My telling the bible story of the concubine cut in twelve equal pieces for the glory of god disrupted the party worse than if I’d dropped a firecracker in the midst of the assortment of businessmen and their spouses who had only just sat down to the first course.
“That was some sick shit”, said a large man with the hands of an undertaker sticking out of his tuxedo like signs of a violent end to an evening that had begun like any other gathering in this old Berkeley house with its ancient vines and meticulously crafted front yard overlooking the campus.
The woman next to him, a little thing in a yellow dress that provided too little contrast to her yellow hair and who almost looked as if she’d been born in her garment and acquired the mane later, made a hissing noise which seemed to strike the right chord with the crowd so that now others were emitting similar sounds from their chests over which expensive linen napkins were draped like blankets for the dead.
“Really, Becky”, mother said, looking at father with that look which had always been reserved for moments of public embarrassment too deep for words, “I think you had better take supper in your room.”
I nodded and left and that was that. As I turned, I quickly counted the guests – there were thirteen of them – and I suddenly was afraid that terrible things would happen to the girl with the yellow hair.
Again, I would not eat tonight.