The Dinner Party

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Chase co-workers (and their desires) around a work sponsored "dinner party." Follow our characters experiences of defeat, acceptance, and letting go. No one gets what they want, but they have, and always have had for that matter, what they need.

Submitted: May 12, 2010

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Submitted: May 12, 2010

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The Dinner Party
 
The moment Mary said, “I want to get a divorce,” was the moment Joe fell in love with her.It wasn’t that Mary was married, or had even planned on being married any time soon. In fact, she didn’t even have a boyfriend at the moment. 
The thrill of falling madly in love with Mary, marrying her, and then finally watching their relationship slowly dwindle, turned Joe on in a way that nothing any woman in the office could do or say would.
The only problem is Mary didn’t actually want to get a divorce. She had only said this to impress Dave Johnson whom she barely recalls saying once, “Divorce is the greatest tool to living a happy life out there now-a-days.” Not that Dave actually meant this. Dave only said this to increase the persona he had built for himself at work.
Dave had said this at last year’s Christmas party. The fact that Mary was still carrying this memory around goes to show how desperately infatuated with Dave she really was. Which is why she never even noticed Joe from accounting. Joe foolishly held open doors for her, and even had flowers sent to her desk without her notice, or any success.Joe had always thought Mary was cute, but on that fateful day when she said she wanted a divorce, Joe knew they were destined to be together someday. Dave on the other hand had not even heard Mary’s flippant remark, due to his recent decision to avoid and ignore Mary whenever possible. 
In the weeks leading up to that Christmas party Dave had begun to find Mary’s excessive flirting and shameless passes annoying. He thought of Mary as just another over-bearing woman, who had relied too heavily on her good looks instead of developing a strong character and sound mind. 
Everyone but Mary thought that Dave was an asshole. Dave was good at his job. He knew this and treated all hi co-workers whom he found to be lazy or subordinate, like the worthless schmucks he saw them as. Mary was totally oblivious to this, due to her childish infatuation.
“She’s never going to go for you,” Kyle told Joe as Joe stared at Mary in quiet adoration. “To be honest, I don’t even know what you see in her. Sure, she’s got a nice rack, but the brains are obviously missing. I mean she has a huge crush on Dave. Dave’s an asshole.”
“She is just a little confused,” Joe reassured himself. Mean while…everyone at the party was enjoying Mary’s breast, which were barely staying in her dress—everyone that is except Dave, who was busy smoking a cigar and telling all the best jokes he knew to his boss Mr. Lawrence. Although Mr. Lawrence laughed at all of Dave’s jokes, he hadn’t really heard any of them, for his attention was focused on the Breast just about to pop out of Mary’s dress.
After Mr. Lawrence left to go use the restroom, Mary approached Dave hoping to score some points with the guy she was so foolishly in-love with—and whom everybody else hated. “Hey Dave,” she gave a fake flirty giggle, “what do you think of my dress?”
“It’s nice,” Dave, responded as he looked around for someone more important to talk to, someone with more responsibility and a higher wage than he had.
“I wore it just for you, I had hoped you liked it,” Mary smirked in a way that would make any horny-single-male her slave for the night. Unfortunately for Mary, Dave was not this, and was disgusted by it. 
“Well isn’t that just splendid,” Dave said as he spotted the executive accountant, “Now, if you will excuse me I have some one very important to talk to,” and walked away.
As Dave walked away, Mary walked gaily back towards Sharon, her co-worker and best friend. “He said my dress was splendid!”
“Well, isn’t that great.” Sharon replied sarcastically. “You know…I don’t know what you see in that guy. Everyone thinks he’s an asshole.”
“Even you?”
“Even me,” Sharon reassured, “He treats everybody who doesn’t have a better job than him like dirt. He walks around like he’s king of the world, and acts as if the rest of the world is his servant.”
