Have you guys read this book? The Gatsby one? I did, during lockdown. It’s so good! I really appreciate a man who knows how to throw a good party, and after a full year in lockdown, it’s obvious I need to come out Jay-style. He, like me, had a lot of cool talents to brag about, and knew that a perfectly executed action plan was the critical component to winning admiration from peers.
Now, the first ingredient for any successful Gatsby-esque party is atmosphere. I’ve been stuck in my 498 square foot apartment for 14 months, so you’d better believe I have spent a good percentage (100) of my stimulus money transforming this sucker into a Dollar Tree approximation of an old-money estate house.
I, naturally, will play the part of the man-about-home host, receiving my guests at the bottom of the cement staircase that leads to my basement apartment front door.
During this greeting, I will casually reference my water feature-slash-personal shower (a garden hose jerry-rigged to my neighbour’s water tank). I will point out a crafty bit of electric tape demarcating the precise point on the tap that sits the water temperature slyly in-between an icy Arctic Ocean and a Lobster Soup boil, thus proving myself to be a man who lives dangerously, yet still has a taste for the finer things (temperate showers).
I will then lead them indoors, having set out name cards on various pieces of furniture repurposed to serve as seats. As for myself, a confident crouch atop my chest-of-drawers will command an absolute silence, wherein I will demonstrate my abilities to, first, make my ankle click on command, and second, restring my acoustic guitar without having to call my dad for help. While I cannot technically “play” the guitar yet, I am now an expert in the field of guitar maintenance, an admirable trait, to be sure.
As I have been flossing three, often four times a day, the next demonstration will be a swift toothpick jab to my gums, a violent looking gesture that will produce much less blood than any will expect. Then, I will gargle white vinegar. There is no reason to have this skill, but I did pick up the habit and wish to get some play out of it.
Vinegar spat, I will rip my shirt in half, proving that my bi-weekly push-ups were not a waste of time. Tattered shirt discarded, my guests will undoubtedly start to ogle my surprisingly decent tan. I will shame these friends for being indoor cats, as I push back a curtain to reveal a single beam of sun slipping through the crack of my apartment’s only window. I have been standing in the sunbeam everyday, I will explain, slowly rotating my body like a rotisserie chicken, and I have the healthy, red-speckled skin to show for it.
Being shirtless still, I will show all eight of my injection sites, a subtle hint that I am well on my way to collecting not one, but every vaccine, federally regulated or otherwise. A truly a multi-national affair for a supposedly mono-national man.
Next, I will order wings, and refer to the delivery person by his first and last name, making sure to slip a very visible 10 dollar bill into his pocket. Truly, a man of the people! The chicken boxes will sit, cooling, on my steamer trunk-slash-dining table, as I lay out a spread of homemade, adventurous dips, proving that I no longer rely on “recommended” flavor pairings. I will serve these experimental sauces in dog bowls, one for every time I thought about, but ultimately didn’t, purchase a puppy.
Dinner ingested, I will point at “A” though “V” of my carefully alphabetized floorboards before lifting floorboard “W” to reveal my worm collection. I will not let anyone with sauce still in hand near my worms, lest they allow their primal instincts to get the better of them.
Then, we will hit the road in a Kia Sorento, rented specifically for this affair. Oh, how my guests will tremble in fear as I brazenly blow through a police check stop! The fear, soon assuaged, will turn into wonderment as I set the cops at ease by confidently demonstrating the neatness in which I can recite the alphabet backwards whilst simultaneously hopping on one foot. What once was the bedtime routine of my solitary confinement will soon be my ticket to avoiding imprisonment. I will toss my head and laugh at the moon, floating in the sweet irony of a vaccinated world!
Released from their crude, temporary custody, I will race to the public square and recite a list of all the books I read but never finished! Then, I will hold a public debate, using knowledge gained from the political theory podcasts I streamed while falling asleep!
Having won the debate on (topic to be determined) I will give my opponent(s) (a) handshake(s) and help them tie a Windsor knot! A man still humble in victory!
There I will bid my guests adieu and disappear into the night, leaving my Kia Sorento in their awe-struck care.
How they will wonder about me, this man who used every second of his time in lockdown to transform himself into such a specimen. I, out sight, will hail a taxi to take me home, relieved, performance complete. I will lay in bed, reflecting on my perfect evening, waiting, hoping, wishing for another Covid variant to pop up so I do not have to interact with anyone else for at least another year.