Saturday, January 15, 2022

Story Idea: The Party and Its Aftermath

This idea for a novel or film is based on an incident from the life of Cary Grant. (I'm currently listening to a Cary Grant biography while commuting here and there, running errands, etc.)

I've not settled on a title yet, but the story concept is set. As in real life, situations lead to decisions which create new situations. As a working title we'll call it ...

The Party and Its Aftermath

On a gorgeous summer evening in Duluth several dozen prominent people have gathered for a private dinner party at the Great Lakes Aquarium. Tables have been rolled in and set up to seat 52, six tables set for 8 and an additional table for the band. The invitation implied that anyone who is anyone will be present, along with some special surprise guests. 

The hosts of the party are newly minted Twin Cities billionaire Brent Chance and his wife Bev. The event was preceded by a News Tribune story about how Chance, who grew up in Edina but made his fortune in California real estate, was considering a serious investment in Duluth. The article cited Duluth's reputation as a growing arts mecca along with its well-known quality of life benefits. 

The gathered guests came from a variety of backgrounds. There were local political figures, lawyers, contractors, and people in the local hospitality industry. Two or three ad agencies were represented as well as business owners, a few local media personalities, the head of the Duluth Playhouse, a few professors, the new LISC director, a couple from the Duluth NAACP, and descendants of several prominent "old money" families. A few weren't really sure why they'd been selected, and several were a little insecure as to the purpose of the party.

It was a curious event. There had been an dance floor assembled with a jazz ensemble that entertained throughout the evening. At a certain point in time Brent Chance stood and went to the podium in the far corner of the room. The scenery behind him was glorious, the water shimmering on the bay creating an aura that made him appear to shimmer as well.

Chance introduced his wife, thanked everyone for coming, and made note of two or three individuals who had made him feel especially welcome when visiting the city during the past couple years. He also thanked The Boat House for catering the meal and Tom Hanson for the hors d'oeuvres beforehand and desserts after. He briefly shared how growing up in Minnesota made him the man he had become, then talked about his business ventures that had grown under the umbrella of Fast Pivot Enterprises.

"Be sure to tour the Aquarium and enjoy the new exhibits," he added. "There's also a rather nice display of new paintings by Adam Swanson down the hall from where you came in. Stay as long as you like. The bar will remain open till the band packs up." 

Shortly after returning to his seat the mayor's husband leaned over and asked, "The invitation implied a couple V.I.P.s might be present."

Chance gave a laugh. "Really, we're all V.I.P.s. But if you look at the musicians, over on the right is Billy Peterson on stand-up bass. He comes from three generations of jazz musicians in the Twin Cities. He recorded with Dylan on Blood on the Tracks. He'd planned to bring his friend Steven Tyler from Hawaii, but something came up." 

Everyone at the table craned their necks at this.

"Swanny Swanson, the drummer, is a friend of Billy's. The fellow on keyboards is an A-team player from California, Mario Landolfi. He's a personal friend and now one of the biggest names in both L.A. and San Diego. And if you check out the fellow standing over by the window, he's with the Vikings. He already asked if I have any connections to get him traded to a West Coast team. He doesn't like our weather." Chance laughed again. "I don't have any pull with the 49ers, and even if I did the report card on him is that he's lost a step since his injury in 2020. But he's smart, and who knows. He might make be an asset for one of my Fast Pivot companies in Malibu."

The food was remarkable, the desserts equally so. Most of the guests at one point or toured the Aquarium exhibits their tax dollars helped design and maintain.

As the crowd began thinning the jazz trio got into a swinging improv set so that as the guests made their exits it created an upbeat end to the evening. 

* * *

A week after this grand affair at the Aquarium everyone who had attended received a thank you card and an invitation to a follow up party. It will be full of surprises, the invitation read. "Nothing like you have ever experienced before," it promised. "It is very important you be there. You won't want to miss it." 

The follow up event indeed lived up to its promise.



Anonymous said...

Why didn't you have Dylan be one of the surprise guests? This is fiction, right? An you're in Duluth?

Ed Newman said...

You're absolutely right. What was I thinking?
Thanks for the tip.

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