The Grill Party

So yesterday, my wife says to me, “Today is my aunt’s eightieth birthday, and we need to be there at 5:30 PM.”  Oh boy, another birthday and another ten cups of coffee and ten different plates of cakes that everyone is expected to have and with that thought in mind, I quietly pushed the bedroom scales under the dresser with my toe. I intend to exercise discipline tonight and not let my brother-in-law draw me into a whiskey drinking match that has somehow become a kind of idiotic tradition! I don’t care much for beer nor where it comes from, but a good glass of smooth whiskey every once in a while is fine, but when my brother-in-law lights the grill, anything goes, including the brain!

At great length, she is ready after putting together enough food to feed an entire Kindergarten, so taking hold of three full bags and two gifts, I struggled somewhat awkwardly out the door in the direction of the garage while she remained behind looking for her purse. Don’t I just love it when I get to play the bell boy while she lingers doing whatever women do to avoid looking silly as the neighbors smile as I limp by, looking like a forlorn schoolboy in the hot sun!

Finally, she shows up, and I start the Golf and off we are, over the river and to the house, to aunties house we go! La la la la. Yeah, I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it, I know, I know, I know, I don’t want to, don’t want to! Eventually, we do show up, and I get to unpack as my wife takes the lighter of the packages and her overloaded purse and makes a beeline for the garden door as I dutifully play the bell boy, again! Guys let me tell you, don’t ever marry foreign women because they have been taught that American men are very generous and kind hearted and you’re gonna get abused! Please, believe me!

After making it inside and putting everything on the table in the dining room, I went outside to see the two men, Marloo and Mucki standing over a hot grill under the hot sun drinking room temperature beers, which in the simplest term possible, means warm. Heaven help me, I muttered to myself as I turned back inside and marched down to the cellar where he keeps a bar and upon opening the refrigerator, lo and behold cold beers! So taking three of them, I went back upstairs and outside to the Patio and set the three beers on the table and went to unroll the Patio shade, but when I came back, the beer’s had disappeared! Well, actually not. I discovered two open beers next to Marloo and Mucki and Susaniah his older and single sister had the third one, opened mind you, in front of her at the table! Remember what I said about being generous?

So, of course, everyone shows up over the next couple of minutes except for my wife’s daughter and her man and their one-year-old son, Jon. The daughter, like the mother, doesn’t have too much use for a clock! After the usual round of coffee and cakes, the beer having been temporarily put aside, the grilling began in earnest. I always say that when women are in the majority, the men should look for a place of relative safety because if we don’t, we’ll have to contend with hearing about shopping and baby toys and furniture deals and bra sizes and all of that stuff that drives a man of normal intelligence batty! But we were destined to suffer and suffer we did! Then the talk turned to the best razors for keeping their legs smooth, and that’s when we started to pay particular attention, I mean, smooth legs, which guy doesn’t like to have his lady walk around with hairless legs?

Now there were eight women there and four men plus three children, the others couldn’t make it because of work schedules and two cats and one dog, at last count, oh, and of course, the aquarium with a multitude of exotic fish. But now, we four men were paying close attention as the women spoke of body maintenance and Marloo says to me, “Hey, Ed, in my bar I have a bottle of Jim Beam Honey Flavored whiskey, and I think we could use some about now!” I didn’t disagree and headed promptly for the cellar and soon returned victoriously carrying the bottle like it was a Roman artifact from days gone by because it was the only one of it’s kind! Now while all of this was taking place, everyone else, including the other two men, were busily eating and talking, and you know, the usual things that take place at family grills and so the women DID NOT NOTICE that Marloo and I had poured ourselves some whiskey and were now happily grilling and talking about cameras, you know, the stuff that men like to talk about, motors, politics, the best meat to grill and so on, things that our wives refuse to relate to! (But we still had our ears tuned in to what the women were talking about, Heh heh heh!)

After a few glasses though, I noticed that he was talking faster and often stumbling over his words and his tongue was moving at a higher rate of speed than was his brain. Now, to be honest, he had had a couple of beers before I showed up and after four “small” glasses of whiskey, there might be some signs of cranial damage that might possibly affect his ability to effectively communicate. As for me, why I was doing perfectly fine, in absolute control of my thoughts and tongue and felt that I would leave this grill party intact! I would be the victor, and even Ceaser would have to acknowledge my hard iron discipline!