“Oh Sharon, you just don’t understand him. He treats me like a Queen.” Sharon turned to Mary waiting for her to correct herself, or at least laugh at herself. Sharon had seen the way he treated Mary, and it was worse than the way he treated everyone else. For a while she remember him treating Mary like a hot young woman waiting to be taken advantage of. Recently, that had changed to just treating Mary like a dog—which was apparently the way he saw her.
“Seriously Mary, Joe is who you should be interested in.”
“Joe who?”
“Joe Steinwagner. Don’t tell me you don’t know who that is?” Sharon waited for a response, but Mary obviously thought it was a rhetorical question. “He treats you like a princess. He is always holding doors for you; he brings you coffee, and flowers. Not to mention he’s quite the stud.”
“Oh, is that where those flowers and coffee keep coming from? I thought Dave was leaving those for me.”
“Don’t fool yourself girl. Don’t you see Joe when he drops them off for you.”
“Yeah, but I just figure Dave got him to do his busy work.”
“Jesus, if Joe gave me half the time he gives you I’d jump him quicker than a cheetah.” Sharon had never admitted this to anyone, but she was in-love with Joe, and had been since her first week on the job.  There was a “care” that shined from Joe’s eyes that first attracted her. Sharon couldn’t resist the way he walked around confidently unsure of himself. Did he have super hot body? Well, maybe to her. But it was the innocence in his face, and the gentleness in his demeanor that drove Sharon wild—for reasons no one will ever understand.
“I always thought he was kind of a nerd.”
While Mary and Sharon went back and forth about the “right kind of guy,” Mr. Lawrence was in the bathroom weighing his options for the night. Who was this slutty girl who was showing-off almost everything. She obviously seemed like she would be quite easy to pick up. That is, unless she is some employees slutty wife. (Some of the employees have been known to marry quite slutty women). Mr. Lawrence decided not to chance a possible sexual harassment charge and decided to call his normal whore, whom he was quite in love with.
***
Mary and Sharon’s conversation was suddenly interrupted by a phone call. Sharon scampered off to take the call. When she returned she played tired for Mary, “I’m getting pretty tired, I think I’m going to take off.”
“Who was that?”
“Who was who?”
“On the phone.”
“Oh, no one.”
“Bullshit. You take a phone call and then suddenly you’ve got to go home, cause you’re tired. Sounds like a booty call to me. Sharon, do you have a boyfriend you’re not telling me about?”
“No, that was just a client.” Sharon wasn’t lying. To no ones knowledge, Sharon was working nights as a prostitute, to help pay off her school loans. Her only client was the manager of her branch—Mr. Lawrence. “He was just calling about an order that didn’t arrive yet. I told him it should be there on Monday.” Sharon scanned Mary’s facial expression to see if she bought. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a very long weekend ahead of me and am ready for bed.” 
Sharon left and went to meet Mr. Lawrence at his hotel room. Spotting Mary by herself, Joe made his way to make his move on Mary. Unfortunately, before Joe got to where Mary was, Mary took off towards the bathroom and then to look for Dave.
Dave was scanning the crowd looking for someone important to talk to when he noticed Mr. Lawrence leaving the party. He decided that this was his cue to do the same.So, he left. He headed home to his wife, Judy, whom no one at the office knew about. 
Dave, being the asshole that he is, was, and always will be, never wore his wedding ring into work or work functions. He never brought his wife along to Christmas parties, company picnics or the like. He did this because he thought it bad for his “work image.” An image, he believed made him appear to be stern, professional, serious, and independent. He knew this was necessary if wanted to be next in line for a promotion.  Despite the hurt this caused his wife, she told Dave she understood. And though, at times she suspected Dave of having an office romance, to this day Dave has remained true to her (at least sexually).
Dave was completely in love with his wife despite his inability to show it. He loved her because she was exactly the opposite of all his co-workers. Judy had a great work ethic, took pride in her work (even though it was only at home), and in the work of her husband. In fact, once he was in charge he dreamed of bringing her on board.He assured himself that even if she didn’t turn out to be good at the job, she would still be a harder worker than the rest of the people in his department. “Yes,” he thought to himself, “she could take that miserable, lazy, burn-out Kyle’s position.”
