The Dinner Party

I was invited to a dinner party last night. I sat beside a husband and wife, the man was thin and tall and wore eye glasses and his wife was medium height, pretty and a little overweight. They were both school teachers. The husband taught English and he had invited a local poet whom I had never seen before. The poet sat on the other side, next to the man’s wife. The poet was stick thin, with dark hair and a coarse black beard. His skin was pale, almost yellow and his eyes bulged. He stared at things with great intensity. A fly landed on a bowl in front of him and I watched as he concentrated on the little creature. He made no attempt to shoo it, he just watched it closely. I, being interested in writing myself, wanted to speak to him but so far I had not found a chance. I decided that after dinner I might speak to him.

After a moment our local Doctor arrived with his large, powerful looking wife. They sat opposite the poet and nodded at everyone. i noticed the poet fix the doctor in a long hard stare, the doctor seemed to ignore it. Last to sit down were the hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Placoln.

“Thank you for coming everyone, hello Doctor,” Mrs. Placoln said and smiled. She was pretty, with long blonde hair and a nice slim figure, she always wore beautiful dresses.

We all answered her greeting. A large man, who looked like he could have easily worked as a policeman or an army officer marched in and began to lay out food. He put down a large plate of bread rolls and a plate of butter.

“Would you bring in the wine please?” Mrs. Placoln asked him.

He nodded and disappeared back into the kitchen.

“Well this is nice, I love a good dinner party.” The doctor said.

“Hello David, Michael, Sarah,” he said greeting our side of the table in a row. “And Mr…”

“This is Robert,” the teacher, Mr. Smith, said. “He has just moved to town, he is a poet.”
“A poet!” the doctor exclaimed. “What a great addition, hello Robert.”
Robert fixed his great dark eyes on the Doctor again.

The large waiter returned with the wine and a bowl of baked potatoes. Steam rose from them gently.

“I suppose you’ve come to our little town for the peace and quiet so you can do your work. If you call it work? Do you? I suppose you might say calling?” The doctor laughed and looked over at the potatoes.

“Yes,” Robert suddenly spat. “I call it work. What would you call it? What is it you do for a living?”
We all looked at Robert, the tone of his voice was unnatural as if he felt insulted.

“I’m a Doctor.”
“I suppose you call that work!” Robert suddenly shouted. “Working as a leech, sucking people dry, burying your mistakes.”
“I…” the doctor almost choked, “I did not mean to upset you if that is what I have done. Please do not insult me.”
“You like to insult but do not like to be insulted, eh leech?”

Everyone was silent. I watched from my seat intently, a heavy feeling in my stomach.

Robert picked up the salt shaker and began to empty the salt into his hand. He then tossed the salt at the doctor hitting him in the face. “Kill the leech! Kill the leech!” he screamed, putting more salt into his hand and then throwing it.

The doctor now was shielding his face, he blinked in pain as some salt had landed in his eyes. He shouted something but I could not understand him.

“Stop it!” the doctor’s wife screamed. “This is abysmal behavior!”
“Abysmal is it? I have not yet begun to show you abysmal!” Robert picked up the bread rolls and rained them upon the doctor, they bounced off the table and rolled onto the floor.

The large waiter, who could have easily restrained the small poet appeared at the door but froze and did not move.

The poet, leaping to his feet then dashed to the front door and fled through it leaving it open.

Outside the night was quiet, the street was empty. A single car drove past on the road, it’s headlights splashing on the trees in the garden.

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