From Jester To King CXIII
By Simon Barget
Jamie Spence was one big party and his house was the Party Zone and every time I went round it was like the thing never stopped and wall-to-wall people just existing for the sake of his parties. And every time I went round I’d always ask him how often he held them, and he’d reply somewhat quizzically every day and I couldn’t believe these parties were so frequent, I mean it just didn’t make sense. The parties were lavish because the house was too. The house had a swish marble entrance to a swooping staircase and before the staircase was a marble-topped table and on the table all the things would be set out, all the food and goodies and most of the people at the party could be found moving around or near to this table as if magnetised to it. The house wasn’t that big, it was just exceptionally lavish, and the people at the party were very pretty, and lavish people too, dressed up to the nines, these were the good-looking people that I hadn’t associated with since my youth, these were rich people too, people without a care in the world, people removed from the travails of the world, the men had chiselled features and ultra smooth skin and they wore tuxedos or black jackets and they moved about with this reassurance that you couldn’t fathom. And then the girls were plentiful and all sultry beauties, big bejewelled eyes, and smouldering, and they wore little black dresses and they just looked brazenly at all the men and had no compunction in seeking you out with their gaze and you could smell the sex in the room, the girls hunting the boys hunting the girls all around this table and ornate light fittings.
It was just too much for me, this party, and even though I had been before, it was as if I hadn’t, and as soon as I go in I see about three girls, all exceptionally stunning, all on their own, looking and scoping, eyeing me up, waiting but not inviting, not making it easy for me, and then soon enough I see Spence and chat a bit and then I realise from our chat that I can’t cope with this party, it’s too much for me, I want to take refuge in Spence, I don’t want to be left to myself, I don’t want to be left to be with the women, to interact with them, see them, touch them, smell them, I want to disappear and get away and as if to add insult to my injury, one of Spence’s friends come up and he’s one of these typical rich handsome guys, dark hair, parted, tall, chiselled, and so I seek refuge in a chat with him but all he wants is a few passing words and he walks away from me almost mid-sentence and goes right up to a beauty with the courage of Ulysses, perhaps more than one, plants himself right in the middle of them with no reluctance or fear, and I look upon this man as if he’s a different species, that he’s so much smoother and better-looking than I am, literally physically smoother, such smooth clean skin, so different to me, that I would never be able to do what he does, and soon enough I am standing on my own again trying to find something safe to cling on to and now there is nothing and I just feel that awful gnawing feeling in my stomach, that feeling that I am alone and that everyone can see it and that I’m the only one that doesn’t just move with ease amongst the sex and the sexes, and that they all knew I was a bit different and that now it’s plain to see.
Shortly after, looking for a place to hide, I spot a couch behind the table and there are four or five people sitting on it, and as soon as I see these people I see that they have a completely different attitude to everyone else at the party – these people are actually relaxed and down-to-earth, they are chatting and smiling – and it is only after I’ve seen these people that I realise how uptight all the other beauties are and how obsessed they are with this one thing, and these couch people just freely beckon me over, they ask me what I’m up to, and yes the couch people are a bit shabbily dressed but I just go over and start chatting and I can’t be sure but I think two of them are a couple and they’re looking at a photo album of a recent holiday to Canada and they invite me in to have a look and they show me some of their photos, and I am feeling completely at ease at this point, I have no need to hide, and I realise that it is not only that the cold people are actually cold, it is that I’m cold too and I’m drawn to the cold and I have been going around at these parties being cold because I thought that that’s what the good-looking people do, but all they get are a few shallow words before they move on to the next man and they never get fulfilled. And yes I know I feel at ease with the couples because there’s no danger of communion -- they are off limits -- but then all the other people end up being off limits too and all you end up with is a perpetual circling, a swooping pattern, with us never touching each other, never really coming close.