Kyle was Joe’s best friend. Kyle had led the company in sales the past three years to Dave’s disgust. This disgust was caused by Kyle’s carefree attitude that still managed to get results. Kyle, despite his good numbers was a drunk aging hippy, which lead Dave to question if he was not also a dope fiend? Everyone at work besides Dave loved Kyle. Kyle was currently reminiscing about his last employee evaluation, and laughing at his strange abilities, which even he wondered about.
“Mr. Livingston,” Mr. Chambers the head of the sales department addressed Kyle, “Mr. Lawrence and I are quite impressed by your numbers, and just want to ask you a few questions to see if we can get an idea about ways to increase sales among your fellow employees.” 
Kyle’s sales had sucked his first three years at the company. One day, he decided to screw the sales pitch he was supposed to use. He stopped feeding the customer all the lines he was told to use. He became his genuine self (whatever that means). Since then his sales have been phenomenal. In the world of sales reps, bullshit is the universal language. It is amazing how much people appreciate not getting fed bullshit. “Describe your normal day to us Mr. Livingston.”
“Well I wake up, and have breakfast…”
“And what do you have for breakfast?”
Kyle contemplated how he should answer this question, and then it slipped, “a beer.”
“Mr. Livingston, you are aware that we have a no tolerance drug and alcohol policy? And that beer is not generally considered something to be eaten for breakfast?”
“Well why do they call it a breakfast stout then?” They were quiet. “And besides wasn’t it you, Mr. Chambers, that told me you were going to buy some PBR’s for breakfast the Friday before your last camping trip.”
“Ah, PBR…the breakfast beer.” Mr. Chambers looked off into space with a look of satisfaction and joy.You could almost see him reminiscing of its taste in his mouth.
“Besides, I only had one, it’s not like I was coming into work drunk.”
Mr. Lawrence pondered for a little while what would be the right move and then stepped up and made some managerial decisions, “in view of your recent terrific numbers, we will allow you to maintain working here seeing as you only have one each morning. Oh yeah, and lets make sure our co-workers don’t know about this practice of yours or our conversation about it. They may be tempted to act the same way.” No point mentioning the beers he has over the lunch hour, Kyle decided—especially after this little debacle. Despite the close call in his meeting, Kyle didn’t change a thing. 
Kyle could still remember the first day his sales began to improve. That morning, Kyle had what some might call a catastrophic morning. It isn’t that anything catastrophic actually happened; rather, simply a number of small incidences began to weigh down on him after a while. While walking to his favorite deli for lunch, Kyle past a bar—with his morning in mind, he decided a lunch from the deli would not be suffice, so he turned and walked into the bar.
Kyle had planned on getting one beer and some food. So, you can imagine how surprised he was when his lunch hour was almost over and he was two beers and a shot of whiskey down. Turns out, old habits don’t die young.  In fact, they don’t die at all. Kyle was living proof of that. Kyle paid his bill and quickly headed back to work without eating (although, due to his keen selection of dark beers, he did feel relatively full).
Upon returning to work, Kyle stopped at the vending machine and picked up some snacks to cover up the beer on his breath. Needless to say, no one said anything to him all day about his breath and when the day was finally over, he broke his single day sales record in that afternoon alone. The next morning he had a beer for breakfast and the great sales continued. 
At the end of the following week Kyle was visited by Mr. Chambers, “Well, hello there Mr. Livingston. It seems that as of late your sales have really increased. “ Mr. Chambers stood there silently for a moment looking stoic, “I just wanted to thank you for the extra hard work you’ve been putting in and was wondering if there was anything you thought might be helping you as of late? Any pitches or other tools you might use that help?”
Kyle thought for a moment about the truth and then said, “no sir, I think I’ve finally reached a comfort zone in my job. Before, it was like I was doing my job, now the job just sort of does me.”
“Well, Mr. Livingston, many are called, few are chosen. You seem to be destined for this sort of work. Have a great weekend and keep up the good work.”
