THE DINNER PARTY by NICK ROMEO
It’s Sunday evening in a small town outside of London, which is about an hour’s drive from Columbus Ohio. The clock just blasted forth six gongs – the usual time this average everyday newlywed couple pauses for dinner. Carrie spent all week putting together a plate of leftovers she collected by rejuvenating the food with a few sprits of Frank’s Red Hot and a side of apple sauce.
“I have dinner ready,” Carrie mentions.
“Hopefully it’s Sushi,” Harry half-heartedly mutters.
“Sorry, I ran out of mercury and salmonella,” Carrie responds.
“Well, I’ll eat this couch cushion then.”
Carrie shifts her hips to the side, and clenches the bottom of her dress, “I have something you can …”
A loud pounding on the front door interrupts.
“Who could it be at this hour?” Harry responds.
Carrie straightens out her dress, shoves her blonde hair to the side, and pounces at the door. Before she can grasp the knob, the door bursts open. A muscle-bound man carrying a sword, and wearing a metal skirt, leather sandals with a helmet decorated with wings walks into the room.
“Greetings humans. I’m Mercury. I heard there is food to consume,” he shouts with a thunderous voice.
“Umm, wow.” Carrie responds.
“Nope. No food to consume, unless you want to share this couch cushion with me.” Harry bites off the corner of their second hand stained sofa. Strands of fiber get stuck in his teeth.
“I hereby proclaim myself willing to consume your couch cushion,” Mercury bellows.
Another knock at the door interrupts the conversation.
“Who could it be at this hour?” Mercury shouts with his sword raised.
Carrie squeezes Mercury’s bicep and winks. “Do you work out?”
Mercury laughs, “No. I simply have good genes.”
Harry opens the door. A man and woman step inside the room holding a covered plate. “Hello, we’re your new neighbors. My name is Sam and this is my wife Ella. We brought you salmon.”
“Thanks so much.” Harry takes the plate of salmon. “It’s very nice to meet you. My name is Harry and this is Carrie Eckture. Welcome to the neighborhood.”
Mercury snatches the plate from Harry’s hands and swallows the food, including the plate and plastic covering, and then belches.
“That was rude,” Harry asserts.
“That was hot,” Carrie counters.
“I agree with Carrie,” Sam continues.
“I agree with Harry,” Ella mentions.
Everyone in the room stops, because they heard another knock on the door, but this time the knock was much louder than Mercury's. The door bursts off the hinges hurling splinters and glass through the room.
A brawny man with long silver hair and a silver beard jumps into the room, wearing unisex floral print scrubs, holding a falchion.
“I, Syphilis Oliver Meenadz, proclaim this story to be the worst Nick Romeo ever wrote. And I have considered the story about the teacher and the great grandson of Gandhi. Actually, all of his stories are really bad, but this by far is the worst.”
“Are you a demigod?” Sam asks.
“Are you Greek?” Ella proposes.
“Are you hungry? Because I am,” Harry remarks.
“Are you single?” Carrie bids.
Syphilis releases a hefty loud laugh. The chandelier and dishes shake. “I am son of King Aeolus of Thessaly. My brother just recently passed, due to a large rock crushing his body. I am on a quest to Ephyra to bury him with honor and return the rock to the top of the mountain.”
Mercury steps forward. “I happen to enjoy this story, and I think Nick Romeo is almost interesting.”
Syphilis swings his falchion at Mercury’s neck, chopping off his head. Harry and Carrie scream. Sam and Ella turn green and throw up on the carpet. Syphilis steps over the vomit, and between the screaming Harry and Carrie, to pick up the severed head.
“Alas poor Nick who writes this stupid story. I knew him once, a fellow of minute jest. He is a pain in the back and stomach like food bourne illness. How abhorrent his imagination is! For his good stories, if there are any, must be forges. Where is a glib song now? Where are our flashes of merriment when you set the dinner table and roar?”
