The Royal Baby was born. All the hoopla and pomp and/or circumstance came and went and we all lived through it. Such a blessing. Such a media circus. Such a crock. We would celebrate with a meal!
That evening, we were scheduled to have a dinner guest. It was a friend of a friend who we’ll call Kendall*. He came to visit my friend, who we’d already invited to dinner that Monday. Not a problem my buddy said. Kendall will make dinner and we’ll bring it over. Vicki talked to him and he announced that he was cooking Chateaubriand. WONDERFUL! I’ve had that cut of steak on occasion in New Orleans and was savoring at the very thought. A couple of hours later, Kendall called back and changed the menu to beef Wellington. Even better. I’ve eaten that twice and have asked both of my wives to make that for me whenever they asked what I wanted for dinner. (Neither ever did).
We were responsible for the salad, bread and wine. Not a problem. Vicki tosses an excellent salad, and I do some outstanding garlic bread. And we live crawling distance to Buster’s Liquor. We also made a couple of appetizers and were awaiting our guests.
Vicki had met Kendall before, but I had not. Charming fellow. Well spoken, nicely dressed, and quite drunk. Our friend had also had a couple. We enjoyed some conversation over the wine and appetizers and it was time for the salad. We sat at the dining room table with white tablecloth and fine china. I mean, it’s not every day somebody cooks Beef Wellington to bring to your home. It was delivered on a platter, cut with the juices flowing. Medium rare with puff pastry baked to perfection. It was wrapped in prosciutto and mushroom with a reduction sauce, like something your order only on special occasions.
We all compliment the meal and the conversation begins. Kendall was raised in the old South. Manners and decorum were the order of the day. Or so he says. Let’s pick up the conversation here, starting with Kendall speaking in a southern, slurry accent:
Kendall: So my sister asks mother to borrow her wedding dress. No big deal, right? But then my mother is all pissed off because my sister didn’t send her a thank-you note. Then my sister get’s pissed off because mom didn’t send her a thank-you note for WEARING the stupid dress. Then they got into this big fight and my sister slapped my mom, but I don’t remember where.
Me: Probably on the face. It was probably on the face.
Kendall: I ought to slap you in the face.
Me: Bring it on (complete with widely accepted hand gesture for “bring it on”).
Well that was the wrong thing to say. Kendall then slaps me in the face. A bitch slap. He was sitting 90° to my left. I didn’t know WHAT had just happened. I was drinking a glass of red wine, which by that time had spilled all over my shirt and onto the white tablecloth. My wine glass broke. I couldn’t believe that just happened. Everyone was silent. Until our friend yelled, “KENDALL! You apologize! Right now!” Kendall then said he was sorry. He moved closer to me and said I had a free shot. I declined. He insisted. I declined. He insisted, again in his southern slurry accent. Long story short, I did not hit our dinner guest. He had, after all, brought over Beef Wellington.
We adjourned to the living room. More wine all around, except for me. I am amazed listening to the stories he tells, trying to hard to believe them. He then starts telling me how to make money. Trout fishing flies. They charge $20/each and you can make them for nothing. “You ought to do it,” he says. Before the night is through, I have a number of $$$ ideas from this man. He swore us to secrecy on the money-making idea he has. Could make him millions. It made me giggle.
I’ve got the music going, and Van Morrison is lovin’ on the stereo. What a Marvelous Night for a Moondance. Kendall asks me to turn it up. I do. He then starts into this interpretive dance that’s a cross between a one partner ballroom move and a pole dance. I refrain from laughing. Out loud. As I’m embarrassed for this guy, I tell Vicki to get up and dance with him. Now my wife can DANCE! So Kendall is now gracefully? twisting and twirling my wife around like he’s been to my friend Benji’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio his whole life. Until he breaks into his signature move. The flip. Yes, the flip. All I’m thinking about right now is Benecio Del Toro in The Usual Suspects.
Mid flip, down go Vicki and Kendall. DOWN GOES FRAZIER! DOWN GOES FRAZIER! They land on the table between the chairs. They’re on the floor among the pieces of what was once a table, the lamp, the skewed shade, a broken light bulb and a framed photo from our honeymoon in which the glass now broken. Vicki had landed on Kendall, who landed, finally, on his own ass. He apologized. Everyone was okay. No humans were harmed in the making of this photograph.
At this point, Kendall is a bit shaken. He needs to calm his nerves. “Does anybody want to smoke some dope?” he asks. Nobody says a word. “It’s just weed,” he explains. None of us want to smoke with him. He looks at me. “I’m on 23 different medications,” I say, like I need a reason not to get high with this guy. He asks if he can light up in the house. I tell him to go out on the patio. He does.
The three of us are all just looking at each other like this is a scene out of a movie. Our friend summed it up in one word. “Gawd!” Four minutes later, Kendall returns to the party. He tells us that he’s acting this way because he’s out of a job. And that all he does is drink. And smoke weed. Vicki sees right through this and calls him on it. He then gets offended that Vicki doesn’t believe him. They go into the kitchen and continue to argue. Our friend tells me that Kendall is in denial and that he’s on everything.
I’ve had enough with the conversation and the company. It’s time for them to leave. It’s a school night. I don’t go to school, but, still. We say our good-byes and he apologizes again. Vicki walks them to the car. They pour him into the truck and Kendall kisses Vicki good-bye on the lips. And then comes the tongue. “Kendall!” Vicki screams. “This was dinner. I love my husband. You go home. You get you some help.”
There is a message left the next day on Vicki’s cell phone. It’s Kendall. He apologizes. Again. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Kendall again. I hope this is the weirdest dinner guest we ever have. But if you’re in the neighborhood, and happen to have some Beef Wellington . . .
*names have been changed to protect the ignorant.