Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Fantastic Dinner Party of Scott Barman

"The Fantastic Dinner Party of Scott Barman"
a tender yet quaint pull of the eyes about the musician host Scott,
if it were hastily written by Ernest Hemingway.
by Jake Kilroy

It was warm and a breeze came, so the windows were left open and the sky looked like it would be the great death that many soldiers drink to. The lights glowed in the garden and in the distance Scott heard the cars go by but they were not the guests. The guests would come later, after he had taken down shots of cool liquor like a sniper lowering the count of enemy troops.

He put on his black shirt and navy jacket and adjusted the radio to bring music to the room. It would be a long night and he felt energy in his bones coming to him now, finally, after a long day of preparing the food.

The air smelled of summer, but this was not enough. He had always loved the smell of coffee, even as a boy, when he would play in his metal band. He no longer saw those friends, but this was life. This was the torrid sea forever pushing us into the horizon. He lit a large candle in a vase filled with coffee beans and it was good and sweet and honest.

There was loneliness in the house. It had been there, truly. But tonight was the end of that. The women would fill his home with mirth and conversation and his bed would be full and he would be happy. A man does not need much to endure, but a bed of women has hurt no musician in this life.

He arranged his instruments and was careful of his selection. The piano can break a woman's heart more quickly than a ruined marriage. The guitar can be as tactful as a gun and it carries the boom of a Lazarus Pit. His orchestra pieces made up a militia and he was its captain.

He was a man with means, which is a god to many. To the restless and willing, a god is a man with all the control he can imagine, and the truest music is the sound of mutilating and mangling the nerves. It is a beautiful sound to those with ears that can bare it. This was a country of gods. He knew that.

He brushed his teeth and listened to the bossa nova. When he was done, he called the girl.


Her voice was soft.


"Is everything ready?"

"Everything is ready. I've poured the wine."

"We aren't the lovely type, you know," she said. He voice came excited and feline in its calm.

"You are who I want."

"All of us?"


"You are ambitious."

"I am a lot of things, but I am no coward."

"I'll have to consider the wine."

"You'll have some."

He put down the phone. That was enough. He would save his muscles for the lovemaking.

The smell of coffee and the taste of mint exhausted him with memories. He had thrown dinner parties before and the familiarity weakened him with beauty. The breath of warm lasagna coughed from the oven was not new. He was a man of family and of friends. There had been great laughs in his kitchen and sublime foreplay in his bedroom. There was the quality of an aristocrat to his tongue and the fury of a drunk to his blood. There would be no reason to not be welcomed in his home if one was of good faith in manners and an interest in dice.

The table blazed like a holiday. He watched the flames move in the breeze and he remembered the nights of his youth, when he was a college student studying music in the northern country. The sonatas he had written then as a young man in the city, the ones that had no place for the world but in the ear of a sleepy girl who had stayed the night, they came to him now.

He would go to the cafes that needed tending to and order sandwiches that were in desperate need of care and drink like a man with nothing to prove but honor and he would wait for the sun to go down to find hope or lust at a party near campus.

He had loved the darkness then as he did now. It was only after dinner he could resume his thoughts. The day would often prove useless and lost to the drought of time. He would bury himself in legal work or swim until the sun was no longer above him. At the pool he would watch the women, but they were often not what he was after. There would be a young white woman at the pool on stray afternoons, and it would stir his heart, but that was all.

In the kitchen now he sipped the wine and cut himself a pepper to enjoy with his glass before every appetite within his strange and serene body took him in the promised bellows of exceptional manhood. He would wait for the guests and he would give them everything he had in him, no matter how wild or sincere.

He took out the sheet of garlic bread and dropped it on the counter of scattered knives and forks. A crash of silver sounded from below the dish. The garlic bread was burned. The edges crumbled like ash. It spoke of gross poetry like a log in the hearth of the fireplace that his mother never let him use when she was out of town. This was not a surprise to him. He knew he would be a wealthy man that could set sail and live his life at sea eating fish and drinking port if only someone would pay him to burn garlic bread.

It was the truth and that is all that matters to some. It should matter to most but men are often too proud to take their blows like the prizefighters they boast to be in bars at last call. What should be nothing is everything to a liar. It is worse when the only person in the bar is the bartender. Not even the mirrors talk to the loudest scoundrel.

His friends would always talk about the garlic bread as if it had never been the grand curse that it came to be in his formidable years of cooking. It haunted him from his earliest days as a host. The wine, the women, the whipped cream had always been to his preference, but the garlic bread would laugh in the freezer and then cackle in the oven. A bare brutal beating would come from his compatriots, but they were at least true and loyal, and that is all a man can ask of his friends and lovers.

The door rattled with knocks now and he heard the squealing and giggling of his guests in the courtyard on the other side. He opened the cabinet beneath the sink and dropped the mangled sacrifice into its usual temple and closed it. There would be no garlic bread this evening. There would be wine and sex and lasagna but the garlic bread had played it's part in the death of a quiet chef's reputation. He wanted the women and there would be no fool left in the kitchen.

He brushed his blazer, moved a hand through his hair and surveyed his teeth in the mirror of his dining hall before he answered the door. He turned the knob and the night was tempered with glory.

"Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii," he said.

A half dozen Asian women in black dresses stumbled into his house with fervor and eagerness. They passed Scott and removed their coats and kissed his cheek and showed the white teeth they couldn't hide in their red cheeks any longer. They had arrived in a cab and he closed the door. He would drive them home in the morning, after a swim in the nude with good sunlight and iced tea.

"Who wants wine?" he asked.

Each woman showed him the bottle of wine they brought with them. They still howled like their throats tickled with exotic feathers in each breath. They had the same notions as him and they might have been even more riddled with the dreams that we so often find pretty before sleep in a bed alone for one night too long. These women were the last thoughts he would have on his deathbed, he surely knew.

"Very good," Scott said. He pointed his finger in a quick jab and made an elegant sound. "Mmhmm. Very good indeed."

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