The Party Animal

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Life and times of a party animal.

Submitted: May 31, 2015

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Submitted: May 31, 2015

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THE PARTY ANIMAL

Barbara took a last look at herself in the hall mirror before opening the front door and leaving. How many years had passed since her father, from his deep leather armchair, had said to her, “Just be careful you don’t turn into a party animal.” At that time she was fifteen years old, with not a care in the world, thinking it was an egg, and that she would be able to eat all of it. The next thirty years had proved her father to have been right. When you’re young and have everything to your advantage, nothing ever seems to go wrong. However, what suits you at twenty, its charm begins to fade at thirty. Barbara at thirty had still been on the wild party circuit. She had also moved several times from one country to another.

 

Alan Saunders was an airline pilot and had married Barbara’s friend, Lisa. They had been blessed with a daughter. Alan was not the best of fathers or husbands, he was also on the wild party circuit. He had no qualms in confessing to his life style, and admitting what he was like. Lisa and their daughter hardly ever saw him, and eventually the marriage disintegrated. Both Barbara and Alan made an attractive pair. Alan’s parents had warned him when he was young, not to go partying so much, but their advice had fallen on deaf ears.

 

Barbara’s first move away from home was to New York, where it didn’t take long for her to get in with the same ilk as she was accustomed to. She shared an apartment with two other girls, Marnie and Shona. “There’s a party at Joe’s tonight. You’re invited,” Shona had said to Barbara, when she had only been in the apartment for two weeks.

“Thanks a lot. I’d love to go. It seems ages since I went to a party,” Barbara had answered, which, of course, was not true.

On the afternoon in question, the girls’ flat was a real hive of activity, as the three had showers, did their hair and nails, and finally put on their party dresses. Each one deep-sprayed herself in a different toilet water, and took the lift down to the street. The lift reeked of them all evening.

The venue was a large apartment that Joe rented from a friend who was travelling. The friend must have had money, from the impressive decoration and furniture. Joe opened the door to them and took their coats. “Hi, Girls, how’s it going?”

There were all different types of drinks going, and some kind of food served by a woman of indeterminate age, who, it was assumed, was Joe’s mother. It later turned out she was his sister. Barbara got wedged into a corner by an earnest young man with hair that resembled a brush, thin rimmed spectacles, and pimples. “Hi, I’m Doug, and you are?”

“Hi, I’m Barbara,” she answered hoping he’d soon be bored with her, especially as she saw her room-mates chatting to better-looking prospects.

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

“Not exactly. Excuse me, Doug, but I need the little girls’ room,” and on those words Barbara slid away from Doug.

 

Barbara was not at all impressed by her first party with her new friends, and thought that she only had two choices: which were to stay in the same apartment, or go travelling around. After a few more false starts to get in with a real wild-party group, she left the apartment and began going from town to town. Taking a train or a long distance coach were the best ways to travel, and Barbara had no doubts in taking the coach. That meant that she would be able to get off at any stop and see what the new place had to offer. Her entrance to a new town was always the same, first - an hotel.

“Good evening. Have you a room for a couple of nights?” Barbara asked.

Receptionists always saw standing before them, a pretty looking woman, and then asked for her papers, and how she would pay. When they saw her credit card, she was never denied a room, however expensive it was. Somehow or other, Barbara always found the best bars, where women could be seen drinking alone, and the best restaurants. The idea she had, was to spend as little money as possible. And she did just that. Barbara always attracted the kind of man who wanted to be seen with her. She was invited to parties wherever she went.

 

It was while she was on her travels, that she met up with Alan again. At the time, she was in Florida enjoying the sun and the beach, bored to tears, but sticking it out for the number of parties she was invited to.

“Hi, are you staying long, or are you just passing through?” Alan’s voice sounded in her ears.

They were on a beach, and both were smothered in sun-block and lying on sun-loungers. By that time on her travels, nothing much shocked or surprised Barbara. “Hi, how are you? Still flying round the world between holidays?”

Alan laughed, “Yes, I do better than you. I don’t have to pay my way. Anyway, how are you doing? I have to admit your life-style certainly suits you.” Alan said, giving her an upper and downer.

“I do my best to have a good time. This is a real centre for party-going. Have you been here long?”

