The shooter is coming over for dinner

So here comes Gary and I introduce him to my hungry, moody guests.

“This is my friend Gary who just published a novel in England,” I say.

“What is the novel about?” someone asks.

“Shoot my parents,” says Gary.

That gets her attention.

“I’m the best writer in America,” says Gary. “The book got great reviews in England and it’s just been published here, but nobody’s paying attention. I guess all it takes to get attention in this country is shoot someone. Maybe I should go out and shoot someone again. Hey, hey.”

I see two people looking nervously at the skewers glowing blood red in the fireplace.

“Heh, heh,” say the guests.

Gary disappears into the bathroom for a long time. Then he goes.

After his departure, euphoria, relief and excitement break out in my apartment. It’s the best conversation about the guest who just left. No one was shot, and dinner is finally ready. I serve the steaks and the sorbet and the guests love it. I go to bed happy.

The psychopharmacist called the next day.

“Your friend needs treatment,” he says. “I wouldn’t put Thorazine darts on him, but I’ll happily refer him to my partner.”

Gary is long dead, but I remember him fondly. RIP, Gary. You saved my dinner party.

Joyce Wadler, author of two non-fiction books, wrote the New York Times column “I Was Misinformed” for several years and has just finished her first novel, The Satyr in Bungalow D.

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