So, what do you do with two strangers who you’ve invited into your home for the weekend? The cabin is less than 1,000 square feet, so a tour of the house lasts about five seconds, which leaves you with five seconds short of 48 hours to kill.
“How about a drink?” I asked sensibly after our conversation raced off a cliff and into a crevasse of awkward silence. Everyone in the party nodded vigorously in moist hunger.
We mixed the cocktails for maximum potency, and they quickly had their desired effect. In short order, we were chatting and laughing as if we had known each other for ages.
As the evening got wetter, our stories became more intimate. We told them of the controversial beginning on our relationship—a story that is equal parts ridiculous and tragic, and just far enough in the past that we can laugh about it. And then they told us of their less-than-romantic origins—how they stumbled into a love trap after years of platonic disinterest.
“We didn’t even like each other much as friends,” confided one of the women. “I’m still confused why we ever got together.”
The other woman, who possessed a deep sullenness that initially charmed me but seemed to darken further into misanthropy with each martini, stared up menacingly from her drink and snapped, “We haven’t slept with each other in 10 years.”
I shot my girlfriend a look of panic. When I suggested that we make new friends, I didn’t think that a) she would drag the first couple she found back to the house and invite them to spend the weekend and b) our new friends would be miserable with each other and, possibly, in the process of plotting to kill each other.
My girlfriend and I excused ourselves to the kitchen while the rumblings of a vicious argument stirred in the fetid atmosphere surrounding our new friends.
“This is going to end in a murder-suicide,” I said, as my girlfriend began to hide the knives. “We’ve got to get them out of here.”
“They’re drunk,” she cried. “They have to spend the night at least. Maybe one of them will pass out before blood is spilled.”
We grabbed some alcohol-absorbing snacks and returned to the Edward Albee play that had broken out in the living room. The two women were engaged in a noisy standoff in the middle of the room, screaming accusations and shoving fingers in faces.
They clearly had hated each other in silence for years. Now, fueled by the toxic potion of vodka and olives and unleashed in a strange setting with people you will never have to see again, they finally were able to let their hate bubble fully to the surface.
Hours of stunning humiliations, threats, and a wrestling match that was sparked by a custody dispute over their pets followed. At some point in the evening, my girlfriend and I sneaked off to bed.
The next morning, we woke to find them gone. The living room, which had been victimized by dramatic arm gestures and flung objects the night before, was in perfect order. The only sign of the previous night’s events was a crack in our Minnesota State Fair commemorative snow globe. The cow in the center looked slightly bewildered but largely unscathed.
We’ve placed the snow globe in a prominent place to remind us that making new friends can be as dangerous and unpredictable as a first date. Always best to do a background check before crawling into bed.