Thursday, April 27, 2006

Entry #32

"An Unexpected Invitation"
by Daniel Marshall Wood

It lay on the corner of the foyer table, atop mail stacked neatly by the housekeeper, hidden in friendly shadows cast by two small etched crystal lamps, lovely souvenirs of a long-planned Cooperstown jaunt.

Decisive, unhurried calligraphy. ‘Mr. and Mrs. Craighton Hollingsworth’ never looked more beautiful. Heavy ivory bond, worthy of the monogrammed paper knife, an indulgence from St. James’s silver stalls in London. Craig never understood the allure of other people’s monograms.

The flap offered little resistance. Instinctively, fingers traced tiny embossed letters, braille to the socially knowledgeable: MRS. JOHN L STRONG, NEW YORK. Heaven! Definitely worthy of the entwined S F R on beaded-edge sterling.

An engraved house name – PEMBROKE HALL – stood resolutely at the card’s top, presiding over details of a dinner party three weeks hence, hosts unknown, the street vaguely familiar in a nearby village. A thrilling summons in black tie.

Of course they’d attend. Unfamiliar hosts, but dress-up, so they couldn’t possibly be axe murderers amid dashing guests drinking Champagne and tossing off witty rejoinders in an unforgettable evening.

What to wear? Unquestionably grandmother’s black velvet and her pearls. So simple, à la Audrey Hepburn in the 60s. No one could fault that look. Craighton’s tuxedo long awaited a social opportunity. Yes, heaven!


Craig had been reluctant, unable to risk, even as it beckoned engraved. Shamefully, their regrets had not been sent last fall. Edwina replaced the envelope in her dressing table drawer, still wondering if that had been the right decision.

[Daniel Marshall Wood leads a double life – as proprietor of Edgefield bed and breakfast in Sharon Springs, New York, and as an executive assistant in New York City. He has written umpteen short stories (several published on the Internet magazines Reflection’s Edge, T-Zero, Crime and Suspense and HandHeld Crime, and an upcoming issue of Silver Moon.). Daniel has also written several plays and a manuscript on how to start and run a B&B. He is twin to the five-minutes-older David Michael, a New York interior decorator.]


For The Trees said...

DAMN word counts! I wanna know what happened to them at the affair last fall!

Bernita said...

A little too subtle, perhaps?
Is she wondering if she missed some opportunity with the nouveau riche or the non-?

Jeff said...

Interesting story. :)

Lyn said...

Engaging story - makes me wonder about the party and the refusal. But call me dense, I'm not sure who Creighton is and who is Craig? Is Edwina Mrs. Hollingsworth? Sorry - just a bit underwritten for me. Nice descriptions; and the opening paragraph as one sentence works as well. Keep after it. Lyndon

Anonymous said...

Daniel, I appreciate the attempt to reflect the social position of the characters in the writing style. I liked the complexity of themes in the last paragraph.