Lost Wanderer offered a fun challenge: Present a dinner party featuring characters from published books. Herewith, I offer you:
Frankenstein’s monster – Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Captain James Hook – Peter Pan, by JM Barrie
Bellatrix Lastrange – Harry Potter, by JK Rowling
Edward Hyde – The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stephenson
Charlie Bucket – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
Things weren’t going at all the way Charlie Bucket had hoped. It wasn’t often he hosted a dinner party. Rarer still; no one had ever before accepted Charlie’s invitation. But here he was, ousted from his place at the head of the table.
“What is that horrendous smell?” asked Captain Hook. He slouched sideways, resting an elbow on the table. At the end of his arm, Hook dangled a bunch of grapes from his hook. Pluck a grape. Eat it. Pluck a grape. Bounce it off Charlie’s forehead.
“That’s cabbage soup,” said Charlie. “My mum’s recipe.”
“Cabbage soup? And the main course?”
“Do assure me boy, that something more scrumptious stews upon the stove.”
“I think you’ll like the soup Mr. Hook,” said Charlie. “And there are potatoes.”
“Captain Hook,” Captain Hook corrected him. “To not address one by his proper title shows bad form.”
“I’m sorry. Captain.”
Another grape bounced off Charlie’s forehead, before rolling down to the other end of the table. There, Charlie’s other guest scooped it up with barbaric grace and swallowed it whole. A thin, pale tongue lipped yellowed lips, which then smacked together in utterance of a low moan.
“Why have you forsaken me?” cried Frankenstein’s monster. He leaned across the table, reaching toward Charlie and Captain Hook. “So far. So alone.”
Charlie gulped, sensing the monster might overturn the table with his long arms.
“I thought you might prefer the extra leg-room,” Charlie said.
The monster buried his head in his hands and began to sob. Captain Hook narrowed his eyes and leered at the monster. “When do we eat?”
“It would be impolite to start until everyone’s arrived.”
At this, Hook raised an eyebrow and slowly nodded.
“Certainly that is good form. However, pointing out good form is such bad form.”
Before Charlie could respond, there came a rap on the door of such aggression it caused the monster to jump in his seat. The monster’s knees caught the table’s underside, sending the place settings crashing upon the floor.
Charlie moved to answer, but before he could reach it, the door exploded in a flash of light and smoke. Wood splinters shot across the room, catching the guests ill prepared. Frankenstein’s monster spread his arms and legs in fright, sparing both Charlie and Captain Hook the brunt of shrapnel.
Bellatrix Lastrange flourished her wand with manic delight. She snapped her head left, then right and then stepped through the shattered doorway. “Come on Eddie,” she said.
A huddled figure with a grim face, hideous beyond description, shrank from the entryway.
“Mr. Hyde?” Charlie guessed. “Won’t you please come in?”
Charlie looked over the shattered remains of both the door, and his mother’s only dishes, hoping his guests wouldn’t notice.
“I should like to retire.” Mr. Hyde spoke in a gravelly hush.
“But we’re about to eat,” said Charlie.
“Upon what?” asked Captain Hook. “I would be remiss not to engage the point. There are no dishes from which to dine.”
“Relax Jimmy baby,” cackled Bellatrix Lastrange. “Stop snapping your snippers and sip some Sanka.” With that, she waved her wand and Captain Hook’s hook transformed into a teacup, complete with saucer, which plummeted to the floor and smashed.
Aghast, Frankenstein’s monster reeled from the unholy mutation. Rising from the table, he raised his chair above his head and threw it at Captain Hook. Taking offense, the captain likewise tossed the contents of his teacup, scalding the monster with decaffeinated brew.
The monster recoiled, cradling his steaming arm. He lashed out, tearing away Charlie’s dining room wall. Howling, crying?—it was difficult to tell—Frankenstein’s monster tore across Charlie’s yard, broke through the fence and hobbled into the cold night. The screams of terrified villagers carried across the blocks.
“Plenty dandy,” sang Bellatrix Lastrange. “More for the rest of us. What’s this?” She bent down to pick something from the wreckage of the dining room table.
“Toothpaste,” said a cheery Charlie. “One for each of you. And, well…There’s one extra now. You can have it. There are extra caps.”
“You think I’ve bad teeth?” wailed Bellatrix Lastrange.
“Oh no!” Charlie hadn’t meant to hurt anyone.
“Oh yes,” said Captain Hook. “Such a shame. All that fantastic magic. Yet look at yourself.” He clicked his tongue and shook his head. “Bad form, indeed.”
Bellatrix Lastrange frowned. She leaned in next to Hook, resting an elbow on his chair. She imitated his clicking tongue. Then, she stepped back, mouth wide open. Her tongue hung out, not moving. The clicking continued.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Captain Hook jumped from his chair. Mouth agape; he stared wide-eyed at his arm. Green scaly skin replaced the teacup. The room was silent, but for the ticking of an unseen alarm clock. When it rang, the crocodile on the end of Captain Hook’s arm awakened.
Screaming like a frightened little girl, Hook ran from the house, pursued by his own crocodile arm, snapping and thrashing. Hook tripped over the fence and rolled into the street, where Frankenstein’s monster promptly seized him. Some villagers, having pursued the monster back toward Charlie’s house, set the two ablaze.
“I see,” remarked Charlie. “Three for dinner then?”
“I can think of nothing more interminable,” said Mr. Hyde. “I shall take my leave.”
In an alarming pirouette, Mr. Hyde tossed his cloak over his shoulder and fled the scene. A disappointed Charlie turned to his remaining guest.
“Nitty bitty,” said Bellatrix Lestrange. “’s’abit drafty here. Hate the cold.”
She walked through the hole in Charlie’s wall, and sat down to warm herself in front of the Hook-monster pyre.
Charlie sighed. Maybe next time, he thought. At the very least, the view from the dining room was now more stimulating than the old dingy wall. Charlie retrieved a pot of potatoes from the stove and sat down to watch the villagers dance around the fire. Charlie rather enjoyed potatoes.