Harry, Carrie, Sam and Ella clap and whistle. Syphilis bows, “Thank you my friends.” He raises both hands, “Thank you. I spent eight years in theater.” Syphilis Oliver Meenadz takes another bow and tosses Mercury’s head over his shoulder. The head crashes through the window, rolls down the hill, and crosses four lanes of traffic causing a nine-car pileup.
Syphilis gently rubs his hands together, “Well, I feel the need for physical sustenance. What can be acquisitioned to rejuvenate my body?”
“Sorry…” Sam begins.
“Mercury ate it.” Ella continues.
“I might have a Twinkie in the cupboard.” Harry mentions. “It’s been there since we built the house.”
“Me.” Carrie states.
Syphilis turns to Carrie, “I do beg your pardon, but‒”
They stop their conversation because they hear a phone ringing. Harry asserts, “I’ll get it.”
He picks up the receiver, holds it to his ear, and tries to keep from being tied up by the cord. “Hello. Yeah, she’s right here. No, she’s not busy, but we’re getting ready to eat soon. Sure, hold on.” He puts the phone down on the sink counter, “Carrie, it’s for you.”
She picks up the receiver, “Hello. Oh, hi Nick. How are you? Yeah, I’m ok. Just slightly starved. No, I didn’t mean hungry. I’m sorry – I got sidetracked. Umm yes, I will keep that in mind. Yes. Ok I will. Thanks for calling – Love you.” Carrie hangs up.
The dinner party stood silently waiting for the synopsis of the phone call. “That was Nick Romeo. He said we should insert a section of serious discussion. Nick mentioned that when he brought this piece to his writing workshop they suggested to break up the onslaught of jokes with a down moment. This confuses me since I thought his jokes were the down moment.”
“What does Nick Romeo know about being serious?” Harry asks.
“Not much. I think he’s relying on us to help him with this,” Carrie comments.
“I heard he laughed when a little kid fell down the last four concrete steps at an arena center,” Sam stated. Sam still is green-colored.
"Well, I heard he viewed early Kimbo Slice fight videos as works of comedy," Ella announces. She is still green-colored as well.
Syphilis steps forward and plops his falchion into the carpet, nearly striking his big toe. “Do you feel that Gravitons, the subatomic particles which enable gravity, will be discovered in our lifetime? The dilemma is that gravity is the weakest of the four forces of nature; therefore, this indicates the particles are incredibly tiny, making them difficult to detect. Some beings do not realize that gravity is indeed the weakest of the forces of nature, until it's too late.” Syphilis pauses, puts his head down and closes his eyes for a moment.
He returns to the debate, “Since this planet is large it wields a considerable gravitation pull. We function rather well, or at least have gotten used to the amount of gravity here on earth. But notice how people move when on the moon, which is 1/80th the mass of earth – they are seen high-jumping from point to point effortlessly. All matter has a gravitational pull, it is just a fact that many objects we encounter each day do not have noticeable effects.”
“I definitely notice your gravitational effect on me,” Carrie blurts out while leaning to the side and twirling a lock of her hair.
"I watched a documentary about how corporations regulate the food supply. Some companies own patents on genetically modified seeds. One corporation is Monsanto. At first patents weren’t given to firms because of the complexity of these seeds. How would one correctly define all the DNA attributes to hold a legal and sound protection of the product? After taking the case to the Supreme Court, these corporations are now able to acquire these patents. Therefore, they can organize their firms into a monopoly, where they can accrue a large amount of money in the short-run production and sale of their product.” Harry divulges this while rubbing his stomach.
Carrie adjusts the neck line of her dress, “All this talk of seed.”
Harry continues, “Did you know, if you switch to a vegetarian diet for a year, you can have more of a positive impact than if you drove around in a hybrid car for a year? Because of our culture has a hunger for hamburgers, land needs clear cut to allow cows to graze. Due to the extra number of cows grazing, there is a higher amount of methane and carbon dioxide in the air – and with far less trees to filter the gasses.”
