“Don’t be a dick to our guests!” Alyssa said in a whisper as Eric “helped” her add some more prosciutto to their charcuterie board. His role wasn’t actually necessary, of course, but had correctly read her expression when she asked him to help her in the kitchen, and had taken the welcome reprieve from their guests, who were lounging in their living room.
“I’m not being a dick,” he replied in an equally aggravated whisper. “I’m actually being very nice, considering how obnoxious our ‘guests’ are. Why are we even doing this stupid game night? You don’t even like this girl, and her boyfriend suuuucks.”
Alyssa shot him a pointed look as she put the finishing touches to the wine and cheese board. “Marie’s a friend from work, of course I like her. And David is fine, just stop antagonizing him. We’re a couple now, and sometimes, I want to hang out with other couples, and not just get drunk with our friends every weekend. Aren’t you tired of acting like a college kid all the time?”
Eric snorted. “Alyssa, if you knew us in college, you’d be amazed at how tame our weekends are. But yes, I don’t mind having couples friends, I just don’t want them to be this couple. Whatever. It’s fine, but I’m doing this for you.”
“I don’t care who you do it for, just be nice.” With that, Alyssa grabbed the board and put on a fake smile as she walked out of the kitchen. “Anyone here interested in some snacks to go with all of our wiiiiine?” She said in a fake cheery voice, holding up the charcuterie board as they walked back out to the living room. Marie and David, who were sitting around a coffee table with Cards Against Humanity cards spread on it, looked up with smiles and cleared some room for the food.
“Oh my god!” Marie exclaimed as she excitedly spread some brie on a cracker. “Girl, I didn’t know you were a master chef!” She took a delicate bite of the cracker and closed her eyes with pleasure. “Mmmmm. This is so good. It reminds me of this little bistro in Versailles I visited when I studied abroad which had the. Most. Amazing. Cheese you’ve ever tasted. Seriously, if you guys are ever in the area, you have to try this place. Like, all cheese in France is way better than ours – no offense Alyssa, I think they just have, like, better cows out there? But this bistro was even better. It was something else.”
Eric’s hands shook from the effort of not rolling his eyes. He grabbed a handful of smoked meat for himself and resisted the urge to say something sarcastic. This was not the first time Marie had brought up her trip abroad. Eric clapped his hands in attempt to liven the mood, chuckling internally as he saw David visibly flinch, and spoke enthusiastically. “Well, what do you guys say we continue with the game? David, I think you were up to pick a black card!”
“Yayyy, baby you get to pick!” Marie squealed. “You remember how this works, right? I know you ‘don’t play board games.’” She giggled as she ended her sentence with air quotes. David did not share in the laughter as he drew his card solemnly. In a monotone voice, he read it out loud. “Now on ESPN2, the World Series of…blank.” He looked up. “I’m sorry, I don’t really get it. I don’t watch sports.”
“Of coooourse you don’t.” Eric thought to himself, before replying out loud, his fake cheery tone bordering on sarcasm. “Oh, no worries, man. You can just grab another card!”
Flipping over a new card, David frowned for what seemed like the millionth time tonight. “War! What is it good for?” He read, and then added his thoughts. “Nothing except for lining old white dude’s pockets, that’s for sure. The whole military industry in this country just exists to appease weapons manufacturer lobbyists. And of course –“
This time it was Alyssa who cut him off. “Ooh, I have the perfect card for that one!” Eric glanced at her, a grin forming on his lips as he caught her eye. She looked away and placed one of her white cards down in front of David. Eric fanned his cards in his hands and looked through them.
“Which card would this guy like? Hah, as if he would like any of them. This might be the first person I’ve ever met who legitimately does not have a sense of humor. What a chode. I could be at the bar with the boys right now.” He scanned his cards, looking for a throwaway that he didn’t like. He wasn’t wasting a good card on David. He reached the last one and paused. It was perfect. He knew it wouldn’t be well received, but that wasn’t going to stop him. Sometimes the joke was too good to pass up. Suppressing a snicker, he laid it face down on the table with the other cards.
David shuffled the cards and read them aloud, placing them on the table as he did so.
“MechaHitler. Huh. I’m not sure what that means, but I guess Hitler would enjoy senseless killing in the name of politics.”
“The Devil Himself. If you believe in religious fairytales, I guess. The true devil is people with power.”
He paused, reading and re-reading the last card before slowly placing it on the table. Eric struggled to maintain his poker face.
“Ethnic Cleansing. Wow. That’s fucked up. Do people really enjoy this game?” He asked the table with a scowl on his face. “I feel like it’s just ‘shock-value’ humor for middle-schoolers and frat bros.” He continued in a stereotypical surfer voice. “Like, oh yeah, dude, let’s make fun of millions of people being massacred for this game, bro. That’s so –“
“So are you picking that last one as your winner?” Eric interrupted. His patience was worn past thin. He understood making sacrifices with his time was a part of being in a serious relationship, but he wasn’t about to get shit-talked in his own home. “Because if so, hand that card over, bro.” David wordlessly handed him the card as the table fell silent. Finally, Marie spoke up.
“I think we may have to get going, we have an early day tomorrow. But thanks so much for inviting us! We should do stuff like this more often. Next time, we’ll host you guys.”