Now Susaniah is an attractive woman of 48, single with three grown daughters, two who have moved into their own apartments and one who will turn eighteen soon and just loooves the mirror. I think that she is somehow related to the Kardashians or however they call themselves! Now their mother is a very interesting woman, that is if you like frying pans. You don’t generally notice them until you need to use one and she is kinda like that. She knows everything about nothing, and it takes hours to get her interested in something if it is outside the realm of furniture, apps or hometown “knowledge!” (But she does have legs!”) Which is why Marloo and I were paying attention when they began to talk about razors and legs!

Tristunia, the wife of Marloo, is a hard working lady of 37 who absolutely runs the house on her unforgiving terms and Marloo does everything she tells him to do because he knows how angry she can be if he doesn’t! Why she even bought him an apron so he wouldn’t get his clothes dirty when he does the dishes! But Marloo adores his wife because she can shave her legs by just looking at them! Or so he claims! Tristunia is a tall woman of 5′ 9″ and lithe and she has brown eyes with a glint of green and when she gets angry why she squints her eyes until all that you’d see are very narrow piercing beams of pure energy focused on the helpless victim, such as Marloo! And she has thin lips (we all know what that means!), and when she presses them tight together, all that you’d hear is a menacing hisssss before she strikes. And Marloo loves that and DON’T ask me why! I would run just as fast as I could for the hills and not look back for all the gold to be found in them thar hills!

Sometimes she tries that on me, but I always counter attack by giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and tell her just how beautiful she is and that Marloo should be sooo happy to have such a woman of great and intense character in his life. Like ice in the sunshine or honey on toast, I escape without being bitten! A snake’rs charm? ( I’m glad she can’t read English!)

My wife, in the meantime, keeps watching me out of the corner of her eye because she knows that I am very capable of pulling off serious antics that could have everyone either rolling in laughter or looking for a noose to hang me with! Some men become violent with whiskey, but not me. I’m relaxed with a good sense of humor, and that is why BIG SISTER IS WATCHING ME! Now, my wife is a small lady of 5′ 5″ I think, or maybe less, I’ve never measured her much less weighed her, and I keep a safe distance when she steps on the scales as any thoughtful man would and try to keep my opinions to myself when she complains about her weight. Note the word “TRY.” (Sometimes, I have to dodge a book or whatever else is in reach!)

But on this particular evening, I’m in full control even as I watch Marloo and Mucki move around on wobbly legs and protruding bellies stuffed with pork chops and steaks and Turkish bread and fresh salads and a bottle of beer and the side glass of whiskey that I surreptitiously kept refilling when Marloo wasn’t paying attention! Besides, he had it coming to him after pulling it off on me a couple of times! As for me, well, I’m doing mighty fine! Dazzling the ladies with my conversation and knowledge of the world, generously receiving the compliments being directed at me and holding a stately stature as I moved gracefully in and out among the guests! Has anyone ever heard the saying, “Pride goeth before the fall?” Neither have I.

At length, we all retired to the back lawn where we all settled ourselves comfortably in chairs and Marloo and I took our places on some kind of strange recliners which had one lean far back with the shoulders and lower back, the buttocks mere inches from the ground, the knees somewhere in the vicinity of Mount Everest and the feet somewhere in the Gobi Desert, a horizontal “Z” formation you could say. It would prove to be disastrous when it came to time to stand up as I was to humbly learn!

So as we were laying there just looking up into the night sky, relaxing, the conversation turned once again to “legs” and how attractive they are to healthy men, such as us of course. Marloo, once again made the claim that Tristunia only had to look at her legs and the tiny hairs would miraculously disappear, and her legs would become glass smooth! I told him that Susaniah had the smoothest legs because she waxed them every day with beeswax and then the little fairies would swoop over and gently pull the tiny hairs out without the slightest after effects! He retorted that because his wife had the best legs, the fairies would come naturally to her first and then after asking and receiving permission from Tristunia, they would then fly over to Susaniah!  I told him to stop being silly, Fairies go first to the best legs and Susaniah has the best legs in all of town! No, he said, Tristunia has the best legs in all of Bavaria! That was not possible; I declared because as everyone knows in all of Sothern Germany that Susaniah won first place at the Grand Fairy Council that took place under the great Oak at Haberdabble Island in the middle of the Chiemsee!

