is helpful, except when it resembles an early work by Bobo the Painting Chimp entitled: Crazy Three-Tailed Snake Flung through a Stained Glass Window. And don’t be shy about letting them know your studio apartment, pony keg and one-and-a-half bottles of Beam equate THE PARTY TO END ALL PARTIES. As long as they BYOB.
Overbook. Don’t worry about inviting too many people. This is like a high school football team worrying about scoring too many points and embarrassing the ‘72 Dolphins.
Insinuate That Celebrities Will Be in Attendance. Don’t actually bother inviting any because they won’t come. Quite frankly, they have much better parties to go to. But your guests might not know that. Once your party starts, the celebs should always be on their way or have just stepped out.
Tell everyone that everyone else is coming. Doesn’t have to be true. But if it does come true, it wasn’t a lie at all, now was it?
Invite Thy Neighbors
Always invite your neighbors to the party, even if you hate the sight of each other. Especially if you hate the sight of each other. And I don’t just mean sliding a flyer under their door and scuttling away, I’m talking about inviting them face to face. Beg them. Act as if it will be an utter disaster without them. Reason being, a snubbed neighbor is about ten times more likely to complain about noise and/or call the cops than one with an invite.
Hanging a Ringer on It
As I said earlier, you don’t actually need a reason to throw a party. But some people—strange as this may seem to you and me—like to have an excuse to get hammered. Avoid celebrating common holidays, as you’ll have to compete with other parties. It’s much more fun to go drink their liquor than brooding in a room with the only two friends you were able guilt-trip into going down with your rapidly sinking HMS Titanic Bummer.
Fortunately for you, something historical has happened on every day of the year and it just so happens that every single one of them is an excellent reason to get out-of-your-gourd drunk. Liechtenstein National Day (Aug. 15th), The Anniversary of Jimmy Carter’s Encounter with a UFO (June 10th) and the Feast of Dead Children (Oct. 30th) are just a few of many shining examples.
Fighting the Urge to Theme Your Party
While creating a historical excuse for your party may serve to motivate the insufficiently motivated, attaching a theme to it will most likely have the opposite effect. It’s like deciding to start sporting a beret: It will make you more memorable, yes, but it will also make you seem affected if not ridiculous. It’s a fact that a lot of grown-ups don’t feel as if they need to wear a costume in order to get hammered. If you simply must wear that beret, however, skip the hoary toga, hoes-and-pimps and white trash motifs. Instead, ask your guests to suit up along these lines:
My Favorite Serial Killer
The Person I Hate the Most
No, You’re Fucking Joey Bishop and I’m Frank Sinatra Rat Pack Summit
This Tinfoil Hat Keeps the Aliens from Hearing the Voices in My Head
A Word about Decorations
Balloons, crepe paper and the rest were created to amuse and entertain children. Adults don’t need them. We have booze.
It’s A Party, Not a Penitentiary
Along with inviting a large group of people into your home comes the natural proclivity to lay down some rules. Resist this urge with all your might. Forcing your guests to use coasters will make tomorrow’s clean-up slightly easier, but it may also trigger an Uptight Principal/Juvenile Delinquent vibe. A party is about extending freedoms, not curtailing them. Do not enforce any rules that are not enforced in a bar. Do not guilt your friends off a perfectly good bar stool so you may lord over them.
True Story: A party I recently attended illustrates this point perfectly: Within thirty seconds of arriving I was told to remove my shoes, handed a coaster and informed I would have to smoke outside. It was a helluva party. You should have been there. Because about fifteen minutes later the host was sitting by himself and probably would have enjoyed some company.
A Word about Smoking and Smokers
You don’t have to smoke to be a good host. It’s true. You do, however, have to extend the privilege to your guests. And when I say “extend” I don’t mean letting them brood on a frozen balcony with cigarettes clenched between chattering teeth. You want smokers at your party and you want them to be comfortable. Why? Because smokers are the best partyers.
Think about it—anyone who smokes in this day and age of acute awareness of the many and sundry risks involved obviously has a death wish. They’re risk takers. So are stuntmen, soldiers of fortune, test pilots and spies. And those are precisely the sort of people you want to party down with.