Alan adjusted his sunglasses. “We got here last night, and tomorrow morning we’re off again. What a sad existence mine is!”

“How many girl friends have you got at the moment?”

“Not as many as you might think. We aren’t in one lay over for long enough to establish long term relationships. How about you?”

“There’s always a man, but although they’re fun to begin with, they soon get boring and want to get married. Have you seen Lisa or your daughter recently?”

“I rang them a few weeks ago, but I assume they have forgotten about me, as they have problems in recognising my name. Lisa has another man in her life, and my daughter has a stepfather. Therefore, I don’t need to have anything to do with them, do I?”

Barbara nodded in agreement. She was of the opinion that if you want to have a good time then you can’t have children. You need to be single. She checked out the time on her watch, which she had hidden inside a towel, to protect it from the sun and sand. “Do you fancy having a light lunch now or later?” Barbara asked Alan.

“I think I’ll continue topping up my tan for a while longer.”

“There’s a beach-party tonight at eleven, with fires and swimming. I’ll be going. It’s at a club further down on the beach,” she added.

“OK. I might see you there, depending what my date wants to do.”

“Well, even if we don’t meet again here, have an enjoyable flight and an equally enjoyable evening. Bye” Barbara said, as she left Alan sunbathing on the beach, wondering when they would meet up again - if ever.

Alan waved to her as she left. His mind already on what the evening had to offer. His new date, the typical pretty girl he always liked to be seen with, appeared once Barbara was out of sight.


The beach-party wasn’t the best that Barbara had attended. There were those whose main aim was to wade into the sea fully-clothed, and get as drenched as they could. The bonfires were an extra, and the wet ones from the sea huddled round them. Some of the others not so hardy, fled up the beach to their hotels.

 

When her parents were not well, Barbara flew back home to look after them. She thought that she would find it difficult leaving her life style behind, to be back in a cold climate. Her parents were delighted to see her once again under their roof. Although the scenario for having a good time seemed rather disheartening, Barbara soon found herself back on the wild-party circuit. She did this by going to pubs where she knew she would meet like-minded people. The only thing she found strange, was that there were a lot of younger people about, whereas years before leaving, she was a young one, now she was one of the older ones. Her one consolation, was that there were still those partygoers who were still up for a bit of fun.

Barbara’s parents’ being under the weather, meant that they couldn’t be left alone, and that’s why she took on a nurse to sit with them while she was out in the evenings, and during the day when she did the shopping. That arrangement suited everyone for their individual reasons.

 

Barbara got herself a middle-aged gentleman friend, with a mother. His name was Stephen, and was a gentleman in all aspects of the word. He paid for the cinema, the theatre, the dinners, and flowers. There were only two stumbling blocks in what might have been a perfect relationship: he wasn’t a party animal, and his mother was always demanding his presence for one ailment or other.

 

One night, during a fantastic party, when they were getting a bit lively in a pub with a lot of giggling and shrieking and drinking too much, and the loudest music that human ears could possibly stand, Stephen’s mobile rang. It was his mother asking him what time she could expect him home, as she wanted to lock and bolt the front door. He said to Barbara, “I have to go. My mother is worried about how late it is, as she wants to lock up.”

Barbara said, “You’d better go home then. You wouldn’t want to worry your mother, would you?”

Barbara wondered who were worse: the men with ex-wives or those with mothers. She didn’t mind, as long as they enjoyed a good party. One thing she really detested was any woman who laid claim to a man as if he were a plot of land. She could never comprehend why men put up with such rubbish behaviour on the part of the women in their lives.

At one party she attended, Barbara met a man she actually liked. He wasn’t bad-looking and he was very chatty. They spent the evening talking about this and that, and drinking. It was the best time she had experienced in a long time. When she met Roy, Barbara was in her mid-forties and feeling a bit on the desperate side for company. It was getting harder to get anyone interested in her for a decent period of time. After a few dinner dates things got cold, and she wondered what she could possibly be doing wrong. Roy had a balsamic effect on her, at least for a while. Roy ran the family business of distributing fine wines and spirits. His job took him all over the country. He knew all the pubs and best restaurants. He also spent a good deal of his time drinking. He still lived with his mother because he was the only member of the siblings still single.

