The invitation came in the mail: You’re invited to our Fall Orgy! Please bring a dish to share!
The orgies had started last year. Someone decided we weren’t getting any younger and we better see each other naked before it was too late. The first orgy was super awkward, and I ended up getting Jell-o stuck in my hair and down the back of my favorite coat.
I arrive at this week’s orgy with my Tupperware and the intention of just saying hi and leaving. My friend opens the door dressed as Hugh Heffner. You’re here, he says. He touches my elbow and holds it there a beat too long. I’m so glad you could make it.
There are drinks in the kitchen and snacks in the living room. The fall theme is reinforced in every room with plastic gourds and an actual pile of leaves.
I can’t really stay, I say to our hostess.
Just a little bit, she says, refilling my daquiri.
I eat a cupcake shaped like a vagina, wave to friends in mid-orgy, deliver water bottles, wonder when I can leave and not seem rude.
Eventually the host calls us all into the living room and hands out bathrobes. So everyone take a break, because we have special guest here today who wants to invite us all to his condo in…the Bahamas!
No, your condo in the Bahamas!
We clap awkwardly as a guy wearing glasses and a sweater vest comes to the front of the living room and begins to tell us about time share opportunities in the Bahamas, complete with a PowerPoint presentation showing different floor plans and cost brackets. When he’s finished he calls my friend back.
We love our time share my friend said. It is one of the best purchases we ever made.
That’s right the time share guy says. Did you hear that folks? One of the best purchases he has ever…made.
You can sit down now he says, pushing my friend. Because I’d like to give each of you an opportunity to discuss your own personal condo needs with one of our happiness specialists.
They divide us up into groups and lead us off to different parts of the house. My group heads toward the back bedroom, where several sales people block the door. I know what you’re thinking the sweater vest guy says—you just want to sit through the spiel, get some free stuff, and then get back to your orgy. But our company doesn’t work that way he says. Before anyone is leaving this room someone will be purchasing a time share condo.
The door is blocked by two more bouncers. There’s a pile of purses and wallets in the middle of the room. How about the first person who signs up for a time share gets to go home? And for the rest of you, I have several PowerPoint presentations as well as a TED talk we can watch. The time share guy lifts out a faux leather purse from the pile by its tail like a dead rat. We have a winner he announces. Whose purse is this?
No one answers.
He opens it up and goes for the wallet. Jackie? Who is Jackie. No one says anything. Well, I guess we could just take all these credit cards and create a new identity.
No no, it’s mine Jackie says, coming forward with her head hung.
Jackie, you’re about to be the proud owner of a time share condo. Let’s give her a round of applause everyone.
One by one we are all called forward and one by one we sign a 20-year contract for a time share condo. As we’re leaving our host and hostess stand at the door handing us little parting gifts in paper bags tied with ribbons. I’m sorry he mouths.
Nancy Stohlman’s books include Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities, The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories, The Monster Opera, and Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, a finalist for a 2011 Colorado Book Award. She is the creator and curator of The Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series, the creator of FlashNano in November, and the co-founder of Flash Fiction Retreats. Her work has been published nationally and internationally and was included in the W.W. Norton Anthology New Micro: Very Short Stories. She teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder. Find out more about her at www.nancystohlman.com.