Friday, September 05, 2014

Five People You Meet At Dinner

It was the strangest dream. I had been thinking about that "what five historic people would you invite to dinner?" question as I drifted to sleep. Next thing I knew, this happened:

Ernest Hemingway: Can I get a martini? Very dry.

Me: What?

Hemingway: A martini, dry.

Joan of Arc: And I'll have a red wine.

Me: Why are you telling me this?

Vincent Van Gogh: Because we're here for dinner. You invited us.

Me: Oh, of course.

Abraham Lincoln: I'd like a nice cold beer. I don't get many of those where I am now.

Me: Really? I figured you of all people would be up. . . you know.

Lincoln: Oh, I am, I am. But Mrs. Lincoln doesn't approve. Says it's a sin. Even Jesus has tried to get her to lighten up, but she's having none of that, and tells me so several times a day. I sometimes visit Jefferson Davis just to get some peace and quiet.

Van Gogh: You mean he lives. . .?

Lincoln: Just down the street from me.

Hemingway: I have to say, I'm a bit surprised to hear that.

Lincoln: You and me both, brother!

Me: So this is a unique opportunity. I wanted to meet you all and to hear your stories, so I thought—

Joan: Not now, waiter. I am hungry. Some beef bourguignon, s'il vous plait.

Hemingway: Beef bourguignon? That's a little fancy for a soldier, isn't it?

Me: I'm not actually the waiter, I'm—

Joan: Don't be a chauvinist, you bearded old fool.

Hemingway: Ha ha! I like this one. I think I found the fifth ex-Mrs. Hemingway.

Joan: Don't flatter yourself. I could never be with such an ungodly man.

Van Gogh: Maybe she goes for the sensitive artist types, Heer Hemingway.

Joan: Maybe she doesn't appreciate being spoken about in the third person.

Van Gogh: Maybe she should learn that the last 600 years haven't done her any favors!

Joan: Go choke on a sunflower, you one-eared ginger!

Van Gogh: I know what I want for dinner. Steak, burned and crispy.

Joan: Ass!

Lincoln: I thought you were a vegetarian.

Van Gogh: What?


Me: If we could return to the topic at hand. I'd like to discuss a few things before we—

Lincoln: Barbecued ribs! That's what I want. Man, nothing says summertime cookout like ribs and a few cold ones with friends.

Hemingway: The wife not let you have those either?

Lincoln: No. She keeps yammering about my cholesterol. I keep telling her, 'Mary, we're already dead,' but she doesn't listen.

Van Gogh: What?

Lincoln: What do you want for dinner? Were you serious about the steak?

Van Gogh: No, I was just—argh, now I don't know. Maybe pizza? Come back to me.

Hemingway: Steak sounds like a grand idea. And can we get another round of drinks here, barkeep?

Me: I'm not actually the barkeep either. I'm the—

Joan: Yeah, yeah, we didn't ask for your life story.

Lincoln: Hey, Hem, you got any cigars?

Hemingway: Sure thing, Abe. Vinnie, Joanie, you want one?

Van Gogh: Sure, why not?

Joan: Well, I usually try to stay away from fire, but I think I can make an exception.

Me: You're going to have cigars before dinner? I thought they came after.

Lincoln: Doesn't look like we're in any danger of that happening anytime soon.

Me: Actually, the dinner has already been planned and prepared, and should be here shortly.

Hemingway: Then why don't you make like a tree, and go get it.

Me: I keep telling you. I. Am not. The waiter. I'm your host, and the entire purpose tonight was to gather five notable people and have some engaging conversations about the world today.

Van Gogh: Five? I only see four of us. You aren't the fifth, are you?

Me: Oh, no. I am merely a humble—

Hemingway: Thought so. I mean, I'd never heard of you.

Me: Our final guest has yet to arrive.

Amelia Earhart: Sorry I'm late everyone. I seem to have gotten lost. Waiter, could I have a gin and tonic, please? I'm parched. There's a good lad.

Me: I give up. You people can just feed yourselves. And I hope you all choke on it!

Van Gogh: Alright, pizza time! Somebody get Alexander Graham Bell in here, and let's order some pies! Waiter, where's our drinks?

There's a lot of laughter and talking as I leave, and I wake up in my own bed.

With a voicemail from my credit card company asking whether I meant to order 12 large pizzas, two cases of beer, and a side of barbecued ribs.

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