Shopping list story

Sharise Cunningham | 12/07/2013

It was to be the first dinner party of the season for Marcello Montevalli. His garden parties were always well-attended by the town’s social elite. Exactly who would receive an invitation was a closely guarded secret that quickly became the talk of the town once the tiny handwritten blue envelopes started arriving in the mailboxes that perfectly lined the streets.

Young ladies giggled with anticipation at the thought of meeting the tall, dark-haired Marcello. Men too looked forward to the invites, if not to meet the young ladies who would attend, then at least for the bit of status that receiving an invitation could garner. Recipients left intentional trails of blue paper bits leading from their mailboxes to their front doors. A result of excitedly ripping the envelopes open to expose the silver card inside. And, which also served as a quiet thumbing of the nose to those who didn’t make the list.

The day had finally arrived and as guests strolled in, trying to be casual, they saw the veggies had all been cut with precision and laid in individual salad bowls. The steaks were seasoned and ready for the professional-size charcoal grill. The champagne flowed freely and as dusk turned into night, the candles were lit. They cast a warm glow over the crowd of laughing, smiling faces. Everyone was happy. The men appeared as if they were all dressed for golf with their matching polos and khakis, while the girls were delicate and pretty in their summer dresses.

But Priscilla was different. She was grotesquely out of place in an evening gown and stilettos. As Marcello saw her coming through the gates he raced to confront her and direct her away from the merriment before anyone noticed. “What the hell are you doing here?” He huffed. “I told you, it’s over. You need to leave,” he snapped.

As he grabbed her arm he inhaled an overpowering cloud of Chanel No. 5, the last gift he’d given her. She’d obviously been drinking and crying for hours. A ridiculous smear of lipstick ran haphazardly across her angry lips and her mascara ran down her cheeks like black blood oozing from a wound. Suddenly she screamed, “NO, NOW it’s over!” as she reached for the dagger tucked into the sheath strapped to her leg.

But… there was no dagger! In her drunken rage she’d forgotten to put it in the little holder. Marcello laid her carefully on the ground as one of the guests, Dr. Richardi, came to assist. Priscilla was quietly taken away as the party continued late into the night with various discussions of how Marcello’s first garden party of the season nearly became his last.

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