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A Howling Good Time

It's Friday night. The Varmint and I get off work at 8pm, throw on our party duds and hightail it a half-mile up the hill to a cocktail party at our neighbors' place.

We enter, and the house is aroar, jam-packed full of people. Hyena laughs can be heard over the general din of conversation, a sea of cleavage, holiday-themed Hawaiian-print shirts and glittering glassware. I note that a good percentage of the more subdued guests are glancing nervously at whatever potent concoction the host just poured into their martini glasses: Lime green, Santa red, orangey-orange and deadliest of all - the dreaded clear beverage. The drink colors change like twinkle lights - if you're not paying attention, you'll look down and your glass will be full again and the color will have changed. All you'll hear are the telltale sounds of a cocktail shaker and an evil cackle fading away into the distance.

Blame Chris - tiki-obsessed party host, longtime surfer and cocktail mixmaster. I wised up long ago, after a two-day hangover from one of his parties catalyzed a week-long, full-body detox that involved drinking quarts of unfiltered cranberry juice. Now, I just keep my hand over the top of my glass. He grumbles "Spoilsport," as he passes me by.

A couple of hours into the party, someone starts a campaign to call Chris by a new nickname. That nickname is LUBE - with all-capital letters. It just works on so many levels - and it's certainly better than the nickname he almost earned that night, which was FIDO.

It all started because LUBE wanted food. He's busily tending the bar when he looks over at me, gestures to the food table and looks longingly at the cookies and hors d'oeuvres to my right. I know that feeling, when you're hungry and stuck behind a bar all night. So I take pity on him, grab a full bag of green and red holiday cookies and hand them over. He dips in and takes a big handful, pops them into his mouth, chomps away and grins his thanks.

He continues mixing his deadly cocktails and crunching his cookies. That's when I see his wife Becky come flying across the room. She appears to be in slow motion. One of her arms is flailing our general direction. She's shouting, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

I'm confused and startled. I back away and look to the people around me, trying to figure out what exactly she's hollering about. Then I hear her shriek, "STOP EATING THOSE! THOSE ARE DOGGIE BISCUITS!"

The party stops cold. For one beat. Two beats. Then LUBE spews red and green crumbs everywhere and runs for the bathroom. Everyone starts howling, "AWOoooooOOOOOooooooOOOO!"

When I hear Becky ask, "Where'd he get those?", I start to edge sneakily toward the front door. (I know, I know. It's a cowardly escape attempt, but I also know that they know me, which means they'll never believe I found the dog biscuits on the food table and that it was purely an accident that I chose that bag - which, I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear - actually was ... A lucky accident, true. But an accident nonetheless.)

For the next half-hour, I try to convince them that feeding the host a bagful of dog cookies was not on my evil agenda for the evening. I even point out that had it been, I obviously would've brought my Nikon - but it was no use. They refused to listen to reason.

Besides, it's really hard to be convincing when you're bent double from laughing too hard.

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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >