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A Literary Party

In Fiction, Uncategorised on June 29, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I answered the door and Hitler strode into my living room with Eva Braun. Naturally, they were uninvited guests to my party and twenty minutes early. Hitler wore a Jay Cutler jersey and Eva an evening gown.

I looked into Hitler’s wild eyes and said, “I didn’t know you were a Bears fan.”

Hitler leapt on my coffee table and spewed out a ten-minute diatribe on the evils of the Rams, who happened to be playing the Bears.

“Oh,” I said, after Hitler concluded.

He slammed his right fist into his left hand and said, “Plus I have five thousand Marks on the Bears.”

The doorbell rang and I answered. It was Eckhart Tolle, author of The New Earth. He was a spiritual teacher and another German.

Hitler snarled, “If I known you were coming I wouldn’t have shown up for this yawn fest.”

Eva put a hand on Hitler’s back and said, “Oh, Hittie, you said you would be nice.”

Eckhart shrugged and handed me a bottle of Trockenbeerenauslese.

Charles Bukowski, yet another German, strode in carrying case of diet Schlitz beer. I stuck my right hand out toward Bukowski and he stared vacantly at me. He wore a t-shirt covered with cigarette burns and numerous stains. I said, “Bukowski! I am so glad you made it. A party isn’t a party without Bukowski.”

Bukowski sighed and said, “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.” He slouched past me, holding onto his beer. He sat next to Eva on the couch, gave her a lecherous grin and cracked open a beer.

Hitler snapped the television on and shouted in triumph as the Bears won the coin toss.

The doorbell rang and there stood Kilgore Trout. “Mr. Trout, Mr. Trout!” I shouted. Kilgore covered his ears with his hands to block my obnoxious nasal voice. “Mr. Trout! It is a pleasure to have you here!”

Kilgore Trout was an old man, a snaggletooth, who stood before me in a tuxedo. He looked like a shriveled prune. He spoke, asking, “How could you possibly have heard of me?”

“Mr. Trout, I’ve read all 117 of your novels and all 2,000 of your short stories.”

“Um,” Kilgore said. “I’m not even a real person. I’m just part of the imagination of Kurt Vonnegut.” He sighed, “You sent me an invitation stating that this was a literary party?”

“Yes, all of us in this room are writers. Granted, I’ve only written two books and neither has ever sold a copy. And I’ve never read Hitler’s books. In fact I didn’t even invite him here, to tell you the truth.”

Kilgore looked around the room and spotted Bukowski with his right hand on Eva’s knees. Hitler sat on the other side of Eva, transfixed by the game, his face a luminous green from the reflection of my old television. Kilgore said, “Eva Braun is here? But she never wrote a book.”

“Yes she did,” I said, “She was on Oprah. Eva wrote My Turn. It sold fifty million copies last week. She and Hitler are working on the audio version next week.”

Bukowski belched and said, “We are all literary hustlers.”

“Um!” said Kilgore.

Hitler screamed, “Fuckers!” Kilgore and I looked at the screen: Cutler threw an interception. On the next play, the Rams made an eighty-yard screenplay and a touchdown.

Hitler shouted, “Damn it to hell!”

Eckhart made a “tsk” sound and said, “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Hitler turned to Eckhart and said, “Do you ever stop with that nonsense? Damn that Cutler, what an idiot!”

Eckhart replied in his dry monotone voice, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye but not the log in your own?”

Hitler growled and looked at Bukowski pawing Eva. “Hey, hey! Drunkowski! Get off my woman.”

Bukowski belched and said, “Love is a dog from hell.”

“What does that mean?” Hitler asked. “You are just a drunk who spouts nonsense and the masses lap it up.”

“No,” I said, “Bukowski is genius. Eckhart is genius. Kilgore is genius. But Hitler—why are you even here?”

“For comic relief.” Kilgore said, “This is all nonsense. How did Eva get on Oprah? I tried to get on with Plague on Wheels, but her producers wouldn’t consider it.”

“Hell,” said Bukowski, “Even I’ve been on Oprah. She loved At Terror Street and Agony Way.”

“Bullshit!” shouted Hitler. He turned back to the game, watching Cutler stumble in the end zone, and the Rams scoring a safety. Hitler screamed and dropped to the floor. He curled into the fetal position and wept.

Bukowski vomited on Eva’s lap. Eva shrieked, stood up and ran to the bathroom.

The Rams returned for a touchdown and scored a two-point conversion. They were now ahead 17-0. Kilgore laughed at Hitler and said, “Up your ass with Mobil Gas!”

The doorbell rang. I answered and there stood Epictetus in a white robe and sandals. “Epictetus! The greatest Stoic! Come in, come in.” He walked in the room and looked at Hitler, who remained crying on the floor. Epictetus tried to comfort him and said, “There are things up to us and things that are not up to us.”

Bukowski finished his case of beer, elbowed me, grabbed the bottle of Trockenbeerenauslese and slammed it.

The Bears were down 34-0. During the half-time show I tried to make the guests talk about literature and the books they wrote, but they wouldn’t talk shop. I looked around and asked Eckhart, “Where is Bukowski?”

“He left five minutes ago with Eva.”

Epictetus and Trout helped Hitler stand back up. The third quarter began and Cutler threw a fifty-yard touchdown. Hitler smiled. The Rams fumbled on their drive and the Bears ran it back for another touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, the Bears were down 31-34 with seconds on the clock. Cutler threw a touchdown and won the game. Hitler stood, triumphant, and marched to Eckhart demanding reparations. Eckhart sighed, dug out his wallet, and handed him five thousand Marks.

Football bored me. I wanted this to be a literary party. I turned to Kilgore and asked, “Which did you like better, Sister Carrie or An American Tragedy?”

“Um,” said Mr. Trout. He turned to Epictetus. “Did you catch The Office last night?”

“Man,” I thought, “That’s just it. Nobody wants to talk about books anymore.”

From writ­ing about a 180-pound bipolar wood tick, to a bear hav­ing an affair with a whore called The Amer­ican Dream, Adam Graupe’s fic­tion has run the gamut from the strange to the bizarre. Visit his author site here.

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