So—you’re getting the word out, you’ve put a name to it, and you’ve taken an oath not to lord over your guests. Now all you need are the supplies to withstand the coming siege.
Your Alcoholic Arsenal
And a siege is exactly what it is. Your party is a fortress lying directly in the path of an approaching horde of barbarians, and you have to gather as much stock as possible to withstand the assault. Except in this case, your fortress will be built of booze rather than bricks.
Some party guides offer formulas to determine exactly how much and what type of alcohol you should buy. It usually goes something like this: (Number of Expected Guests) X (Estimated Drinking Capacity) — (BYOB Factor) + 20% (Contingency Reserve) = (How Much Alcohol You’ll Need).
Then there are further adjustments to be factored in: Who is on a bender, who is dieting, who hates beer, who loves wine, who only drinks scotch and so forth.
Which is all very fine and dandy if you’ve an advanced degree in mathematics and possess the psychic gift of knowing exactly who’s going to show up and how thirsty they’ll be. The fact of the matter is if your party is a hit, you will run out of alcohol; if it tanks you’ll have enough booze on hand to stay drunk and bitterly curse your so-called friends for a week.
Though I’m certain you know your gang’s tastes better than I do, a good rule of thumb is to buy as much as you can afford according the three-tier ratio system below:
The A Team
(All liquor bottles are 1.75 liters)
3 bottles of vodka
2 bottles of whiskey
1 bottle of gin
1 bottle of light rum
2 cases of cheap beer
1 box of red wine
This basic combo will satisfy a small group of guests unhindered of snooty palates. Eschew expensive vodka, most people can’t tell the difference between McCormick’s and Ketel One in a cocktail and few drink it straight. Same goes for rum. Whiskey, often taken neat or on the rocks, is a different matter. You are not required to provide good beer. It is traditional, in fact, to allow your guests to trump your crap beer with better brew. Cheap beers such as PBR and Hamm’s have, by a bizarre and fortunate turn of circumstances, more cachet than their more expensive cousins Budweiser and Miller. As for the wine, most party-goers will be happy to have any at all. While boxed wines were once ridiculed, they are now fairly accepted, not to mention insanely cheap.
The B Team
Box of white wine
Case of imported or micro beer
Various 40s of malt liquor
This support team will dramatically expand your cocktail and shot base. The tequila will be usually taken straight, so try not to buy below Jose Cuervo. The Jager will go fast, so you might want to think about a second bottle. Bottom shelf scotch will most likely last longer than you will; the good stuff will take a powder early. Aim low on the dark rum. Display the cheap 40s prominently and keep the micro/import beer out of plain sight.
Assorted bottles of wine
Kahlua or equivalent
Baileys or equivalent
Absinthe and champagne will add a bold signature to your soiree—you can order the former online. Kahlua and Baileys can be safely replaced with lower cost brands as they’ll be primarily used as mixers anyway. Tuaca is quickly becoming the de rigueur alternative to Jager and Gran Ma is nearly essential if you expect to have a lot of service industry types on hand. If some of your expected guests like wine (and whining if you don’t have any) put out four bottles in $20 range. If they really like wine, you can expect them to bring their own bottles to bandy about.
A Word about Switching Liquors
“Good food and good wine are not matters of money but of manner,” said the astute Mr. Brillat-Savarin and he was dead right, for reasons he would most likely deny if he were alive. Just because your pocketbook can’t support the presence of expensive liquors does not mean you cannot appear to have superior booze on hand. While this is entirely illegal in bars, pouring cheap liquor into expensive bottles is entirely acceptable when you’re giving it away. It is also quite illuminating. Human beings put much more stock in what they can see than what they can taste. A study conducted in the 1970s conclusively proved that the vast majority of drinkers cannot tell the difference between good hooch and bad, especially when a label is leading them astray. And because the drink is free, it will automatically taste better.
This maneuver will not only save you a great deal of money, it’ll prevent the heartbreak of watching an acquaintance you can barely tolerate sink six bucks of good scotch right in front of you.
