The Party

The Party
Ross Durrence

The men all wore the fanciest clothes, for this was the fanciest of events. Silver pocket-watches on silver chains, little spoons in little containers of caviar, a haze of smoke surrounding the haze of affluence emanating from the flat. The women flapped around in their slinky dresses, their skinny elbows always half-cocked as they rested a skinny hand against a protruding hip. Bobbed haircuts sporting headbands and feathers and jazz and class
and doubt. Beads and jewels and beads lined the necks of each woman and the only thing more prominent on every man than self-assurance was self-assurance. Record players played music they could move to, the vinyl scratching and scratching to make the sound of the arrogant music even better, even more arrogant.

The men danced.
The women danced.

The men drank.
The women drank.

The men smoked.
The women smoked.

The conversations between the parties in this terribly haughty party were drab. Drab and dull and drab. Dull dilettantes discussing anything and everything that wasn’t important. The room begged for substance like all of the women begged for attention from the men. Any of them, really. All of them, really.

As the night drug on the conversations went from the usual greetings and how-are-yous to questions of where everyone’s expensive clothes came from, what merchant sold so-and-so this magnificent china, where, oh where did what’s-her-name find that necklace that whoever was asking about would kill for. These talks of banality and pride and jealousy were the definition of surface-level discussions of surface-level things. They did this as if humans were meant for such a cruel existence of possessions and greed and oh my heavens, that crystal is simply divine. It was as if these people didn’t know there was a real world out there. Didn’t know or didn’t care. We all know they just didn’t care. These people lived for parties like this. Lived for evenings filled with empty gestures and empty conversations.

They carried on like this all night. All night and all night and all night until something happened. Something that most of these veterans of cruel, jealous parties didn’t dream of doing. Didn’t dream of doing for self-preservation in this exclusive club of exclusive things. It happened in one corner of the apartment and went mostly unnoticed. Mostly.

As the clock read half past midnight, a thin woman leaning against the dark maroon draperies in the southwest corner of the apartment felt something well up inside her. Something she couldn’t hope of stopping. She involuntarily raised her hand to her mouth and let out the slightest of yawns. She was horrified. She tried to act like she was picking something out of her teeth, as that would be more socially acceptable than yawning at a party like this in front of people like that.

She thought her small action went unnoticed until a thin man in a light blue suit began to stare at her. He stared and whispered something to the man next to him and they both stared at her slinky dress and her skinny elbows.

They were furious with her. The idea that someone wasn’t having fun at a party like this was, well, unimaginable. But the idea that someone would be bored enough to yawn? It was impossible. Inconceivable.

News of the slinky woman’s yawn spread through the room like wildfire. Not thirty seconds passed and each party in that party knew of her transgression. They stared at her with contempt and hate and ridicule. She cowered in the corner, clutching the maroon draperies as if they could absolve her of her latest sin. She clutched and cowered and clutched and prayed that they would just let her leave. Let her leave the party and, of course, never be invited back, but please, oh God, let her leave. Deep down, how- ever, she knew this wasn’t to be.

The rest of the partygoers began to form a mass in front of the southwest corner of the apartment, in front of the maroon draperies. They hissed and clawed and yelled and screamed and hissed. They were filled with rage and hate. Rage and hate deep in their hearts. They weren’t blinded by this rage and hate, however. They could see clearly. They knew precisely what they were about to do.
The mass moved in towards her, causing that poor woman with skinny elbows to fall down, still clutching the draperies. They grabbed at her. They lunged at her. A rather rotund man in a grey, three-piece suit grabbed her ankle and began to drag her from the southwest corner, from those maroon draperies. As he pulled her, a woman of about forty years-old grabbed her arm. The mass of bodies and hands pulled her away from the corner, her fingernails tearing off in the process. They kicked and punched and tore her clothing. A necklace went flying, her dark blue dress was in shreds. The pack of wild dogs stripped her naked and picked her up, over their heads, and marched almost joyously to the door. They got all the way to the door when they heard the quietest of sounds. Almost like a mouse. The pack of hyenas turned around and standing before them was a tiny, tiny woman. She was barely five feet tall and could not have weighed more than 93 and a half pounds. She was dressed in a sunflower yellow dress, with a large medallion hanging from her neck. She coughed, cleared her throat, and repeated herself.

“Put her down.”

The mass didn’t know what to do. This woman seemed so earnest in her request that they thought and looked at each other and finally decided to listen to this small, tiny woman. They put their barely conscious prey on the ground and backed away, almost in fear of this tiny, tiny woman. She slowly approached the body and almost felt sorry for the crumpled mess. She smiled and sighed as she knelt down and looked the poor woman directly in the eyes.

She whispered something to the slinky woman and slowly stood up. The woman in yellow then calmly, and still with a smile on her face, picked up a medium sized ornamental urn on a pedestal nearby and lifted it over- heard, her arms almost buckling from the weight. She approached the yawner.

The mass licked their lips.

The woman in yellow almost looked apologetic as she dropped the urn directly on the yawner’s head.

The pack went wild. They sang and yelled and cheered and picked up the lifeless body of the lifeless yawner and threw her out of the apartment. As they slammed the door, they attempted to return to their previous state of enjoyment, devoid of any bored yawners. They tried, but they couldn’t. They looked around at each other and realized it wasn’t the same. The party wasn’t the same and they couldn’t go on.

“This isn’t right,” one of them said.

Regret flushed their faces as they knew the speaker was correct. Something wasn’t right. They fretted and cried because the night seemed ruined. They fretted and cried because the night seemed ruined up until one of them realized the source of their sadness: the music. The record player had been knocked over in the scuffle and the music had stopped. Upon realizing this, the mass turned the record player right side up, placed the needle in the groove, and realized all was right in the world.

The men danced.
The women danced.

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