“I’m travelling up to the far north next week. Like to come?” Roy asked Barbara, when they were holed up in her flat after a pathetic attempt at romance.

“Yes, I’d like that. It’ll be interesting to see you at work,” she answered.

 

The next Monday, Barbara and Roy set out for the north. The back of the van was packed tight with crates of booze. ‘What a treasure trove for any motorway thieves,’ Barbara thought to herself. Many people would have loved to get their hands on the crates full of recently filled bottles. What a party that would be!

“How many customers do you have to visit?”

“About a hundred, but then there are always those who know who I am, and ask for extra bottles, especially if there’s wedding or an important dinner coming up.”

The first stop was at an exclusive pub where spirits were off-loaded. Here, Roy had his first drink of the day. Barbara was more than shocked. “Why did you have a drink so early in the morning?” she asked.

“It’s all part of the job - the image. If I don’t drink, what will they think of me? I’m not a milkman, you know!” Roy said, revving up the van engine.

Barbara hadn’t liked what she had seen, and as the day wore on, they saw nothing of the north. Only the inside of pubs and restaurants. She noticed he was becoming more and more incoherent in his speech. “Let me drive for a while, so that you can have a rest.”

She couldn’t have said anything worse. Roy turned and opened the passenger door, and said, “If you aren’t happy with the trip, then I suggest you get out.”

“If this is your idea of a trip to the north, then you are very much mistaken. I’m off. Bye.” With those words, Barbara got out of the van and crossed the street. In the reflection of a shop window, she saw Roy’s van shoot off, swerving as drunkenly as the driver, along the small town main road.

Barbara found a railway station and caught a train back home.

 

The next she heard of Roy, was that he was in hospital, and so she went to visit him. His mother was sitting at his bedside, leafing through a magazine. She looked up on hearing Barbara’s high heels click clack on the floor. “I was wondering when you’d make an appearance.”

“I’ve only just found out Roy was in here. What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s got cirrhosis of the liver. The doctor said he must have no more alcohol. How are we supposed to live without the business?” Roy’s mother moaned.

“He doesn’t need to drink at every stop, and that’s what has brought it on.”

“A drink doesn’t hurt anyone!” declared Roy’s mother indignantly.

“He doesn’t leave it at one drink. He’s drinking all day long. I saw that when I went with him to the north. I offered to drive, but he got all hoity-toity and refused to let me. I came back by train.”

“You’re not really in love with him, then, otherwise, you would have stayed with him in the van. That’s what girlfriends and wives are supposed to do.”

“What! Even at the cost of my own life? You must be out of your mind. As he’s asleep, I don’t see any point in waiting for him to wake up. Please give him my regards.”

Barbara launched at Roy’s mother, as she turned and walked out of the room. Roy was still unconscious in a drug-induced sleep.

 

That wasn’t the last Barbara heard of Roy and his mother. The telephone call on her mobile, told her it was from Roy, but unfortunately it was his mother using his mobile, telling her that he had died in hospital. The doctors had informed his mother that he was very ill, but the elderly lady had not accepted their opinion, and had thought that he would get over it, as he had got over other things in his life. The funeral would be on the following Friday morning in the local cemetery. Barbara said she would attend.

 

The weather was kind on the day of Roy’s funeral. It was cold and sunny, and there were a lot more people present than Barbara had expected, and then she thought they might be in the hostelry business. Roy’s mother was draped in black, dabbing her eyes. The wreaths were the largest Barbara had ever seen. She laid a large spray of white flowers among all the others. The one that stood out the most, was the one from his mother, with gold lettering on a wide purple ribbon, ‘From Mother’. She was probably wondering how the business was going to continue, without Roy traipsing around the country ruining his liver. Roy’s mother was the centre of attention, as everyone went up to offer their condolences. As soon as she was able to, Barbara left the cemetery, and went home. She noticed in his obituary, that he had died when only thirty-eight.

 

Alan arrived back in her life when Roy was fading in her memory. He had a disgusting suntan.

“Your skin is far too dried out, you’re beginning to look like a lizard,” Barbara told him.

Alan smiled and gave her a penetrating stare, “You’re not doing too badly in the lizard-skin stakes yourself. How are you doing with the boyfriends?”

