I attended a holiday dinner at the House of Purpura. For the occasion they had procured an enormous case of a light port wine, of which everyone seemed to be partaking generously. Michael was gleefully, sloppily drunk for the first time I had seen. Christina and Mr. Purpura were thoroughly amused with each other and chummy, as if having a friendly drink (or three) together was a long-held tradition of theirs which they only rarely got the chance to enjoy. Mr. Purpura’s usual scathing wit was supplemented with a booming laughter that made him resemble a jovial President Castro. Christina was actually red in the face.
I was so surprised at all this that I rather lost my own inclination to drink, wanting to keep on my toes and alert for any new developments, though I had a perfectly good mixed 12 pack of Sam Adams and Shipyard of my own outside in the car.
As fate would have it, I was wise to abstain. We were getting ready for dinner. But not long beforehand, it was discovered that both Michael and I were covered head to toe in exotic insects, which we had endeavoured to collect earlier that day, and which seemed to have escaped. We hurried out into the living room and began clearing them off–tarantulas, spiders, creepy-crawlies, gigantic brightly-colored king crabs, and even several interesting varieties of mushroom. I was impressed to find a young Venus Fly Trap growing out of one of my shoulder-blades, and showed it off to Jennifer quite proudly. The phenomenon, I observed to David, was probably due to the fact that we had put on our sweaters musty and wet instead of letting them dry.
The bugs, we seemed content to allow to wander freely about the house, but I carefully piled up the mushrooms, hoping to make a spore print later, and identify them using my new mushroom guide. Unfortunately, in her drunken glee, Christina mistakenly stepped on and crushed several of the best specimens. I forgave her, and then Mrs. Purpura called us in for dinner.
Later, Michael, Erin and I attended an outdoor music awards ceremony of seemingly high prestige, which was emceed by Johnny Depp in the guise of Jim Morrison. It turned out that Erin was a new employee of the same establishment that sponsored the awards, and one day it would be her responsibility to take over for Johnny. I considered vaguely that if my girlfriend had connections like that it would easy for her to find someone to get me published.