Many are called, few are chosen. Kyle got such a laugh out of that, that he printed out a big sheet of it and hung it up in his cubicle. “Chosen,” he thought to himself, “I’m not chosen, I’ve just been drinking.”
The only problem that arose from hanging that sign up, arrived next week when Margo, an overweight-middleclass-white-conservative-Christian-American-female understood the sign as a proclamation on Kyle’s faith. Margo thought Kyle was a Christian. 
Jesus was without a doubt Margo’s best friend. Probably her only friend, except for her overweight-middleclass-white-male-conservative-Christian-American-husband: Tom. Margo and her husband practiced their faith with a fervor that was bordering on Nazism. Not only did they attend Sunday service, but also Tuesday night Bible study, Wednesday evening prayer meeting, and their monthly Saturday afternoon potluck, on the second Saturday of every month.
After Kyle put his chosen sign up, and Margo must have mistook his drunk and stoned alienation as a cry for help. Margo was constantly inviting him to Bible studies and prayer groups.On the plus side, she did occasionally bring Kyle muffins or fruit baskets with Bible verses on them. Even though the Bible verses said something silly like, “Cast all your cares on the Lord, for he cares for you,” the muffins and fruit were delicious.
After about a month of being solicited, Kyle finally gave in and went to a Bible study with Margo and her husband—drunk. Apparently it was on courage, according to the notes he was given (which he found quite ironic—here are the notes you are suppose to take down). All Kyle actually recalls though, is something about John the Baptist getting head from Herod’s daughter. After hearing this, getting head was the only thing on Kyle’s mind. So, he didn’t even listen to anything else. He was now turned-on and very anxious to get home and relieve himself. Unfortunately, Margo and her husband invited him out for coffee, and in his stupor he accidentally said, “Yeah, I don’t have anything going on.”This situation actually turned advantages for Kyle. 
While at the coffee shop, Margo asked Kyle if he had a church home, which he actually didn’t (he had an apartment home), but he lied hoping that this would free him from any obligations. “Yes, actually I have a church home.”
“Which church do you attend?” So much for it being a home.
“St. Anthony’s,” Kyle said with a slight hesitation. Turns out, he wasn’t sure if there was a St. Anthony’s anywhere near there—or a St. Anthony’s at all for that matter.
“Oh,” Margo and her husband had a look of concern on their faces, “I didn’t realize you were catholic.” Kyle shrugged as he felt a weight lifted of his shoulders. “So, how did you find our Bible study being Catholic?” She said “ours” as if it was her and her husbands Bible study, “Did any of our teachings seem contrary to your Catholic believes.”
Jackpot. “Yeah some of the teachings were a little off with what we believe at St. Anthony’s. Which is why, although I think your great person Margo, I don’t think I should go to your church with you again. I wouldn’t want any religious differences to jeopardize our work relationship, which I really value.” Kyle didn’t mean a word of this obviously, but after three and a half hours of listening to “Jesus ramble” without a drink, Kyle’s sobriety had turned him into a raging a liar. Some people chase alcoholism; others have it thrown upon them in there own race for greatness.
Now, three years later Kyle unbeknownst to Dave was being considered for Mr. Chambers’ position when he left at the end of next quarter rather than Dave. 
Currently, Kyle was sitting out in his car with his good friend Joe—getting him high, hoping to cheer him up, out of the emotional funk he was in do to his inability to woo Mary. Kyle oblivious to the higher powers at work (fate) turned to Joe to speak, “You know, don’t worry about it Joe. She’ll come around eventually. What you need to do now is get yourself a girl to keep you company until Mary comes to her senses. You know some super hot bitch that likes good music too. What more could you ask for?”
Joe realized Kyle was high, because Joe too was high, and he still thought Kyle was talking nonsense. “Yeah dude, whatever. I’m going home. I’m tired and really stoned.”