Barbara responded to his smile with one of her own, “I’m not doing too badly, considering I’m not premier league any more. Did you hear about one of them dying?”

“Yes, how unfortunate, dying so young. You must be over it by now.”

“Yes, I am. In fact, I’ve just met someone new, and he’s invited me to dinner with him and his friends later tonight. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow when we meet for brunch. OK?”

“Yes, OK. See you then.”

 

Barbara went off in the direction of the tanning salon for a top-up. She only needed fifteen minutes to get the intense golden colour she liked so much. The rest of the beauty parlour where the tanning salon was located, had everything a woman could need. The tanning session over, Barbara went into a shower cabin, and let the refreshing water calm down her over-heated body. Then she entered a room where all the ladies were wearing white towelling robes, and were having their hair done, and their hands and feet manicured. Barbara was a natural blonde no more, and had a shimmering gold-blonde rinse instead. Altogether, she spent the whole afternoon in the beauty parlour. The hairdresser, called Ophelia, did a magnificent job of punishing Barbara’s hair into giant curls, which were also sprayed into a hard finish.

 

Barbara went home to get dressed, before setting out in a taxi for her new friend’s flat. Barbara had put on a low-necked evening dress and strap shoes. She had been so busy with her appearance, she hadn’t paid any attention to the weather report. There was a slight snowfall as the taxi was taking her to the flat, where she hoped all would be well. The taxi swerved round a corner on the slippery surface, and Barbara’s curls got a nasty jolt, and weren’t quite as perfect as they had been. The taxi stopped and Barbara felt the snowflakes on her face. She went up the steps to the front door, her dress and her low neckline making her feel positively frozen.

The new boyfriend opened the door and saw nothing more than a dishevelled figure running to a taxi in the falling snow. He went inside and sat down to dinner with the rest of his guests. He didn’t even ring Barbara to ask why she hadn’t stayed.

 

The next time Alan and Barbara coincided, was at a special beauty event for those who were desirous of maintaining their youthful looks. All those who were attending were party animals, like Alan and Barbara, who were prepared to go to great lengths to look young, when they had quite long personal histories behind them. They were given a new type of Botox, and fillers, and massages to keep the blood circulation going. Alan had noticed the hair on top of his head was getting thinner, and he asked for a hair weaving. The problem was, that he liked very young girls, and didn’t want to be taken for their fathers, although he was at that time older than the fathers of some of his dates.

Barbara had made the decision not to drink alcohol as often as she had done in the past. She had been told by one of her plastic surgeons, that drinking reeked havoc on a woman’s face, if she drank too much.

 

That night was a turning point in the lives of Alan and Barbara. They both knew that party time, and beach time, were running out for both of them, and it wasn’t long before they began living hermitic lives, behaving quite antisocially, because they were not the centre of attention. People didn’t laugh at their jokes any more, whereas in the past, Alan had a good line in jokes. Barbara had been the life and soul of the party, but young people always prefer their own generation. Both Alan and Barbara spoke on their mobiles to each other, and met for a Spartan lunch every so often, still with the idea of staying young. They spoke about the parties and the scandals, but the one thing Alan never mentioned was - his daughter.

 

A very old friend, similar in age to them, also going through his lizard years, invited them to a party, where they both behaved as if the years hadn’t passed for them. They were up there, dancing and singing till the dawn was breaking.

In the taxi they shared going to their respective homes, they both acknowledged they had overdone it a bit. Alan had drunk a bit, and had discovered his body didn’t tolerate alcohol any more. Barbara had danced till she was unable to.

Alan got home first, and said, “Till the next time.”

Barbara said, “Let’s hope it won’t be too long. Bye.”

 

Sometime during what was left of the night, both Alan and Barbara departed this world.

 

Alan and Barbara had the same friends, and they all joined together to give them identical funerals. They were both cremated and then, those who wanted to, went to the Caribbean with the ashes, which were scattered into the warm blue waters, where they had spent so many happy hours.

 

 Neither of them had celebrated their fiftieth birthdays.

 

As one old friend said to another, “Those dinosaur skins they had cultivated with so much sun and partying, made them look so old!”


© Copyright 2020 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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