List Amendments

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A civilised party

Submitted: February 04, 2008

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Submitted: February 04, 2008

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A A A


‘So how did you arrange it in the end?’ I asked, peeling a Clementine and trying to absorb what I could of Football Focus as Pamela twittered on in the kitchen.

 

‘The best I could. Seeing as you didn’t help out, it’s all turned into a headache. But clearly fixing a bloody engine is more important to you than us spending quality time with our friends’.

 

‘Mmm’ I replied. I found it best to just make a series of interested noises when being attacked by the wife. If I hadn’t fixed the engine then we’d have had to call an engineer. Then she’d have moaned at me about the expense. I could never win.

 

‘So can I see the plan?’ I asked, still wholly focused on television, where a Championship manager was discussing the transfer window.

 

‘I’ll finish it up over breakfast’ she said, picking up a biro from the pen jar.

 

‘Great. Thanks for handling it’ I replied. The transfer window clashing with the African Cup of Nations was ridiculous, I thought, depositing rind in the bin beside the couch where I languished.

 

Later, as we ate toast with marmalade and read the papers in silence, the dog began mischievously tugging at the hem of my trousers. I scuffed its neck with the flat of my hand and sent it off, tail wagging. Our son, blond-haired and small-limbed, ran into the room after the dog.

 

‘How’s your Saturday so far, Timmy?’ I asked, but he wasn’t interested, running back after the dog with action man in hand.

 

‘Little Timmy seems a little distracted recently, don’t you think?’ I asked Pamela, but she was too absorbed with her list to respond.

 

‘Ok. Finished’ she eventually said. She underlined a few names and then rubbed her eyes.

‘Oh – great. May I see?’

 

‘Yes, but don’t dare complain. Especially as you committed no time whatsoever to sorting things out’. She passed me the paper.

 

I looked through the list. All seemed fine at first glance. Roger’s name was alongside Annette’s. Keith was placed with Terry and Jeanne. Agnetha, that gorgeous Spanish girl, was listed next to Peter. I didn’t bother reading to the end.

 

‘All seems okay to me. Good combinations’.

‘Thanks’ replied Pam, biting into a slice of toast and chewing noiselessly. She poured coffee from the cafetière. ‘Cancellations have been a nightmare. I’m probably going to have to make further amendments before tonight’.

‘Don’t worry too much. If you have to, just put me with someone disagreeable. I’ll just be patient and deal with it’. I looked around the front room. ‘I suppose we’d better start preparing the place. Have we still got that tarpaulin for the floor? Remember how Roger was spilling stuff all over the place last time? Probably best to put it down’.

‘All taken care of. I bought a couple more’ Pamela replied, finishing her coffee and preparing the dishes to be washed.

‘You think of everything, sweetie’.

 

‘Yes. I think of everything, and then I DO everything. You, meanwhile, do very little but think too much’.

 

I smiled back at her, hoping to charm her out of her mood. She threw me a raised eyebrow, loaded with dual meaning.

‘Ok, I’ll start clearing up. You relax for a bit’.

 

Clearing the bathroom and shining the white surfaces, I was contented. Our parties always alleviated the stress of the day-to-day, and I knew that by Sunday morning, Pamela would be back to normal, socially recharged and we would be able to relax together on a well-earned day of rest.

Then the phone rang. I heard Pam pick it up. Some muffled speech and then she placed it back in the cradle.

‘Who was that, darling?’ I shouted, on my hands and knees with a scrubber gripped in my fist.

‘It was Ted, dropping out. Last minute’.

‘Oh what a blow…’ I tried to sound as concerned as possible whilst removing scum from the bathtub.

‘I’ll just have to deal with it, as I always do’.

 

The guests began arriving at eight o clock. As usual, I offered nibbles and drinks and by nine o clock all was going brilliantly. Everyone was cheery and the hubbub of social interaction filled the house. After a few drinks I’d forgotten who I was paired with for later.

 

‘Darling – I’ve managed to forget who I’m paired with’ I mentioned to Pam in a quiet moment, when I could get to her.

 

‘I told you once. Have you forgotten?’ I shrugged in response. ‘Since Ted dropped out I had to change the whole list. It was a nightmare. Now you’re a spare, so you’re going to have to go with Rufus’.

 

‘Rufus?’ I couldn’t believe it. ‘Is there no way around it?’

‘Sorry, darling, but no’.

‘You can’t put me with Rufus’.

‘Maybe if you’d have helped me out we wouldn’t be in this mess’ she exclaimed, before walking off, breaking into a smile at the other end of the room and chatting with Keith. I was fuming.

 

When the time came, everyone began to undress and soon the couplings and threesomes were beginning to explore one another. I sat in my underpants on the tarpaulin, feeling miserable. Finally, the first few began intercourse and, reluctantly, I whistled.

 

Rufus padded in from the utility room, his tongue dangling from his jaws and his tail wagging furiously. I removed my briefs and bent over, waiting for the inevitable.

 

Rufus was taking his time - much to my chagrin. His fur brushed roughly against my back as he pounded away. Then, to add to the indignity, the doorbell rang.

 

I looked over my shoulder, where Pamela was blowing the insurance adviser we’d invited over last Wednesday.

 

‘Door, darling’ I called to her, but she waved me away, unable to respond with her mouth full. ‘Right. I’ll get it then’ I said, pushing Rufus off my back and standing up. He looked up at me, all pleading eyes behind a mass of fur.

‘Sorry lad’. I patted his head.

I hastily put a robe on – we always had clean ones laying about the place – and unlocked the front door, making sure I put the security chain on. I opened it a crack.

It was Ted.

‘I thought you weren’t coming?’ I said.

‘Yes, well… it looked that way. But I wriggled out of an appointment and here I am!’ he smiled, offering a bottle of red.

‘I suppose you’d better come in’.

Back in the front room, I allowed my robe to hang open.

‘Pam, darling. Ted’s managed to get away. Have we got anyone for him?’ I turned to him. ‘If we haven’t, old mate, it’s me you and the dog’. He looked justifiably alarmed.

‘If he can’t handle that I don’t know how we can accommodate him’ Pamela responded, a pair of balls obscuring her eyes. ‘Maybe Timmy?’

‘Timmy?’ I asked. ‘Are you sure? You remember what happened last time.

‘It’ll be fine’ Pam responded. ‘Just go up Ted – first room on your right’.

‘Should I?’ Ted asked me.

‘If it’s fine with Pam, it’s fine with me’. I patted him on the back.

 

Ted headed upstairs to Timmy’s room.

 

I looked across the tarpaulin to Rufus.

 

‘Good boy’.


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