“I don’t think I could ever give up meat,” Carrie responds.
“Me neither.” Ella continues, “Me and Sam prefer fish. But that diet has its problems. Parasites. I think the most fascinating parasite is the T.Ghondii. I’m not sure if it’s contracted from fish but I know rats can pick it up. When rats contract the organism, it reprograms their brain so the rat is no longer afraid of cats. Then the cat eats the rat. That rhymed. A few more sentences like that, I could have a rap album. Anyway, the parasite eventually wants to be inside the cat, because that is where the protozoa can reproduce. Fortunately, it’s not too serious when a human gets T.Ghondii. But there have been cases reported of people who catch that bug driving a car more recklessly than normal, and some have even had thoughts of harming themselves. But who can really say if these issues can be attributed to the parasite?”
“I sometimes find myself watching Youtube videos of people extracting Botfly larva from their skin. I saw this one video where they filmed brownish ooze seeping from the hole where the larva lived. The person in the video said that was the parasite eliminating waste.” Sam notes.
Carrie squints, “You both just ruined my mood.”
A tall figure walks into the room through the dilapidated doorway. She has long blonde wavy hair and wears a long black trench coat, black boots, and an eye patch over her left eye. She holds a casserole dish with foil covering the top.
Syphilis laughs even louder than he did before. This time the chandelier falls from the ceiling and the dishes shatter. Harry, Carrie, Sam, and Ella laugh along with Syphilis.
Syphilis howls, “What is this lady’s name?”
“Patch Adams,” Sam blurts out.
“Lisa Left-Eye,” Ella giggles.
“Aye Matey,” Harry crows.
“Wow. My mood just returned. Are you wearing anything under that?” Carrie beams.
The woman raises her hand, and the laughter stops. “Buonasera. My name is Candy Lobbra, and I brought lasagna.”
“Candy is a sweet name.” Sam giggles.
“Nice to meet you…sweety.” Ella taunts.
Sam and Ella are still green colored from their bought with vomiting. They have not yet returned to their regular everyday skin color.
“Lasagna…thanks for bringing this - I’m so hungry.” Harry states.
“I love the boots. Where did you get them?” Carrie asks.
Syphilis points his falchion, “Could you explain why there is a wire running from your casserole dish to inside your coat? I have a suspicion that it is not to keep the ‘lasagna’ warm.”
“Enough,” Candy shouts. She rips open her coat to reveal an array of wires connecting red cylinders which are strapped to her waist.
Sam gasps, “Is that dynamite?”
“I like to call them Roman Candles,” Candy retorts.
“Candles? Hopefully they make the room smell fresh. The fish smell in here is nauseating me,” Ella
Sam and Ella’s normal skin color starts to return.
“Please tell me that there really is lasagna in the casserole dish,” Harry begs. “I’m so hungry.”
“Victoria’s Secret! Niiiiice,” Carrie Eckture points out.
Candy Lobbra pulls the foil off the casserole dish to show another assortment of wires connecting to C4. A big red button is in the center of the dish. Candy hovers her finger an inch above the button. "I will not allow Nick Romeo to be insulted. He had a challenging time in high school. The kids would throw food at him while ridiculing him in the cafeteria, yet he did not gun down his classmates as many have done for far less. Now he displays so much compassion that he is known to rescue earth worms from a drain pipe and relocate them to a grassy field. Also, he often walks around Walmart to help older ones get food from the higher shelves. We used to date before I went to jail for arson. And by the way, that’s why I wear this patch.”
“Who cares? He’s still a dork,” Harry, Carrie, Sam and Ella scream in unison.
“Actually, I care. You have an excellent point, Candy. I have learned that I am in error. Now I am on team Nick,” Syphilis states.
Candy Lobbra frowns, “In all truth ladies and gentlemen, Nick Romeo doesn’t care. He just told me right now.”
She presses the big red button.
Nick Romeo is a multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer. Nick lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with his wife and cat named Megatron.