“Did she really?” Marloo asked with wide open eyes, and I proudly said, “Yes, because I was an honored guest by personal invitation by the Grand King Fairy himself!” Marloo then called for his youngest daughter who came over, and he told her to bring us two goblets of the finest wine that he’d received as an honored guest also on Habberdabble Island! There was silence for a period of time as we waited for the finest wine and I was thinking that surely he must be lying because I was an honored guest on Habberdabble Island and not him, but what if he were telling the truth? My heart was trembling at the thought that I may be forced to admit that Tristunia has the better legs instead of Susaniah and that all the little fairies might indeed be serving the true queen of “legs!”

Marloo’s daughter came back with two goblets filled with a red nectar that sparkled in the Patio light although they looked a little like plastic Dixie cups, but, of course, that was just my imagination because the Great Fairy King would never allow his best wine to be poured into such cheap goblets! As we raised our goblets to the night sky and gave great honor to the mighty Fairy King who would ultimately determine who had the smoothest legs in all of Bavaria, and I was sure that it was my Queen, Susaniah and not his Queen, Tristunia, we tipped the goblets and the heavenly nectar flowed down our throats. Strange, I thought to myself, it tastes a little like Koolaid with a shot of Jim Beam. The mighty Fairy King had good taste, and now I was sure that I would be vindicated in the sight of my Queen!

At that moment, we saw one of the ladies-in-waiting approaching, and she did look vaguely familiar and asked if we needed anything to which Marloo answered; “Methinks another goblet of the Fairy King’s wine would be ( a long burp followed by a pair of unintelligible phrases) from my Queen’s Handmaid would be fine. She did look familiar although I wasn’t sure why and where did I see her before? My mind was clear, and my vision was still, or rather, somewhat in focus and my tongue, although the ears didn’t quite catch the meaning of what my words were intending, was still able to function on a semi-intelligent level. The Queen’s or whoever was Queen had sent her handmaid to inquire about our health and to look after our needs, and so I said to her, “You there, bring us some of the Fairy King’s wine and delay not lest you be found scouring the stone floor in the kitchen!” I looked at Marloo and we both raised our goblets, though they did resemble those Dixie cups that I aforementioned and laughed hysterically and did not see the Handmaid as she went around our reclining beds although we did feel it when for no apparent reason, we found ourselves laying on the King’s carpet!

Ouch! How did that happen as we struggled to get back on our feet, the goblets that once held the precious Fairy King’s nectar were nowhere to be found as the sounds of mirth rang in our ears, and the landscape slowly turned around us! “Methinks we’ve been bewitched!” exclaimed Marloo as he tried to keep his balance and I must confess that the world was tipping off to one side and I threw myself onto the King’s carpet so that I would not be pulled over the edge! “Here, I’ll help you, Sir Ed!” he cried as he extended a wavering hand to keep me from rolling off into the void! At great danger to himself, he finally pulled me to safety in the reclining couch and then he was able to pull himself into his, and there we lay, trembling and bathed in sweat from the terrifying ordeal!

As we were recovering from our deadly trial that was certainly done to test our courage, Queen Susaniah and Queen Tristunia appeared with their handmaid who looked eerily familiar to my weakened state and stood over, looking down upon us and they were soooo beautiful and Marloo agreed with me that the three most beautiful women in the whole wide universe stood before us in all their regal splendor. Are blue jeans considered regal clothing? I was having just a little difficulty collecting my thoughts at this point, you know, but I was till in full command of my, what is it called? Oh, yes, mental facilities!

At length, Queen Tristunia gave orders to her Handmaids to help Sir Marloo and bring him to his room, and Queen Susaniah also gave orders to her Handmaid, what was her name? I knew her, but at that moment, I couldn’t recall from where! And she led me to my Chariot, and she took the reigns, and off we galloped away to do battle against the dragon foes of the great Fairy King!

Epilogue:

I was sitting at the breakfast table eating some fruit and on my third cup of coffee as my wife quietly read the newspaper. I felt fine and rested, considering that I did well at the grill party last night and had full control at all times. As I said, Ceaser would have ben proud of me and so I looked at my wife as she reached for a piece of fruit and said, ” Well, we certainly had a good time last night, and I am proud of myself.” to which my wife somewhat dryly replied, “Yes, my husband talking and making no sense, wobbling around on two, sometimes one leg, trying to attack a tree because he thought it was a dragon and holding on to a bush because he was afraid that the world was tipping and singing all the way home about ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon.’ Yes, Ed, if you say so.