Of course, there are limits to your subterfuge: Substituting Old Sergeant for Jim Beam is safe, switching with Johnny Walker Red is risky, trying to pass Sarge as The Glenlivit is bound to fail. If someone does mention the liquor tastes off, deny everything. Tell them you may have let the bottles languish in the beastly heat of your trunk too long. Tell them your cousin Ian sent the bottle directly from the town where it’s distilled, and it’s merely the extra freshness that’s disturbing their palate. Tell them anything but the truth.
Another sound strategy is to buy a set of cut glass decanters (readily and cheaply available in thrift stores). There’s nothing like a little faux crystal to transform rotgut into top of the line.
If you do find it in your little black heart to serve expensive liquor, keep the bottles separate from their more pedestrian cousins. Perhaps even tastefully display them atop a silver tray in a dim corner of the kitchen. This provides a velvet-rope effect, lending an aura of exclusiveness that will cause the less confident—usually strangers—to think twice before helping themselves. Thus leaving more for you.
Your Pal the Keg
The cheapest way to deliver beer into the bellies of your guests is your old college buddy, the keg. Since kegs are the very embodiment of proletariat power-drinking, no one will expect a stout or ale, which is good because those can go for $150 a pop. Furthermore, why pay $80 for a keg of Bud when you can get the much hipper PBR for nearly half that? Go Pabst and you’re dishing out 12 oz. beers for a little more than a quarter apiece.
The Super Bowl
Much like those who insult our mothers, every party needs a good, strong punch. They are very cheap to make, will take a great deal of pressure off your liquor bottles, the ladies love them and, since they are pre-made, you get to spend more time drinking then bartending. Consider it the keg’s effeminate but useful cousin. And don’t fret if you haven’t a proper punch bowl: Two heavy duty garbage bags doubled into a cardboard box serves nicely. Use white bags for an added touch of class.
Too Much Is Never Enough
Never fear overstocking. The thing about liquor is it doesn’t go bad. And don’t worry about an unfinished keg. Like a wounded gazelle, they have a propensity of attracting vultures, especially if you give them a ring the following afternoon.
Mixers and Garnishes
The basic mixers are cola, lemon-lime soda, tonic water, soda water, orange juice, cranberry juice, tomato juice, ginger ale and grapefruit juice. Add triple sec, bitters and sour if you plan on getting fancy with your mixology. You’ll want limes, lemons and green olives on hand; throw in maraschino cherries and cocktail onions if you are so inclined. Don’t forget sugar cubes if you’re serving absinthe.
Final Words to the Wise
You can never have enough ice. Plastic cups will save you some headaches in the morning and are essential if you’ve a keg, but your closest friends deserve glassware. Picnic coolers are perfect for chilling cans and bottles of beer and will free up valuable fridge space for the mixers. Finally, always remember to ice down the keg at least two hours before the party starts.
Securing the Castle
Weather and circumstances permitting, it’s wise to unleash your party on your backyard. Plants heal themselves, coffee tables do not. If you must have it indoors and it won’t just be your friends showing up, take a long look around your domicile and think: “What don’t I want smashed or stolen?” Gather those items and move them to a secure location, such as your bedroom closet. Remove from the medicine cabinet whatever pharmaceuticals you’d prefer to keep. A large garbage can will save you many trips to the dumpster. Keep a mop at hand. Cover the mixing area with towels and wrap them around the base of the keg. And, for the love of all that is holy, unplug the goddamn TV and hide the remote.
Duties of the Host
The secret of appearing a good host is making your task seem effortless. Just as a bad bartender will stink up the best of bars, a high-strung host will suck the life out of the most thriving of parties. You must remain relaxed, and the best way to relax, of course, is to drink. How much? Well, you know the old saying, pal: he who drinks the most, wins. And since you have the home field advantage, you’ve got to be considered a strong front-runner.
This advice, as you might imagine, flies in the face of every serious party guide that was ever put to print. They will inform you right off the bat that you simply mustn’t get “tipsy” while hosting a party. Which is probably why so few people throw them anymore. It’s akin to inviting your friends to the Indy 500 so they can speed around in your hand-built race car while you grit your teeth in the bleachers.
