A Party for Darby
By Rita Buckley
When Darby told us he had three months to live, we decided to make him a party.
“Let’s make it big,” said Don.
“And fancy,” said Jim.
“No, I think it should be casual,” said Joe.
“It looks like we have a disagreement,” said Bill, the unofficial leader of the group.
“We need naked dancing girls,” said Don.
“I don’t think the women guests would like that,” said Bill.
The problem was that Darby was the biggest philanderer in Chicago, and had bonked just about every eligible female under the age of forty.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have women,” Bill said.
This was a contentious issue. Darby’s friends started to argue among themselves.
“What’s a party without women?” whined Jim.
“We’ll have no one to dance with,” said Don.
“What do you think we are?” asked Joe. “A bunch of fags?”
Bill cleared his throat. It sounded like the low rumble of a Harley Davidson. Don, Jim, and Joe stopped talking and turned in his direction, waiting to hear something enlightening from the unofficial leader of the group.
“I think it should be a surprise party,” he said.
A soft glow of afternoon sunlight suddenly infused the room and an invisible choir sang Amazing Grace, complete with bagpipes.
“Oh cut the shit,” said Don.
The light receded and the music stopped.
Jim liked the idea.
“Good idea,” he said.
“A surprise stag party,” said Joe.
“With naked dancing girls,” said Jim.
“A wise plan,” said the sofa Bill was sitting on.
Bill smoked his imaginary Meerschaum pipe and pondered the plan.
Don, Joe, and Jim waited for him to speak. He puffed and puffed, blowing imaginary smoke rings in the air, then started coughing violently.
“Damn pipe,” he said.
The group agreed that it was an awful pipe, bad for the lungs.
“Okay,” Bill said, leaning forward. “We need to figure out where to have this thing.” Don, Joe, and Jim also leaned forward. From above they looked like a group of basketballs with hair.
The sofa giggled softly.
“What now?” Bill asked it.
“Let’s do it here. I want the naked girls to sit on me,” it said.
“You’re disgusting,” Bill said.
“I agree,” Joe replied.
They were in Don’s condo, a small loft with a view of a brick wall on the east side, a brick wall on the west side, and a funeral parlor off a tiny balcony in the front. Usually, the scene was somber. Every now and then, it was sickening.
“I think we should have it at Joe’s place,” Don said.
“No, my place is too small for dancing naked girls,” Joe replied, and he was right. His apartment was the size of a special edition postage stamp. “There’ll be no room for them to kick their legs in the air,” he said.
Bill considered the options.
They could rent a hotel room, but that would make Darby suspicious. They could say they were having a few people over to watch a movie at Bill’s place, but Bill lived in a magic forest far from the center of town and nobody liked to go there after dark because of the goblins.
“We can’t have it at Bill’s place,” Don said.
Bill thought about that for several seconds. He cracked his knuckles, an act that made Harry the parrot nauseous.
“I’m sick,” it cawed. “Dying. I’m about to puke.”
“Oh shut up,” said Jim.
“Sit on my face,” Harry replied.
Bill cleared his throat again. It sounded like the rumble of thunder.
“We should hold the event in Darby’s condo,” he intoned.
Sunlight streamed into the room and Harry started singing the arpeggio from Rigoletto.
“SHUT UP,” said Jim.
The light receded and the bird grew quiet and sullen.
Darby had a 2400 square foot condo, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a panoramic view of Chicago. It was the perfect place for a stag party with naked dancing girls.
“I have a key,” said Bill. “I also give the doorman head every so often,” he added, “so we shouldn’t have any trouble getting in.
Jim found out from Darby that he’d be away until Wednesday night, taking care of business.
Joe called the Dancing Naked Girl Agency and arranged for a dozen women to show up on that Wednesday evening.
Don called the caterer and ordered large portions of invisible food with an imaginary open bar.
Bill hired a DJ and agreed to bring his collection of dirty movies.
“We’ll take down the artwork and have them playing against the wall in a continuous loop,” he explained.
“Lovely,” Harry squawked.
“Ideal,” Joe replied.
Bill, Joe, Don and Jim needed a guest list. They put their heads together to come up with one and couldn’t get them apart.
“Now what do we do?” asked Joe.
Jim and Don looked to Bill for an answer. He took out his imaginary pipe and blew a few smoke rings before having a fit of convulsive coughing so strong it blew all the heads apart.
“Whew,” said Jim.
“Wow,” said Don.
“That really sucked,” said Joe.
He sat back on the sofa and rubbed his temples. Suddenly, a rare pink propeller-headed bird flew in the open window and landed on his shoulder.
“Forget the guest list,” it said. “Remember the weed.”
Jim, who sold weed on the side to make a little extra money, said he’d bring an adequate supply.
The propeller-head took off, leaving behind a little pile of shit on his shoulder.
“Ewww,” said Don.
“Yuck,” said Joe.
“Disgusting,” said Jim.
Bill put his fingertips together and pondered the situation for several seconds. Everyone looked his way, hoping for a bit of wisdom.
“Gross,” he said. “Go get a napkin or something.”
The DJ was in the living room spinning oldies and goodies.
A continuous stream of hard-core porn was playing on the dining room wall.
A hundred black and gold balloons were hanging from the ceilings in the foyer, living room, kitchen, and dining room.
Don, Jim, Joe, and Bill sat down for a toast.
“I think we’ve done a great job,” said Bill. Don poured champagne into flutes and they toasted each other. “Va va voom,” said Jim. “Bring in the naked dancing girls.”
Twelve naked women danced into the room. They were doing the conga. The DJ put on the appropriate music and Don, Jim, Joe, and Bill danced along behind them, grabbing handfuls of confetti from a big bowl as they passed by.
Darby would be along any minute, and they were ready for him. They wanted the party to be in full swing when he came home.
The door opened wide and everyone whooped and threw confetti in the air. Darby brought in a set of luggage then carried his new bride across the threshold.
“Welcome home, honey,” he said.
One of the naked women took Darby’s hand and pulled him into the conga line. Another reached out and pulled his wife along. A waiter danced by with a tray of champagne. Everyone took a drink.
“Long live Darby,” the crowd shouted.
A small reptile of some kind crawled out of the luggage and stood off to one side. It was bright green with popping red eyes.
“Long live Darby,” it said.
“Here here,” said the sofa.
“Hi ho hi ho,” said the door.
Rita Buckley is an award-winning freelance medical writer with 13 years of experience working with the world’s leading authorities in their fields. She has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and her fiction has been published in journals that include Bartleby Snopes, Danse Macabre, Versal, Fiction Daily Spotlight, Spectrum, and Paradigm.