The Party had already been in full swing for quite some time when I arrived. I don’t know how I got there. In fact, I don’t remember anything from before I walked through that door.
All I know is that I was invited by Linda and Bill, a couple of friends who had been there for a while already. They greeted me at the door.
“Here, have a drink,” offered Linda cheerfully as soon as I’d stepped through the door. She handed me something white in a bottle. “Have a look around! This place is amazing.”
Bill gave me a quick tour of the place. It was an enormous house that seemed to ramble on and on. Some of the rooms were much nicer than others. There was one where all the guests were passed out or drunk, and there was practically nothing to eat. It was a bad scene, and we didn’t linger long there.
Other rooms truly were breathtaking. One was a lush garden room. In another room was a vast construction made of blocks that had been made by some guests who had long since departed. There were aquariums full of strange and fascinating creatures, and libraries full of seemingly endless knowledge.
Having been around the place, I now had a few questions for Bill and Linda, who seemed to know it pretty well.
“So the neighbors never complain about all the noise?” I asked Bill. The Party was large and raucous.
“Yeah, I know. It’s gotten pretty loud lately, but nobody seems to care. As far as anybody can tell, all the other houses in the neighborhood are vacant, or at least whoever lives there isn’t paying attention.”
Bill and Linda told me some of the legends and stories of the Party. It had been going on a long time, but recently it had started to get really out of control. I had just missed a huge fight. These dudes in a room on the other side of the house had a real attitude problem. They’d somehow gotten the idea that they were superior to the other guests. They started smashing beer bottles and making a hell of a mess, and being very rude to some of our friends over there. It eventually turned into a general brawl involving the whole house, which nearly wrecked the place. What finally put a stop to it was when one dude whipped out a gun and shot this big Japanese guy… twice! He was one tough son of a bitch. Fortunately, the man with the gun was one of our friends. Pretty soon, everybody was pointing guns at everybody else, but nobody dared fire another shot. The place had been rather on edge ever since that happened.
I met some people who told me about something that had happened just before I showed up. This guy named Neil had a pressing need. Since there was a long line for the toilet, he decided to visit the old outhouse. Nobody had ever been there before, and getting there was a bit of an adventure, it seems. There was a blizzard outside, and it was very dark and cold. Soon his quest became known, and he got a couple other dudes to join him, just for a lark. They suited up with thick coats and heavy boots, and off they went. The three brave men march across the endless blackness behind the house as everybody gazed through the windows with bated breath, and for a brief moment, it seemed like they were all friends. The adventurers did their business, and they came back to a hero’s welcome, with confetti and everything. It’s a silly story, really, but stuff like that happens here.
I mingled for a while, and finally I met a nice girl named June. We hit it off right away. We danced, we talked a long time, and I kissed her. After a while, the conversation slowed down a bit, and we both thought it might be nice to have some more company. So we decided to invite some friends of our own.
Ethan showed up first, followed closely by Sophie. They were both an immediate hit with the crowd. “Wow, he’s cute!” I overheard a young woman saying, clearly indicating Ethan with her eyes. Sophie was also quite a babe. June and I were proud to introduce them around.
Just like Bill and Linda had done for me, we showed them around. They beheld the many wonders that the house had to offer and were duly impressed.
Ethan mingled for a while. As far as I could tell, he seemed happy. Then he came back to me with a strange question.
“There’s something weird about this place… Where’s the host?”
It was a question I’d been asking myself for a while, too. I gave an embarrassed shrug.
Ethan continued, “I’ve been asking around, and nobody’s seen him. Some people say they heard of some friend of a friend who knows him, or whatever, but it’s all fairly vague. And what is the Party for, anyway? I mean, what’s the big occasion? I’m sure if we could find the host, we could ask him.”
I told him about Jesse. A long time ago, so the story goes, a man named Jesse claimed to be the son of the owner of the house. At first, just a few people believed him, but everyone agreed he was a really nice guy. One legend told about the night that all the beer in the house was gone, when Jesse somehow found a full keg just sitting around. He made a lot of friends that night. Also, he kept talking about a big, swanky after-party in a really nice part of town, where there would be lots of great food and beautiful people. A lot of people became his friends just to get invited to this fabulous event, but I think he made the whole thing up. Anyway, after a while some jerks got jealous of how popular he was becoming, and they made him leave. Since then, a lot of people remember him fondly, and some still hope he’ll be back some day. I told Ethan I wasn’t so sure about the whole thing, and that I was not holding my breath.
“It ain’t nothing but a Party, far as I can tell,” I offered. “There are some games you can play…”
Ethan knew about these games and their complicated rules and scoring systems, but he wasn’t very interested. He had given his question some thought, and he refused to drop the subject. “You know what? I don’t think there is a host. If there ever was one, he left a long time ago. He’s probably dead. I mean, look at this place. It’s a mess! Have you seen what goes on in the cellar? I can’t imagine any host allowing people to behave that way in his house.”
Ethan wandered back into the mass of humans, his mood somewhat darker and more serious than it had been when he had first arrived. The Party was wearing on, and it was taking its toll on him. Part of me was sorry we invited him to this place.
Eventually, Ethan met a pretty girl named Jill. They danced, they talked, and then the kissed, just like June and I had, and then they decided to invite a friend, too. We greeted the newcomer with all the good cheer we could manage.
It was getting very late. I saw Bill and Linda looking tired. “Boy, I’m beat,” yawned Bill. “I think I’m going to have to go pretty soon.” We were all sad to hear that, but it was pointless to try to keep him around. He left, and Linda didn’t see the point in sticking around without him.
The Party continued a few more hours. Finally, I was feeling fairly done with it, and I told June that it was time for me to go, too. I would have liked somebody to hold me as I passed through that gateway into the cold dark night, but the door was only wide enough for one.
The last thing I remember is June smiling sadly at me just before I turned to walk through that door. I’ll never know what happened after that. I hope the Party kept on going for a long, long time. I hope Ethan and Sophie and all the rest of them made nice friends and stayed a long time, and invited many new people. I hope all the guests had a fine time, even the ones in the cellar. And most of all, I hope they didn’t burn the place down.