“Well, I’ll consider my job here done then. See you later.” Kyle got out of his car too—put the joint out on the cement and then threw it into the bushes. Then walked back to the party to see if he could scavenge a few more drinks for free, before they shut everything down.
Joe pulled out of the parking lot slowly. Anyone who knows would have known he was stoned.While Joe was on his way home, Dave was at home fucking his wife, pretending she was the beautiful, annoying secretary at work that he couldn’t stand. When they finished he whispered into her ears, “I will never be able to love another woman the way I love you,” then went outside to smoke a cigarette. 
Dave wasn’t actually “a smoker.” The only time Dave smoked was after sex. His reason for doing so was that he felt guilt for never really loving his wife; instead he loved some ancient forgotten symbol of what she represented to him—an accomplishment.
In Dave’s mind life was about prestige, wealth, and power. “Come see what I’ve acquired.” “Come see what I did.” “Look at me and this kingdom I’ve erected for myself.” Which would be all fine and dandy had he created this kingdom for his enjoyment. He hadn’t. He created his kingdom for his persona—just another beast marking his territory.
This is why he meant when he said he could never love another woman the way he loved her—she was his trophy. He was never satisfied, never complete. And how would he ever be satisfied in a world where there is always something more to get, always something more to become? Cigarettes were the only things Dave ever understood—a quick release followed by the desire for more. Failed satisfaction—cigarettes were a symbol for his life!
Unbeknownst to anyone else Mary too was dealing with the failed satisfaction desire brings. After spending thirty minutes crying in the bathroom, finally admitting to herself that her and Dave would never be what she desired them to be, she finally regained her composure and headed back to an almost deserted party. 
As Mary exited the bathroom glancing around at the few remaining guest, Dave was exiting his patio door to enjoy a cigarette. As Dave lit his cigarette, Joe was arriving at home sulking in himself and planning for an uplifting conclusion to his night—masturbation. As Joe logged onto the Internet grabbing his lotion and a box of Kleenex, Kyle was back inside the party half way done with a beer, standing next to a girl who recently meandered over and stationed herself next to Kyle. Kyle glanced at her and noticed she looked very discouraged. Hoping to lend a helping hand, “Now what’s got you girl?”
Mary looked up at Kyle, “Have you ever tried real hard to get some one to notice you, and just have them totally avoid you?” 
“Well, I know someone who has,” Kyle said realizing whom he was talking to.
“I just don’t understand why he doesn’t notice me. I’m beautiful…aren’t I?”
“Well, I know someone who thinks you’re the most beautiful girl in the world. I mean, he’s la-la for you.”
“Really?” Mary questioned, mistaking Kyle’s comment as a referral to himself.
“Yeah.Now, how about we go have a smoke in my car and cheer up a little.”
“I don’t usually like to smoke,” Mary seemed uneasy.
“Oh, you’ll like this smoke,” Kyle reassured.
As Kyle and Mary walked out to Kyle’s car with there minds forgetting any past from which they came, and any future to which they were headed, Dave sat reflecting on his life: past, present, and future—smoking his cigarette, his arm slowly bringing his cigarette to his mouth. Joe’s arm, by this point, was slowly bringing something totally different—transcendence. They say that in sex two become one. Well with Joe, one was remaining one. But, it was better than being alone by himself. At least this way he was with himself. 
Dave took one more puff from his cigarette, then threw it to the ground and extinguished it with his foot. Right then Kyle lit up a joint and handed it to Mary who was revisiting how sweet Kyle had been—although, by this point she could no longer remember his name. As Dave slid open the screen door and headed back into his house, Mary handed the joint back to Kyle, opened his fly and headed into his pants.
Pants—were exactly what Joe was zipping up the same moment Mary was zipping down another pair of pants.
Zipping—all of them through time and space, madly in love with some idea of love or another experience they can believe is love.
As Dave crawled back into bed with his wife, Joe was turning of his lamp and rolling over into a fetal position to sleep, Kyle was moving the seat of his car back in order to lie down and love the girl that both Joe and Dave were about to dream about. Many are called, but few are chosen.


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