The host’s foremost duty is to entertain his guests and there are few things more entertaining than an extravagantly drunk person attempting to host a party. Your inebriated state will put your guests at ease and encourage them to get as drunk as you are, which is the whole point of throwing the damned thing. You are the captain of the ship, yes, but you should come off as a laid-back, slightly-stoned Jimmy-Buffet style of captain, not the wild-eyed, harpoon-waving Ahab type.
So long as you did your prep work and don’t elect yourself bartender (a position you should hastily abandon the moment the fourth guest walks through the door) you really don’t have much more to do than drink and mingle. Think of your party as one of those chimp-piloted rockets they used to send up into space. They were huge, bad-ass rocket ships doing important scientific stuff and did it matter if a wild-eyed monkey was flying the fucking thing? Of course not. If anything it made those missions even cooler.
Why? Because most people like monkeys even better than astronauts, and—trust me—everybody likes monkeys better than prison wardens. There are few things more disconcerting to a drunken guest than a sober, judging host. It puts pressure on their delicate party groove. You should be right in the thick of it, yes, but as a dancing monkey, not a doughty master. Get as crazy as you like because one of the greatest things about being the host is you can’t get thrown out of your own party. Not normally, anyways.
(Note: It’s true that some of those space monkeys didn’t return to Earth in what you’d call pristine condition. Some didn’t make it back at all. But, hey, you knew what you were signing up for when you put THE PARTY TO END ALL PARTIES on that boastful little flyer, didn’t you?)
The Art of the Mingle
Once the party is sufficiently populated, you’ll want to make sure it stays that way. To reduce attrition, spread rumors that any competing parties have a.) been raided by the police, b.) surrendered to your might and the hostess is presently en route with her liquor, and c.) been overrun by gun-toting teenagers.
You should ensure your bash doesn’t balkanize into self-interested factions. Not only are introductions in order, you should also give the fresh acquaintances a little traction to get their friendship rolling merrily along. Nothing you say need be true. Just make sure to dash off before either can accuse you of being a liar. It’s much more entertaining to let them work it out for themselves. For example:
Host: “Mike, this is Heather, yes, that Heather, the one with all the lovely cats, for the life of me I’ll never know how she keeps track all their clever names! Heather, this is Mike, and I want to assure you that he does not belong to an animal sacrifice cult! Not anymore—you swore you’d knock that kooky stuff off, Mike, so keep those pamphlets to yourself, you ol’ devil-worshiping devil, you. Toot-a-loo!”
Now, those two have something to talk about.
Don’t Be That Host
The Paranoid Generalissimo is acutely aware of the joy/destruction parallel and will smother both indiscriminately with an ever-expanding set of rules. A single yawn will send the Smarmy Mouse into fits of panic—he’s so terrified his soiree will be deemed a failure he won’t give it the breathing room it needs to become a success. The Kindergarten Teacher just wants every one to have some fun, even if that means forcing it down your throat. The Accursed Curator will treat his guests as mongoloid children amok in his antique shop of delicate knick-knacks and priceless furniture. The Guy Passed Out in the Bedroom succumbs to nervousness or natural exuberance and chooses to commit premature social suicide, usually before telling anyone where he put the corkscrew. The Snake in the Grass will lurk as a guest until you make an innocent remark about the how his collection of self-help books leads you to believe he is a textbook case of being “a whole lotta fucked in the head” and quite possibly “a raging imbecile.”
Party Games for People Who Don’t Like Party Games
If the older party manuals are to believed, there was a time when elegantly-dressed and fully-grown individuals gathered in parlors and entertained themselves with such hilarious fare as Musical Chairs, Pass the Parcel (with Forfeits!), Honey, If you Love Me Smile, Ducky Ducky and Berating the Butler.
These days, however, most people are too “cool” to engage in anything even smacking of forced fun. (Quite frankly, most people back then were probably too cool too—can you imagine Hemingway and Mencken prancing around a circle of chairs to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel?)
