Gosh Lynn, what a great party! You’re Margaretta’s best friend; tell me, how on earth does she do it!”

“I really shouldn’t say, Cathy, but if you promise not to tell anyone.”

“This conversation goes straight to the vault, and I’ll throw away the key. Sooo . . .?”

“It’s just that she’s had to make a few creative compromises since AIG let Dwight go.”

“Compromises? You call these hors d’oeuvres a compromise? Smoked mussels!”

“Dollar General.”

“And these delicious cheddar canapes? There’s no way they came from Dollar General.”

“You’re right. Family Dollar.”

“Lynn, don’t tell me that the marinated octopus is from Family Dollar too?”

No, Cathy, of course not! It’s from Dollar Tree. Did you know that many scientists believe that canned food can be perfectly safe for up to a year past the ‘Sell By’ date?”

“My goodness, no! And come to think of it, I didn’t know that AIG had let Dwight go. When?”

“About six months ago.”

“But I see him leave the house every morning, about the same time that my Fritz leaves for his office!”

“Keeping up appearances, I guess. You know Dwight, he has his pride, and Margaretta says he’s never stopped blaming himself for what happened at AIG.”

“So where does he go every day?”

“He drives to his mother’s condo in Hamilton, and spends the day calling everyone he can think of — and searching Monster.com”

“But, what did Dwight have to do with AIG’s problems? Wasn’t he senior assistant executive vice president of accounting in their building maintenance department?”

“Well, Dwight always said that AIG had an unusual corporate culture. Margaretta told me that he’s been taking it very hard, especially since he had to stop riding with his motorcycle club, Satan’s CPAs, and sell his Harley to help pay his tuition at Apex Tech. Seems he’s got his mind set on pursuing a career in the exciting world of oxy-acetylene welding.”

“Oh dear, what about their finances in the meantime? How ever is Margaretta coping?”

“She’s hanging on. Fortunately, Dwight received a generous severance package, but Margaretta confided that their nest egg is running out. She’s tried to take up some of the slack, but nothing’s worked out, and she’s starting to get a bit desperate.”

“What do you mean, ‘a bit desperate’?”

“She swore me to secrecy, but I know you’re a good friend. She told me that she tried to run one of those E-mail ‘phishing’ scams.”

“Phishing? What’s that?”

“You know, where you E-mail people, pretending to be a senior official in the Nigerian government or whatever, and ask for their bank account number in exchange for a share of the money that they ‘help’ you get out of the country?”

“Oh, those . . . those are scams?”

“We’ll of course they are! She started sending out her phony E-mails to everyone she could think of, until she realized that when your E-mail address is ‘PrettyKitty734@aol.com’ no one is going to believe that you’re a senior official in the Nigerian government. Almost no one, that is. Someone was stupid — or maybe greedy — enough to actually send Margaretta their bank account number. Can you believe it?”

“Um, well, no, I can’t. Tell me Lynn, Margaretta wouldn’t actually, you know, empty somebody’s bank account, would she?”

“I don’t think so, especially after little Demetrius pointed out that using her actual E-mail address would make it pretty easy for the FBI to track her down.”

“Demetrius always was a bright boy. How is he handling all this?”

“Pretty well, actually. In fact, Margaretta’s been putting those music lessons to work that she and Dwight sent Demetrius to for years.”

“Really? How?”

“He’s been composing and recording silly car songs and sending them to the Car Talk Guys. She told me that Rusty Rocker Panel Blues made it to number six on Tom and Ray’s Top Ten.”

“Wow! I hum that song all the time at my spinning class!”

“Yes, and Demetrius has also found that he has a talent for writing ‘links,’ the musical interludes that they play between segments on NPR radio shows. Did you know that by lengthening the links between segments 13 percent, they need one fewer segment every two and a half hours? They pay Demetrius next to nothing for each link, and it’s saving NPR millions of dollars a year.”

“I had no idea. Anyway, Margaretta still throws a wonderful party. You’d never know all the tsuris that she’s been through. Just look at the “PEACE” floral display on the buffet table! What a lovely sentiment in these troubled times!”

“Just ‘entre nous’ I think it that it originally said REST IN PEACE. Necessity is the certainly matriarch of invention, eh Cathy?”

“Lynn, I must agree.”

“Speaking of being resourceful in these hard times, I’m surprised that you haven’t commented on my cocktail dress. Don’t breathe a word of this, but I bought it at the Nearly New Shop.”

“It’s, ur, lovely, Lynn.”

“I knew you’d like it. Isn’t yellow your favorite color too?”

“Uh, yes Lynn, it is. It most certainly is. Uh, care for another canape?”

George Point is a freelance writer / editor who lives and works in Lawrenceville. He develops copy for web and print marketing campaigns, business publications, brochures, user guides and policies and standards for his corporate clients.

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