Kim Nelson: The Party

Joanna was really nervous about hosting a Pampered Chef party. Not only was it her her first time trying to sell fancy cookware to her circle of friends, she had never really hosted any festivities in the townhouse since Robert left. For the 75 minutes leading up to the start time she had included on the Evite, Joanna puttered around the kitchen, nervously snacking on the carefully arranged hor d’ oeuvres. The cheeseball was especially delicious and she kept picking at it with a multigrain cracker.cheeseball+11

When the doorbell rang, Joanna tossed back a shot of bourbon, swallowing hard. “That’s it for me,” she said to herself, thinking of the composure she must keep to be the perfect hostess. “Only Skinnygirl margs for the rest of the night.”

When she answered the door, she found to her dismay that her first guest of the night was Rachel Cunningham from down the street. During the contentious divorce, Rachel had the nerve to side with Richard, spreading gossip that the split was probably Joanna’s fault because he was “such a good guy” to every sympathetic Applebee’s server and drama-hungry Hobby Lobby employee in town.

When Joanna looked across the threshold straight into Rachel’s violet-tinted contact lenses, her first instinct was to slam the door in her face. Instead, Joanna swallowed her pride, took a deep breath, and politely asked the Wicked Bitch of the North Shore to please come inside and leave her Uggs on the shoe mat.

“I’m so glad you could make it!” Joanna said, a smile plastered on her face.

“Of course! I’m happy to be here!” Rachel strode inside, leaving a muddy Ugg-shaped footprint on the white carpet. “Am I the first one here? Well, that’s surprising!”

“Would you like something to drink?” Joanna asked through gritted teeth. “If you don’t mind, I’d really prefer if you leave your shoes on the shoe mat.”

“Of course, of course!” Rachel replied as she continued to wander halfway to the kitchen, leaving dead leaves and dog shit in her wake. “I’ll take a Malibu and Diet Coke.”

Joanna stalked to the kitchen, mixed the drink, and wondered if Rachel would notice if she hocked a loogie into it.

“You know, I must admit that I wanted to get here first. I have something I want to talk to you about,” Rachel said as she finally pulled the boots off her feet. “This is hard, so I’m just going to come out and say it.” She took a deep, dramatic breath. “I’ve been seeing Richard. We’re talking about moving in together.”

At the counter, Joanna lost all control of her body. The bottle of Malibu slipped through her fingers and bounced on the fluffy carpet. Her eyes focused on the Pampered Chef vegetable peeler sitting on the marble counter. She picked it up, quietly turned around, and walked back into the living room where Rachel was waiting, the “Juicy” emblem on her ass perched on the edge of the stool.

“I know it’s weird, sweetie,” Rachel continued, “but I think we can work through this. After all, we’re adults, right?”

Joanna blinked once, raised her hand with the vegetable peeler, and let out an animalistic scream as she shoved the utensil through Rachel’s solar plexus.

“Die, you bitch!” she screamed, yanking out the peeler and plunging it back into Rachel’s flesh again and again. Rachel attempted to scream in protest but choked on the blood that spouted through her silicone-plumped lips. Her fake violet eyes rolled back into her head and she sank onto the white carpet floor, now splattered in crimson.

Joanna stood over the fresh corpse. She looked at the peeler in her hand and let it fall to the floor. “That’s a good value for $19.95. Works like magic,” she said, her voice mechanical. She walked back to the kitchen and scooped up a giant chunk of cheeseball on a cracker then shoved it into her mouth. As she swallowed, she felt it lodge in her throat, cutting off all oxygen. She heaved and struggled before sliding down the butchers block, then collapsed on the tiled kitchen floor.

This short story was written during a DWWP exercise in which we were given three prompts: “cheeseball,” “magic,” and “swallow.” Halfway through the exercise, we were told that all of our characters must die by the end.

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