Fortunately, you can circumvent this entrenched cynicism by playing games the players don’t realize their actually playing. Here’s a trio that will make the party that much more exciting, if only to you:
The Ticking Slime Bomb
This is an update of the venerable Musical Chairs. When someone gets up from a crowded sofa to get a drink or use the bathroom, inform the remaining guests: “Watch out for him. The last three times we drank together he vomited in my lap. One minute he’s perfectly fine, the next you’re wearing a bile raincoat. I’ve never seen him make it past three drinks without spewing. And he’s already had two!”
The point of the game is to see how many people you can get to flinch when he leans toward them to talk. You can declare yourself victorious when there is not a single person within projectile-vomit range.
Why Won’t You Sleep With Me, Please?
In the old parlor game Who Am I? players were given a limited number of questions to guess the identity of a person pretending to be a celebrity or historical figure. In this exciting variation you get twenty questions to discover why an attractive stranger will not sleep with you (you are not allowed to ask the question directly). Here are some questions to get you started:
“Would you murder your boyfriend if he got plastic surgery and ended up looking just like me?”
“What if my personality was transported into his body?”
“If you and I were stranded on a tropical island, why would some boring stuff happen but other, more interesting stuff not happen? Also, we’re naked?”
“Don’t you just love Melissa Etheridge?”
“Are those shoes comfortable?”
If you win, well, at least then you’ll know exactly why.
Your Favorite Band Really, Really Sucks
This impromptu romp is kicked off by inquiring of a guest: “Who are you listening to these days?” Then, no matter what band he or she says, you have until they finish their drink to make them realize just how badly their favorite band sucks. You win if they spend the rest of the party glaring murderously at you from across the room.
Barbarians and Other Honored Guests
Every party is different and so are the guests (unless you’re really jammed tight in a social rut), so it’s difficult to tell you what to expect out of the brutes.
Yes, brutes. You, like everyone else, will tend to invite your own kind to your party and you are your own worst enemy. Not you personally, but those who think and behave like you. You the Host will think you a presumptuous swine for ignoring the velvet-rope effect and swilling his good scotch, while You the Guest will reckon you’re an uptight fascist for trying to horde your fancy-shmancy hooch that doesn’t even taste like Johnny Walker anyway. It’s an excellent example of the dualistic nature of humans in general and drunks in particular.
So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when you find your guests treating you with exactly two types of demeanor: Due Respect and Thinly-Veiled Insolence. And they’re sneaky about it—while you’re relatively sober they’ll act as if you’re an aged millionaire uncle who has yet to write his will. Later, however — about the time you start to realize that you’re doing all the work so they can drink all of your booze (doesn’t seem entirely fair, does it?) — you’ll begin to suspect their deference merely a ruse designed to take advantage of your generous nature.
Later still, when you’re neck-deep in your cups, your keen psychic antenna will fully sprout and you’ll begin to detect thinly-veiled insolence and secret meanings in nearly everything they say or do. Oh, they may appear perfectly civil to the sober, but that’s just because they lack your keen psychic antenna. Case in point:
Host: “Who’re you? ‘Joying yerself?”
Guest: “It’s pretty cool, I—”
Host: “Pretty cool? W’as tha sposed to mean? Is that like sayin’ I’m pretty stupid?”
Guest: “Not at all! Look, my name is Mark, I—”
Host: “Mark! Whoa! Well, scuse me, yer highness! Suppose you’re going to try to tell me you’re related to Marcus Aree—Areelee—that Greek asshole.”
Guest: “You mean Marcus Aurelius? The Roman Emperor? Why, he’s been dead for over a thou—”
Host: “Don’t throw yer family tragedies in my face! I dint kill the sumbitch!”
See what I mean?
Pulling the Plug
When do you boot them? Simple. When there is barely enough booze for you and a great unlikelihood that any more is going to show up. The last thing you want to wake up to is a shattered home and not a drop to drink. This will make you hate yourself and you are much too nice a person to be hated.
As long as the booze supply is holding, however, you have the duty to let the party die of its own volition. And it will. Sometimes you’ll snap to in a suddnely empty and silent room. Other times sprawled bodies will be scattered about as if the last squad of guests was felled by a grenade. Don’t get uptight about sleepovers, even if they’re strangers. They’re in no condition to do anything worse than vomit on your sofa.
