A WASHINGTON DINNER PARTY
From the collection of 'Short Short Stories of Social Revenge"
BY JANE STANTON HITCHCOCK
The hostess was giving a dinner for the very eminent Ambassador P. She had planned it for months. No expense had been spared. Her chef was preparing food from his country. She had ordered the best wines. Flowers were being flown in from France. Everyone was coming. Five days before the party, the ambassador canceled.
Once she got over the shock, she was in a quandary. Should she alert those she had invited that her guest of honor was no longer coming? She decided to do the honorable thing. She wrote the following note to everyone by hand and had her chauffeur deliver them that afternoon:
One day later she received the following note from Aerosol Blackberry, a prominent socialite:
It might have been wiser not to say anything. On second thought, if the ambassador hadn't been there when we arrived, we'd have walked out in droves. So thank you for the heads up. Yours sincerely, Aerosol Blackberry."
The hostess couldn't believe the cheek of the woman. She read the note twice and decided it was a joke. She called Aerosol, a woman she didn't much like, but who was a big campaign contributor and part of the fabric of social life.
'Oh, Aerosol," Eve began, 'I got your hilarious note!"
'What's hilarious about it?" Aerosol said coolly.
'Surely, it's a joke."
'I don't think it's a joke to invite people to a party for someone who isn't going to be there. I have better things to do with my time."
'Okay. If that's how you feel."
'It is. And I'm not alone," Aerosol said ominously.
Later that day, other notes arrived and apologetic messages were left. Everyone was canceling. Eve fervently wished she hadn't told the truth. The next morning, she got up in a funk. She was thinking of scrapping the party altogether. She blamed her misfortune on Aerosol Blackberry, who had gotten the cancellation ball rolling. Her telephone rang. It was the ambassador.
'My dear Eve," he said in his smooth diplomat's voice. 'The prime minister has changed my appointment, so I find I can come to your party after all. And, do please tell me if this is an imposition, but would you possibly have room for the prime minister and his wife as well?" The hostess was so delighted she hardly knew what to say.
'Of course! How wonderful," she managed. That day, she wrote to all of her guests again, informing them that Ambassador P. had again changed his plans. He was now coming to the party as scheduled - along with his prime minister. She wrote to everyone except Aerosol Blackberry.