Perfect Rosebud Napkin
By Heidi Hirner
A perfect housewife knows that the magic of a special occasion lies in the presentation, in the little details. So, if she
is expecting important guests, she will go to the effort of folding perfect rosebud napkins.
Oh good, you've arrived. Thanks for coming. Say "cheese" for the webcam. The webcam there - do you see
it? It's covering the door - the arrivals. There's another one in the living room. I know it's clever, Esme's
little boy set them up. Oh, so that Vince's parents in Oz can also enjoy the party, in real time. Very clever
little munchkin, Esme's boy. He's going to edit the footage into a video called "Vince's Surprise 40th Birthday
Party". He's such a creative little thing, wants to be a film director when he grows up.
Anyways, come in, come in. It's freezing out here. It's good to see you again, we can catch up on some skinner
before the party begins. Did you remember to park in the barn? Farmer Hoyt's barn? I don't want Vince to
see any cars when he arrives, it'll ruin the surprise.
Farmer Hoyt was a bit odd, you say? No doubt, yes, he is a bit strange but then aren't all country folk just a little
bit touched? Too much goat's milk cheese, in my opinion. Oh, didn't you notice? There's signs all the way
down. "Goat's milk cheese for sale." "This way to goat's milk cheese." "Goat's milk cheese straight from
the farm." Who even knew that goats produce milk?
Farmer Hoyt was showing you his bidizza. Really? I think you mean his "burdizzo". How odd of the man, I
hope he's not trying to engage all the guests in conversation, he can be such an oddball. I can't believe he
was showing off his burdizzo, that really is an eccentric thing to do. Why would you be interested, after all.
What's a burdizzo??? Sweetie, don't you know? Well, I suppose it's natural not to know, we do live in the city, after
all. I was shocked and horrified when I found out what it is. Shocked and horrified and a little amused,
because frankly it is funny in a sick sort of way. It's a … no wait, let me whisper it in your ear, I don't want
your other half to hear this, it'll make his eyes water. Come, let's drop off your handsome husband off there by the
men at the fire and then you can come help me in the kitchen.
A burdizzo is a <inaudible whisper>.
Of course I'm not joking. Well, how did you think bulls get neutered? Not by attending a flower-arranging class,
I can tell you that much. It doesn't cut them right off, just breaks a nerve and the bloodflow until they shrivel up
and drop off. Well, that's what Farmer Hoyt told me but I can never tell if he's pulling my leg or not. You know,
making fun of the kugel city-mouse by telling her a load of hogwash about large pliers, it's quite possible that is what he
was doing. I would be tempted to do the same, if I lived in the country with nothing else to do.
Did you stop at the café on the way here? Spiro - the owner - Spiro has super-glued a R5 coin to the counter top.
It amuses him to watch his customers try to steal it. Satellite reception is terrible, so they have to dream up their
own entertainments. Thank god this is just a weekend home. The peace and quiet is nice for about two days, and
then I find myself longing for flat marble floors and escalators.
No, Farmer Hoyt is not is real name - I keep on forgetting his real name so I just call him Farmer Hoyt. You know, like
Sheriff Hoyt in that movie, now what was it called … oh yes "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Do you remember Sheriff
Hoyt in the movie? Uncle of "Leatherface". Well that's who Farmer Hoyt reminds me of - one of those backwater
brutalists from a cheap horror movie. Although he's completely harmless. Farmer Hoyt, I mean. He's completely
harmless. Yes, I know, he does seem to be a little touched but, shame, it's sweet of him to lend us his barn
for the evening so that Vince doesn't see the cars when he drives up.
No, Vince doesn't have a clue about the surprise. Well, why would he suspect anything? His birthdays is not until
next week Even if he does think that I've arranged something for his birthday, he'll be expecting it next week, not
I must say it's nice of everyone to drive all this way, but I think they've enjoyed the drive. The mountains are very
scenic, aren't they? So relaxing, the drive. And when you start to see the Malutis, that's when you can breath
again, that's when Joburg really disappears.
Will you help me fold the napkins? Aw bless you, you are a dear. We're folding them into rosebuds. A rosebud
shape. Of course I'll show you. Here, I printed the instructions off the internet.
"Fold napkin in half diagonally." Oh, I know I don't normally go to such an effort, but I really wanted this evening
to be perfect.
"Fold corners to meet at top point."
And I thought I had better make an effort for Vince, he's been a bit … well, a bit middle-age-crisisey lately.
Do you know he bought himself a Porche the other day? No, really, I'm not joking. Honestly. A Porche.
I suppose I should be grateful that it's not a red one, that would be very embarrassing indeed, having a middle-aged husband
with a throbbing red Porche. And you know, I'm all for someone treating themselves, you know, enjoying the fruits of
their labour, but I do draw the line at objects that are so … obviously phallic, so incredibly blatant. Next thing,
he'll be arranging hair plugs. You know, renewing the fertility of his head for all to see.
"Turn napkin over and fold bottom 2/3 way up."
So anyway, I thought I had better throw him a huge party. A surprise - something to make a fuss over him. I've
never thrown a surprise party for Vince before. He'll never suspect it. And you know, normally I never come here.
It's just too far from Joburg for me. But Vince is here almost every weekend. He might expect me to throw a formal
party for him up in Joburg, but he'll never guess that I'm throwing a surprise party for him at our weekend getaway.
"Turn napkin around and bring corners together, tucking one into the other."
Hmm, now it's getting a little complicated. "Turn napkin around and bring corners together, tucking one into the other."
Here's the picture - can you figure it out? Oh, I see. Good thing you're helping, I wouldn't have been able
to figure it out by myself. Yes, every weekend. Fly-fishing. Or it could be trout fishing, I'm not really
sure. Some kind of fishing. Fishing that doesn't involve fishing poles, because he never seems to pack any.
Perhaps he just catches the fish with his bare hands, that would be very manly.
"Turn napkin around and stand on base."
Excellent. And there we have it. Perfect rosebud napkins. I got the idea from "Perfect Housewife".
Do you ever watch it? Fascinating. The presenter said that paper napkins are a sign of poor breeding and low class.
I instantly felt guilty when she said that. I mean, you've been to my house, you know I serve my guests meals off paper
plates sometimes. So anyway, I've turned over a new leaf. I should also begin to treat myself, you know.
I should allow myself porcelain plates and Egyptian cotton napkins with a Dutch lace border, beautifully folded into rosebuds.
If Vince is treating himself, then so should I.
Who's here? Oh, I don't think you've met them before. All his friends, his business associates. All the
bigwigs from Vince's work. Even some of his most important customers. And let's not forget my in-laws, via web-cam.
And that's my attorney over there, the short little man with the hairy wrists. Talking to Vince's accountant.
He's going to represent me in a little matter of my own, something that should come up soon. He's the best in his field.
Oh divorce, I thought you knew that already. Did you ever see that movie "Brokeback Mountain"? It made me suspicious
of Vince's fishing trips. So I found out from Spiro who joins Vince when he comes here to fish.
Ohh excuse me a mo. It's my phone.
That was Spiro. You know, Spiro the Café-owner. He says Vince has just pulled off. Vince always buys his
supplies at Spiro on Friday night. Spiro says he's just left. Help me to get everyone hidden.
Everyone!!!! The birthday boy is on his way. He'll be five minutes at the most. Find a hiding spot and keep
it quiet until he opens the door. Then I'll switch on the lights and we'll all yell "Surprise". Got it?
Is that webcam still working?
Sh! Shhhhh. That's his car. Shhhhhhhh.
Click here to read more Short Stories in this