So here comes Gary and I introduce him to my hungry and irritated guests.
“This is my friend Gary, who has just published a novel in England,” I say.
– What is the novel about? someone asks
“Shooting my parents,” says Gary.
This gets their attention.
“I’m the best writer in America,” says Gary. “The book had good reviews in England and it has just been published here, but no one pays attention to it. I guess what it takes to get attention in this country is to shoot someone. Maybe I should go out and shoot someone again. Heh, heh.”
I see two people looking nervously at the shish kebab skewers, glowing blood red in the fireplace.
“Heh, heh,” say the guests.
Gary disappears into the bathroom for a long time. Then he leaves.
After he leaves, there is an eruption of euphoria, relief, and excitement in my apartment. It’s the best chat about the guest who just left ever. No one was shot and finally the food is ready. I serve the steaks and the sorbet and the guests love it. I go to bed happy.
The psychopharmacologist calls the next day.
“Your friend needs treatment,” he says. “I wouldn’t touch him with Thorazine darts, but I’d be happy to refer him to my partner.”
Gary is long gone, but I remember him fondly. RIP, Gary. You saved my dinner.
Joyce Wadler, author of two non-fiction books, wrote the New York Times column “I Was Malinformed” for several years and has just completed her first novel, “The Satyr in Bungalow D.”