Once inside, Arthur found himself partnered with the friend of one of his students, for a match of beer pong. It took little time for a crowd to gather and it seemed Arthur was a fan favorite. It wasn’t enough and he and his bubbly teammate were bounced.
Arthur didn’t mind, though, as the next team had been sitting on a couch and now their seat was empty. He settled in and it seemed he had found a fine spot. The song changed from a formulaic beat with a lot of base, to Sympathy for The Devil.
“You made it,” Wen said.
“What do you think?”
The pirouette lasted just long enough for Arthur to wipe the gawk from his face.
“On a scale of one to “I don’t think you’re mother would approve”, I’d say, wow.”
“Thanks,” she said and introduced her two friends. “This is Fiona and Cheryl.”
Fiona and Wen laughed, but Cheryl didn’t get the joke.
Wen flopped down on Arthur’s right and Fiona on his left. Cheryl grabbed a corner of the coffee table and said, “Wen says you’re a famous author.”
“Have you ever heard of me?”
“Then obviously, I’m not.”
“You’re not an author?” Cheryl asked, seeming confused.
“No, I am, but if you’ve never heard of me, then I must not be famous.”
Fiona said, “I’ve heard of you.”
Wen leaned her shoulder into Arthur and said, “I want to hear about your new book.”
Arthur didn’t answer at first, as he was momentarily struck dumb by Wen’s expertly executed leg cross. He could tell it wasn’t her first leg cross, either. Arthur found it strangely enticing and disturbing. “Well, I can’t say for sure that it will end up a book, but it was a pretty good start.”
It wasn’t Arthur’s first time, either.
He may not have known where his writing was heading, but he knew how to tell a story, and he wove a beauty. A little bit about the characters, to start, whetted their appetites. Fiona jumped in with a question, which led to an heroic explanation.
Three hot women, gathered in rapt adoration, has a gravitational pull that defies Newtonian physics…and Newtonian physicists. The two Frat boys, who didn’t realize they were being drawn into a talk about writing, pulled up chairs.
In the world of self-agrandizing, a smart move is to circle back from time to time, so the new folks can be brought up to speed. It needs to be handled with deft touch, but there are a few tricks one can learn. Arthur invented most of them. He took the last pull of his beer and held it upside down. With a sad look deep into Cheryl’s eyes he said, “It pains me to see such a fine cup, empty, oh well, were was I?”
“If you promise not to continue without…and save my spot, I’ll grab you another beer.”
Channeling P.T. Barnum, Arthur said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, a round of applause for Cheryl, who is willing to right a terrible wrong.”
The crowd, now close to a dozen, cheered.
Fiona said, “Hey, would you take our picture?” Handing her phone to the frat guy who had been checking her out.
Fiona and Wen snuggled up close and smiled. Arthur was already smiling.
“Let me see,” Arthur asked.
Fiona showed him and then Wen. This led to a picture with Wen’s phone and even tighter Arthur sandwich.
A few mumblings about why the crowd was gathering and Arthur seized upon the moment, “Oh, I was just answering Wen’s question about my new book. Do you like to read?’
Most won’t admit they don’t, so it was a safe question and after the “yes”, Arthur gave a quick recap of all the crowd had missed.
The crowd was enthralled and Arthur used deft brush strokes to paint his story. Had Cheryl returned with only the beer, he might have continued on until he had a fresco that rivaled the Sistine Chapel’s. She had, in fact, come back with Arthurs beer, which she only promised to give him if he did a jello shot.
The cookie sheet full of Jello shots looked ominous to Arthur. The crowd cheered. Wen said, “I bet this is how Billy Cosby gets drunk,” and handed one to Fiona.
Cheryl took one and then passed the tray off to someone else as she handed Arthur his beer.
Fiona said, “To Cosby,” and she raised her shot.
Arthur raised his and added, “Why is there air?” And tilted his head back. The shot was grape Jello and vodka. It was good, so good he didn’t care if anyone got his reference. It wouldn’t be their last shot.