20 October 2008

Vengeance is a dish best served with pepperoni

Warning: the following is not very Catholic.

One of the few things I like about my job on Monday mornings is hearing what my co workers were up to over the weekends. Today one of them- I'll call him Finbar- had a good yarn.

It began a few weeks ago when he and his wife- let's call her Sheherezade- were invited to one of her friends for a dinner party. The friend- named Betty or Barbara or any other name beginning with a 'b'- hates Finbar, and often tries to convince Sheherezade to leave him. Finbar's response is to make himself appear even worse in Betty's eyes. (Before I continue, I should note that Betty is rather well off. Her main source of income is to marry ugly rich men, have one of their children, and then clean them out on child support and alimony.) Finbar at one point had her convinced he was happily employed manning the drive through window at McDonald's and had no desire for any other job. Betty stepped up her campaign to convince Sheherezade to leave Finbar.

About a week before the dinner Betty called Sheherezade to ask if there were any foods that should be avoided at the dinner.

"I can eat anything," Sheherezade said. "But Finbar is allergic to shellfish."

"But you're OK?" Betty asked.

The night of the dinner party came and Finbar and Sheherezade went to Betty's house and found that it was a seafood dinner. There were crab legs and shrimp cocktails, clam chowder and oysters, lobster and a host of other very expensive food, exquisitely prepared, and absolutely all of it were things Finbar could not eat. Sheherezade was furious. "Let's go," she told Finbar.

"It's alright," he said. "Let's stay." At that point Sherezade's thoughts were somewhere between 'uh-huh' and 'uh-oh'. Finbar was most likely up to something, but she was too angry to care.

The only thing in the house Finbar could touch was a bottle of Scotch, which he took for himself. The tumbler that was near the scotch was too small for Finbar, so he went into the kitchen and got himself a beer stein instead. As he pounded back his scotch, one of the other husbands of another friend of Betty's was introduced to Betty's current fiance, who is apparently the ugliest of the lot. "Boy, you must be loaded," the husband said to the fiance. Finbar choked on his scotch. Apparently, he wasn't the only husband who hated Betty.

There was one last guest to arrive, but dinner could not wait. Finbar excused himself and went to the bathroom, ostensibly to wash his hands before dinner. When he came out, he took his seat at the table and stared at his empty plate while he drank his scotch. But then, thirty minutes or less later, there was a knock at the door. "It must be the last guest," said Betty, starting to rise.

"Don't worry, Betty," said Finbar, rising. "You're eating. I'll get it." Finbar disappeared from the table and disappeared down the hall, and returned a few minutes later carrying five grand slam pizzas. "It seemed rude to just order for myself," he explained. "So I got some for everyone."

He put the pizzas on the sideboard behind his seat, took out a slice, dropped it onto the fine china plate, and began eating it with the fine silver knife and fork, not looking up, but knowing everyone in the now silent room was staring at him. A moment later, there was another knock at the door. "Could someone else get that?" he said. "I'm eating."

Betty went to open the door, and came back a few moments later with the late guest. "Sorry I'm late," he said. "Everything looks and smells delicious. Is that pizza?"

At that point one of the other husbands laid his knife and fork down on his lobster and pushed his plate away, and turned to face Finbar. "You got any meatlovers pizza down there?"

Finbar looked down the table and saw Betty's lip trembling as she tried to fight back the tears over her now ruined dinner party. As he chewed his pizza and drained his beer stein of scotch, he could only reflect that life was good.

He doesn't expect to ever be asked back. He doesn't care. For the moment, neither does Sheherezade.

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