The Life and Death of a Party
The first to show are a pair your closest friends. You greet them warmly and offer to make them drinks. They comment that they’re a little early and you’ll laugh and say their timing is perfect. They notice you keep glancing at the door and your thighs are tensed to spring out of your chair, but don’t say anything.
Guest #1: So, how many people are you expecting?
Host: Everyone’s coming!
Guest #2: Say, this Johnny Walker tastes a bit off.
Host: Does it? Must not travel well. Carried that bottle in my backpack across Europe and back. Always planned to drink it with my best friends at the right moment.
Guest #1: How many did you say were coming?
Host: Oh, it doesn’t matter, does it? We three could have a ball by ourselves!
This is when your friends will start glancing at the door.
More friends show up, with a few strangers in tow. This is when you lay your foundation, a critical period in any party. Nothing keeps a crowd like a crowd and without these people to hook new arrivals your blowout will very quickly devolve into a bus station with people departing at the same rate as they arrive. Your infant soiree is at its most fragile stage and must be preserved and protected.
Host: Going out for some air, are we?
Guest #1: Actually, we have to—
Host: If you happen to see a black limo pull up, run inside and let me know, won’t you? I want to announce him.
Guest #1: Actually, we . . . announce who?
Host: He swore me to secrecy. But let’s just say you may come to consider tonight the most exciting of your life.
Guest #2: Still, we promised to make an appearance at—
Host: Helen’s party? Just spoke with her on the phone. Apparently it was a wash. Teenagers with gats chased all her guests away. She’s on her way over. Saves you the drive, eh?
Providing you’ve solidified your foundation, this is when the real fun starts. The place is filling up nicely with guests and their pleasant chatter, and exciting new liquors begin to arrive. You decide it’s high time to join the gang in the kitchen for a couple community-building shots.
Guest #1: So what’s this party for, anyway?
Host: Rasputin’s Death Day. Here’s to that Mad Monk!
Guest #2: Didn’t they poison him with arsenic-laced wine?
Guest #3: Same vintage as this box wine, judging by—
Host: They shot him too. Many times. Many many times.
Guest #3: Not such filthy wine, really. Just takes a little getting used to.
You’re well lit now, by God. The drinks you had earlier to calm your worries are joined by congratulatory shots and samplings from the BYOB stocks. Your party has reached critical mass and everyone on hand must surely recognize your soiree as an unqualified success. Why, just look at the happy little monkeys cavorting about. Listen to them chatter their funny monkey-talk. And to think they’d all be stuck at Helen’s ghastly affair if it wasn’t for you!
Host: Wassap, guys? Who’s makin’ the drinks?
Guest #1: Hey! Great party!
Host: Goddamn right, it’s a great party! Just look at all these goddamn happy monkeys. Who’s makin’ that drink?
Guest #2: Here you go. Johnny Walker and soda, right?
Host: Pffffhhhhht! What the fuck is this shit? If that’s Johnny, then I’m a monkey’s uncle!
Guest #1: I guess that makes you our uncle.
Host: W’as that supposed to mean, cocksucker?
Early-risers are starting to make their apologetic exits, but so what? Best fucking party of the year! Everyone here knows that! Every single one of—say, just who are all these cocksuckers, anyway? You don’t recognize half of them. And just look at them, sucking merrily away at the teat of your excellent hospitality, blissfully ignorant of who you are.
Host: ‘Joyin’ ma whiskey?
Guest: Yes, thank you.
Host: Good. Glad yer ‘joying ma whiskey. Wass yer name?
Guest: Matt. I’m a friend of—
Host: Yeah, well let me tell ya sumptin, Mike—yer faverit band sucks!
You blink and suddenly everyone’s gone but the passed out and slightly ambulatory. You lean heavily against the kitchen counter and after making faces at your watch for a moment you discover it’s 5am.
Host: Holy shit. Gotta get home. Can some un call me a fuckin’ cab? Hey! One uya cocksuckas call me a cab! What’re ya laughin’ at, fuckfaces? Jes wanna go home. Think I’ll lie down here on the floor fer a second ‘til my cab gets ‘ere. Jes fer a sec.”
Welcome back to Earth, space monkey! How was your trip?
—Frank Kelly Rich