Dinner with Napalm

Feb 23rd, 2010 | By | Category: Columns

How would I go about throwing a fancy dinner party for upwards of 50 guests?

Stage One: Denial

What?  Fifty people didn’t really respond to the Evite.  It’s not like they all don’t know you live in a two-bedroom apartment. They don’t expect you to cook anything – you have an abortion for a kitchen, because the construction company didn’t allow it to gestate long enough in the womb before ripping it out and throwing it in.  Everybody knows this.  They probably think the invitation was one big joke anyway.  You don’t need to clean the bathroom, it’s not Sunday yet. Go ahead and masturbate into that old t-shirt.  There’s no rush to do laundry.  Everything is fine.

Stage Two: Anger

When your neighbor asks how you are doing, threaten to put his mangy cat in the shared laundry machine; break into the cooking sherry and drink from the bottle; randomly kick children and the elderly; let the whole world know your fury.

Stage Three: Bargaining

There are only two days left.  Redeem that coupon for the free yoga tutorial.  Glance fondly at that bumper sticker in the parking lot that reads, “Jesus Saves.”  Add with magic marker, “By shopping wisely and using coupons.”  Call Ms. Cleo.  Then attempt to update your address on the Evite for another apartment complex down the street.  Clean that bathroom and pray to your reflection in the toilet bowl water for a miracle.

Stage Four: Depression

In the few hours remaining, mask your tears by cutting onions.  After all, the secret ingredient to Grandmother’s string-bean casserole was a touch of rosemary and human suffering. Heat olive oil and a minced garlic clove in pan, cut up asparagus and hearts of palms into small pieces and simmer over medium heat.  Cut yourself a few times and then apply little bandages.  Boil potatoes and put chicken in the oven.  Pour shot of vodka, drink.  Take out frozen dessert to defrost.  Drink more vodka and use this time to reevaluate the emptiness of your life.

Stage Five: Acceptance

Everything is ok.  Turn on the gas stove burners without lighting them so methane can flow freely.  Ensure that all windows are locked and secured.  Welcome the first round of guests in and while they are placing their coats in the second bedroom, pour store-bought salsa into little bowls and place with chips on the coffee table. Inform guests of the “help yourself” policy with the cheap-ass boxes of wine.  Place as many metal objects and tin foil that will fit into the microwave.  Remember to compliment your boss’s wife on her new hairstyle, even if it is tragic.  Turn on microwave before grabbing coat and leaving the apartment.  Throw lit Molotov cocktail inside before shutting the front door.

Congratulations, you have survived.


Jonathan’s fiction has been published in Velvet Mafia and the anthologies Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader as well as Wilde Stories 2008; he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and will be graduating from the MFA Program at American University in May 2010.

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