I was trying not to take it personally. Really.
Okay, I was taking it extremely personally. Why else had they all called to say they’d be at the house in time for dinner on Friday but no earlier? Therefore no cocktail hour(s). I admit it: I’m an out-of-control control freak. I was making a perfect meal: Bobby Flay’s barbecued salmon; Israeli couscous, which I was spiffing up with saffron and grill-roasted red peppers; and a salad (from a bag—I can be lazy about salads). We would start with Pernod from the freezer, and dessert would be a delightfully thick and creamy drink made to order—my favorite dessert cocktail.
Then it hit me: they were avoiding what I claimed was that week’s cocktail du weekend. Aw, man—it was obviously a joke! I’d sent out an email claiming—stupidly, I now realize—that I’d found an obscure drink recipe and would be making it on Friday. It was called the Booger.
The Booger was duly repulsive: ½ part banana liqueur, ½ part coconut rum, and ½ part Midori. As if this combo wasn’t wretched enough, Boogers get topped off with Bailys Irish Cream. Shake with ice. Strain. Drink. Vomit.
Bogus Boogers drove them away! The puppies, Robbie and Kyle, both said they were meeting friends for drinks at low tea. (Wasn’t I their friend?) Craig preferred Top o’ the Pines; he was meeting Paolo there for martinis. Even Dan said he was stopping at BarHarbor for a Pernod on the rocks before coming home. Did none of them have a sense of humor? At least Kyle apologized before bailing on me.
Dan arrived around 8:30. “Where are the snot shots?” he asked pleasantly. A growl was my reply. He turned away from me toward the stairs, and I lost it. “Do you really think I’d make that shit?” I barked. His face took on that stricken look he gets when I bawl him out for something he doesn’t understand. Then I felt guilty. “It was just a joke, sweetie. A bad joke. You know me. Would I ever make a Booger?” “You just might,” he said. “As some sort of revenge.”
The other guys staggered in around 9:30, all totally plastered. The barbecued salmon was gummy. The couscous clumped. Only the salad was any good, and that was because it was still in the bag. I was seething. We ate in silence. The puppies were too drunk to talk; Craig was too caught up in his food; Paolo was visibly frightened of me and my temper; and Dan knew he was already on thin ice. We both hated dinners like this; we called them “Night of the Living Drunks.” So I refused to make the cocktail du weekend. The Brandy Alexanders would have to wait.