“Um, this is still Paul’s house right?” Amy asked.
“Yes, it is.”
Music blared out of the speakers, thrash or death or some kind of metal. She could see dozens of people, most of whom she didn’t recognize, holding red plastic cups and moving to the music, though it was difficult to see through the haze of smoke.
“And this is the low-key, post-holiday nosh and drinks party he throws every year?”
“That’s what the email said.”
At that moment chanting started from the kitchen. James and Amy were both drawn forward by the sound several feet until they could see through the entryway.
“So, do you recognize the guy doing the keg stand?” James asked.
“No. Since when does this party have a keg?”
“I have no idea.” James began peering through the haze. “We should find Paul.”
“Good plan. I’m going to put this in the…” As Amy was stepping toward the kitchen to put down her dip the keg stand ended – and the standee began spraying the entire kitchen with beer to much raucous laughter. “Actually, I’ll just hold on to this for a bit.”
James and Amy wandered through the party, trying to figure out when Paul had decided to throw a kegger, and why he hadn’t said anything about the change. In a corner they spotted Alan, a long-time friend who always brought a half-dozen bottles of fairly expensive wine to the normal version of this gathering.
“These – people – took all of my wine and poured it into the largest pot in the kitchen, added a bottle of vodka and some fruit juice from the fridge, and they’re drinking it.”
Amy couldn’t decide if Alan was disgusted or offended and settled on a mix of the two. “What’s happening? Have you seen Paul?”
“I got here a little early and had a chance to talk to him. Remember that radio thing from November?”
James groaned. “Sure. Paul had to beat a phone-in game, then answer a trivia question and sing along to a song live on the radio. He took seventh place. He’s been talking about how he did so well and how he was going to receive a major award for weeks. What about it?”
“Welcome to Paul’s award.” Alan sarcastically gestured to the party.
“The radio station ruined his party? Yay?” said Amy confusedly.
“Wait, isn’t that –“ James pointed through the doorway. “That guy, isn’t he – that guy? The one who was in those movies in the 80’s, with the catchphrase? What is his name?”
“His name is Dirk.” Alan said. “Yes, that’s him. I got to shake his hand earlier when his friends carried my wine to the kitchen.”
“Paul knows him? I’m amazed he never brought this up before.”
“Paul met him tonight. Apparently Dirk arrived and said the party looked cool but a little calm and asked if he could invite a few friends over too. Paul said sure and this,” Alan once again gestured to the party “is the result.”
“Wait, how is this Paul’s award?” Amy asked. A loud crash came from somewhere behind them, “And where is Paul, anyway?”
“Paul is hiding in the bedroom. This is seventh prize – Dirk shows up at a party you’re throwing. The fact that he’s still stuck in the 80’s frat comedies he starred in is a bug or a feature, depending on your point of view.”
“Why doesn’t Paul tell them all to leave?”
“I asked him that, when they were rolling in the keg. Paul said he couldn’t do that to his 'won' friend.” Alan looked at the bowl in Amy’s hands. “Is that your cheese dip?”
“Do you want to both come over to my place? We can open some wine without additives and eat it all ourselves.”
“Yes, that sounds amazing.”
“Should we invite Paul too?” James asked. The three of them stared at each other.
***The LJ Idoling continues. To read other takes on the topic go here. The puns attacked my brain early this year.***