Dinner at my place

by Steve Aitchison © 2001

I couldn't contain my excitement as I danced around the kitchen checking to make sure everything was just right. I closed the oven door and took a quick peek at the timer, which stated that I had another 15 minutes until the chicken was done to perfection. The smell of the paprika and the chilli powder wafted through the kitchen as I prepared the lemon and garnish for the main course, spiced roast chicken. It was my favourite dish and knew that my guests would probably not have tried it before.

I quickly walked around the table preparing the nameplates and trying to get the seating correct as it was a pretty eclectic group of guests I had, and if I sat two of them together I knew there would be trouble. I made sure their name's were spelled correctly: Seat 1, Mahatma Gandhi; seat 2, Virginia Woolf; seat 3 Sigmund Freud; seat 4, Marilyn Monroe; seat 5, Carl G Jung; and seat 6, Doris Stokes.

I must admit that inviting Doris Stokes now seemed to be a bad idea as she might feel a little out of it with the other guests. Although she was deeply interesting she was an ordinary woman who liked the comforts of her own home and might feel a bit bored by the conversation of the other guests.

My stomach felt like a nuclear acid war had taken place inside it, when I heard the bell for the first guest. I guessed it would be Gandhi as I slowly opened the mahogany door. A deep smile crossed his face as he looked at me and opened his arms to embrace me

'It's been a long time Peter' he said warmly as I hugged him like a long lost friend. I felt a deep feeling of contentment around Gandhi, always had done, every time I had visited him, or he, I. I advised him I had prepared a special vegetarian dish for him called 'vegetarian roast', which consisted of brown rice, carrots, mushrooms and finely chopped almonds with grated cheese.

'Ah' he smiled 'your dinners are as varied as your guests. Who might we have this evening' he mused as he sat down, being careful not to look at the name plates. I had always gone to the trouble of not advising the guests who their fellow guests were, this way, I assumed, it would be more exciting for everybody.

The doorbell sounded again. As I approached I heard a heated debate going on, this confounded my worst and only fear for the evening. Freud and Jung had arrived together. As I opened the door Jung was forcefully trying to explain something to Freud. 'Disturbances like schizophrenia cannot be explained by disturbances of a sexual nature. This is where I disagree with your theories and this is one of the reasons I had to go my own way' Freud looked at him disdainfully and forced a smile when I had opened the door.

'Welcome, gentlemen. I hope you are not going to fight tonight, we are in the presence of a great spiritual leader' I tried to make a joke of it but in such a way as to be deadly serious, a joke with a jab I think it's called.

The dinner was going well and everybody seemed to be getting along great. I looked at Marilyn as she spoke with Virginia. She was undoubtedly very sexy, especially as she was wearing a low cut black dress, revealing her cleavage, much to the feigned disgust of Freud (I could see right through him though). Marilyn was talking about her ex husband Arthur Millar and was explaining to Virginia about the plays he had written. Virginia was reciprocating and had told Marilyn about the writing of 'Mrs Dalloway'. I didn't think they would get along somehow, I guess my perception of Marilyn was one of a person who was rather self interested. Not tonight, she was the perfect guest.

I poured some more wine in Doris's glass as she shyly laughed.

'I feel a little tipsy now, I think I should make this my last glass' she giggled again. She was very interesting to me and was still very involved with the spiritualist movement.

'I once read in your book that a spirit had produced a rose' I thought this was a bit on the fantastic side when I had read it and wanted Doris to confirm it.

'Oh yes I know it was amazing, especially as it was the middle of winter' She looked at me and burst out laughing I had to join her in her laughter. She explained to me about ectoplasm and how spirits can manifest themselves physically through this, although, she advised, it did not happen often.

Gandhi had now become interested in the conversation and was listening intently to Doris. I knew he had different beliefs than Doris, but he listened nonetheless and asked her questions.

He openly admitted to her that he did not believe in spiritualism, but, he said: 'If we all believed the same things in life, no progress would be made in the world' he looked at Freud and Jung and smiled, who had still been arguing about their differences in theories before they had started listening to the main conversation.

Jung looked at Freud and smiled and let out a suppressed laugh. They started laughing together and soon the whole table was laughing. I knew then that I had picked the right guests for the dinner party. They were all getting along just fine and every single one of them recounted their stories, much to the delight of the others.

I must admit that Virginia Woolf was a revelation. She had told the party of her love to experience life to the full and to find out who the real Virginia Woolf was. She was an introspector and had to experience feelings for herself to give her characters depth. She even revealed that she had had a lesbian affair with another writer. I think Doris was the only one who was shocked by this. However she is very social, but very complex as well. I was glad I had invited her.

I was smiling as I was clearing the dinner table, everybody had gone except for Marilyn who was helping me with the clearing. All the guests had expressed that they had a wonderful time and even Freud and Jung had settled their differences, for an evening at least. I wiped the plates dry as Marilyn was washing. We talked a little about her life when she was growing up. I felt a little sorry for her as she recounted how she had found out about being adopted. I didn't really realise how hard her life had been. We finished washing and drying the dishes and I was putting the salt and pepper grinders in the top cupboard and turned around to find Marilyn's face almost touching mine. It was pure instinct as I kissed her fully on the mouth. She pulled back and looked at me and then smiled and walked forward to her. I held her face gently and we kissed again. Just then there was a knock at the door, or rather someone had just burst into my house.

'Oh no, not you again'. I looked at Marilyn. She smiled and said she had to go anyway and walked slowly out of the door, smiling as she turned around and blew me a kiss.

'Come on Peter, you know you have to take them'. The men, dressed in white, had been visiting me for years now. They were from another planet, but nobody would believe me. Every few days or weeks, or even hours, I can't seem to keep track of time these days, they would give me a few blue and pink pills to take. I knew they were doing psychological experiments on me and I agreed to play along.

I looked around me. I was now in a white room with padded walls and no windows, I wondered what this experiment was for. I knew in a couple of hours I would be in my own home and I could have another dinner party and possibly carry on where I left of with Marilyn. Life certainly is strange, but it is wonderful sometimes, I guess that's how everybody feels.

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