I knew Elliot loosely at best. Elliot would host these after-hours poker parlors, with Scotch, cigars, women and pretty big cash. It was a $2000 buy in and it usually didn’t get started until after 3. Needless to say it was always a Hollywood crowd though for the life of me I still can’t figure out how the hell people got invited.
My friend Benny was friends with this guy named Micah, and Micah knew Jon Michel and so on and so forth. It was like 15 degrees of separation, that in the end all roads led to Elliot. I kind of got the feeling very few people knew Elliot, but the guy knew how to work a room.
And work our pockets. I lost every time I played, and things got so bad for Benny and Micah that eventually they stopped going. This place had rules and one of the rules was: YOU HAD TO PLAY. Period. No questions asked. You could come in and lose your shirt, but you had to at least play a few hands. Yeah the women were there as an added bonus, but because I have been known to have an affinity for all things gambling, I rarely engaged in much conversation with them.
There was however, this incredibly beautiful redhead who I talked to me quite a bit. She was at least 6’ tall and always wore heels which added another 6 inches to her height (which of course meant she was taller than me, but I liked that a lot). Leggy and sexy, she drank more Scotch than I did on most nights and always encouraged me to grab another. I generally left the games at around 6. After three good hours of heavy boozing and losing, I knew my limitations.
One evening Elliot saw me leaving and approached.
“D, why you leaving so soon?”
“Tapped out for the night.”
“I like you, you know that.”
“You’re a cool dude El. Everyone likes you.” I figured he was just too high to really say anything else, so I turned to leave.
“Why don’t you come over for dinner. On Wednesday.”
“I’ll send you an invite.”
And like that I had just accepted an invitation to have dinner at Elliot’s and I barely knew the guy.
As I walked up the stairs to the entrance level at his place, he just kind of stood there, as if waiting for me to ask a question.
Finally, he spoke. “Bring someone.”
“What and who should I bring,” was all I could think of for the next couple of days. Wine? Cheese? A homemade dish? Apple Pie? This guy had more money than the Treasury Department. What did I really need to bring? Finally I decided it would be Hawaiian rolls.
Hawaiian freaking rolls.
There was a great little bakery down on Montana that I went to sometimes and they made the best rolls. I thought it would be a nice changeup to the usual things people brought to dinners. And at the very least the bread would absorb all of liquor I knew that I would consume.
Now my next biggest problem was deciding who to bring. One thing about Elliot that was pretty easy to see was he always kept a bevy of women in his midst. And they were always beautiful. Inside I wondered about the redhead and whether or not she would be there. In the end I decided she would be so the last thing I wanted to do was bring any sort of interference to the party. That ruled out any girlfriends. Even the ones that I was just friends with, would probably give the wrong impression.
So in the end (and after several phone calls to other people), I decided I’d take Miguel.
Miguel was a hip and popular party promoter in Hollywood. He was easy to get along with and I figured Elliot would think he was cool enough to be there.
We arrived with my dinner rolls at the precise time. We were led into the dining room by Elliot’s doorman and….
The first thing I noticed was that there were at least 50 people there and they all had dates (of the opposite sex) except for eight men seated closely together, chatting in front of the fireplace.
Elliott greeted me and I introduced him to Miguel.
Miguel made his acquaintances with the bar and left Elliot and I to chat.
Elliot leaned in.
“I think I pegged you differently, but it’s no problem. I have some friends I’d like for you to meet.”
“What do you mean?”
Elliott motioned towards the eight men seated together chatting.
“All good guys. Partyers like me. Well not quite like me. I’ll introduce you.”
Suddenly it hit me.
Just as the stunning redhead made her way towards us.
This was a swingers’ dinner and Elliot was about to introduce me to the gay swingers, because he thought that….
“I’m delighted to see you again.” I could barely hear her because my brain had just unleashed a high pitched scream that no one else could hear. Elliot grabbed her hand. “This is my wife Maggie.”
Wife. Maggie. Wife.
Maggie eyed me and I knew exactly what was on her mind.
“Honey, D brought Miguel.” Maggie followed his motion to see Miguel still at the bar. A look of disappointment swept over Maggie. I instantly saw it and she knew that I did. She smiled.
“So glad you and Miguel came.”
“Well we didn’t actually come together. Like that.” I didn’t know what else to say but hell it was true. I didn’t like Miguel. I mean I liked Miguel but I didn’t like him.
As I gathered my thoughts on how exactly I was going to tell Elliot I’ve been wanting his wife since I first saw her, they were whisked away by a good looking couple towards the kitchen.
My imagination ran wild. “That could’ve been me.” Then I stopped. “His wife?” I’ve done many things in my life, but I will admittedly say swinging has not been one of them. Though I liked Maggie, I couldn’t have done it. At least that’s what I told myself.
I headed back to the bar where Miguel was. He was clueless and trying to cozy up to the bartender. “Dumb ass,” I thought, not knowing if that was directed at me or him. After a few Scotches I knew it was time to go. This wasn’t our party. Everyone was doing their thing and we were sort of like two pariahs. I had unknowingly broken the golden rule of swinging, “Never bring a single guy to a swingers’ party.”
As we headed out I grabbed a Hawaiian roll and downed my last drink and took one final look at Maggie.
Damn she was hot.
I haven’t been invited back since.