by J. Macreus
for Weird Tales January entry. A dinner party at the Count's doesn't go as planned.
|The Dinner Party Debacle
by J. Macreus
“It vas gruesome,” said the Count as he pointed a boney finger at the chalk marks on the floor. The authorities had already removed the body, but the Count still shuddered. He looked like he would bolt up the stairs, so Inspector Flynn took hold of his pointy elbow.
“And you say that he fell right down through the ceiling?” grumbled Inspector Flynn.
“There vas a crash! Just as the scherzo began,” the Count added. “And then poor Willidonia…she had just finished her mint tart. You see it there on the floor. Crushed. Crushed I say!” The Count began to sob. “May I go, Inspector? This is too much for my fragile heart!”
Flynn looked the Count in his tearful eyes and chewed on his pipe. He had all he needed. Everyone’s statements matched so he grumbled and nodded. The Count bowed and then slid up the stairs, a long soft blubbering followed him. Flynn didn’t tip his hat, as most people did when the Count entered or exited. He didn’t care much for the Count’s kind. He looked up at the gaping, man-shaped hole in the ceiling and at the broken furniture and cracked floorboards a few feet away. There was only a little stain of blood. Flynn pondered it. “Gruesome, huh?” he fussed.
Upstairs Frank didn’t know what to do with himself. He was still shaking all over. His room was in disarray. His table was turned over. There was a hole in the plaster wall where he had crashed into it. The ceiling fan now had broken fan blades. A lone roller skate was smashed into the baseboard. The chest lay upended and open and what had jumped out at Frank had scurried away.
And then there was the hole.
Frank scooted his huge feet gingerly over to it and carefully leaned over so he could see down. Below, the Inspector and his men were going about their business asking questions and putting splinters of furniture into clear baggies. Frank began to cry. He could just see Wilford sitting on all fours in the downstairs corner, rocking back and forth and whimpering.
Frank stood there for a while, just watching the events unfold downstairs. He watched as the Inspector talked to everyone and wrote in his little leather-bound notebook. Frank couldn’t hear what was said, but he imagined it was terrible. He had ruined the dinner party. He had fallen right through and destroyed the hors d’oeuvres’ table. He had broken Sidney’s fishbowl. He had scared everyone. But the worst part was that he had crushed poor Willidonia. Flattened her completely.
When it had happened, Frank tried to laugh it off. Sure, he fell, but he fell all the time. His huge feet always stepped all over themselves. His huge head made him top-heavy, and his motor skills were never up to par, regardless of what part the Doctor would occasionally replace. He was a 7-foot disaster that weighed the same as a truck. Wilford had called him a “walking danger” on more than one occasion. And Wilford should know, he was one himself, what with his sharp yellow teeth and horrendous hygiene.
It had been Willidonia who had tamed Wilford, in her own demure way. It was she who had him brush his mangy tail. She had braided his hair and got him to wear pants. He hadn’t given in to the flea dip just yet, and now, probably never would.
Frank had scrambled up after plummeting through the ceiling, nervously laughing and trying to apologize for the fishbowl. He hadn’t realized that Willidonia was even under him, broken and flat. Not all of that was due to Frank being embarrassed. It was hard to know where Willidonia was, since she was invisible and all. But this time, the party guests who were talking to the disembodied cashmere stole Willidonia liked to wear for gatherings, knew exactly where she had been before “The Creation”, as they called him, landed on top of her.
Wilford didn’t instantly put this together. He had been by the fireplace salivating over the Lugosi twins, pretending to listen to their prattle about what a bore it was to live in Hollywood. They talked and Wilford picked his fang with a bone toothpick, glancing from their voluptuous bosoms occasionally to steal a peek toward the hovering cashmere stole. Wilford was an animal and acted as such. But that didn’t mean that he couldn’t love. And he had realized right there, while the twins pressed against him, that Willidonia and her beautifully invisible smile, was all that he wanted.
Willidonia didn’t know this. She may have suspected that her “Little Wolfie” had feelings for her. However, she had never allowed herself to think seriously about it. How could someone like her be loved? She had told herself over and over the feelings in her heart were as insubstantial as her appearance. Better to think that, rather than to fall in love with someone who wouldn’t reciprocate.
But there had been clues in Wilford’s actions. Given his aggressive demeanor, they had been hard to see, but he had always tried to make Willidonia laugh. Usually this meant picking on Frank by tripping him or making him stutter. Wilford thought it humorous to make him act like a buffoon and he thought that WIllidonia found it was funny too. Willidonia, however, would just scowl, though Wilford could never see it.
That is why he had found a large mouse, put it in a chest, and snuck it into Frank’s room. He knew Frank was deathly scared of mice that once the big oaf opened the chest and saw the mouse he would run screaming down the stairs. Everyone at the dinner party would get a good laugh, Willidonia especially. And Wilford could tell her that he had planned the whole thing. He thought that she would see how witty he was and then maybe, he could find the courage to tell her how he felt.