When Your Stranger Arrives

May 5 Story a Day prompt used for this one: Shindig, Write a Story set at a party, shindig, fiesta, or gathering.

Wham! The door burst open and just as the startled people turned toward the noise, a redheaded stranger swaggered through the doorway, an entrance marred only by the duck when his head threatened to hit the jamb. Clearly used to this occurrence, he used the moment to fling wide his arms and shout “I’m here, did you miss me?”

Dagny, social force to be reckoned with and hostess extraordinaire, virtually stomped across the living room, as her spike heels staccatoed on the tile floor. “No, I think not. Because I have no idea who you are and didn’t invite you. Now turn around and leave!” Not waiting for him to go on his own, she grabbed the lapel of his long duster in an effort to propel the unwanted guest out of the house. Dagny was not one to have her famously fabulous parties interrupted by some unknown cowboy wannabee, especially not one who wore real snake skin boots. That was just gauche.

But Dagny’s efforts were never going to move him. For while the stranger was tall, he was also solidly built. He smiled and then looked down to chuckle at her. “Oh but you did invite me.” Dagny, for her part, managed to look offended and confused at the same time.

By now of course the shock had worn off and the guests began to nervously chatter. The standard, “who is he,” “where’d he come from,” and the like began pinging around the room. And of course a few of the men, always eager to show their loyalty and curry favor with Dagny, started toward the twosome at the front door.

Without turning to acknowledge the incoming rescue party, the stranger held up his hand and casually said, “I don’t think that would be the best idea, boys.” Luckily, it being early enough in the party that no one was yet wearing an alcohol induced bravado, they understood the implied threat and stopped. He continued on as if alone with Dagny. “Don’t you remember asking for some excitement at this party? For a change of pace from all these, how did you put it? Oh yes,” He turned a sardonic eye on the assembled partygoers, “these soul sucking, social climbing wannabees. They’ve lived off your largess and status for so many years and yet they continue to demand more and more.”

Several gasps were heard, Dagny cringed as some people turned critical glares at her, and a few people even headed toward the bedroom, presumably to get their jackets. The hostess’s nearly six foot frame which she had always used to advantage now kept her from quietly slinking down the hall.

The stranger waved his hand, “Not all of you of course, and you at the top know who you are.” Smug looks returned to the faces of those who knew without a doubt that they were the pinnacle of their chosen social group.

But the stranger wasn’t done with his diatribe. “Susan where are you?” He looked around until spotting the petite blond cowering in the corner of the kitchen. “Of course you’re in there. You and Dagny have been friends for what, eight years now?” She nodded numbly and he continued on like a grand inquisitor. “And you’ve probably heard her opinion on pretty much everything, yes?” By now Susan could only manage a slack jawed stare as she gripped the counter for support. “You would nod when she disparaged someone’s hair or clothes, give your assent at her assessment of their choice of career or partners. But yet you too have taken from this woman, used her position and ambition to fuel your own status. Do you have any idea what she thinks of you? Ever wondered what she says about you behind your back?”

“Dagny?” The half whispered questioning plea floated across the room to taunt both women.

“Of course he’s lying,” Dagny snapped. She had used the short reprieve to regain most of her usual self control and quickly looked around the room to assess everyone’s loyalty. It didn’t look good. It had taken her years to cultivate this following and yet here it was being destroyed in less time than it took to drink a martini. Sniveling cowards, didn’t they know how many of their reputations she had made? It took her only a moment to decide how best to try and regain the upper hand.

“I believe you have interrupted our gathering enough with your unfounded accusations and crass behavior. How dare you say that I have anything but the deepest respect and friendship for all these people? And especially dear sweet Susan who’s been by my side since high school. Haven’t you Susan?” Dagny turned toward the kitchen, giving Susan her most winning smile.

What Dagny received was a suddenly courageous Susan. Calmly and deliberately she approached Dagny. “What I know is that whoever this man is, he has spoken more truth in five minutes than I have heard out of you since high school. And I also know that I am going to get my purse, walk out that door, and never return here again. I thank you for the ride but I am now getting off. I’d suggest you do the same.”

And it suddenly it was Dagny standing there slack jawed and wishing she could disappear as quickly as this stranger had appeared. For even as Susan was walking out so to were most of the guests with varying degrees of haste.

Last of all was the man who had begun it all. “What you have to remember,” He said, pushing her brilliant red hair aside, “I am only the personification of your deepest desires. You wished to be done with them and you are. You wished that Susan wouldn’t be so mousy and she isn’t. All that I have done is give you exactly what you wanted. Enjoy.”

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