If you ever get the chance, I urge you to go and check it out: a big white house with sky-blue tapestry hanging off of the many porches, decks, and balconies of the oversized home that sits on one of the largest plots on the Jersey Shore. The town in which it is located, a small one— I’m sure you’ve never heard of it: Loch Arbour. Excuse me, the village of Loch Arbour, said to be the second smallest municipality in New Jersey, with a golf course big enough to claim its own township, but small enough to still make Loch Arbour the runner-up for tiniest town.

 

But more about the house . . . Another notable feature, a detail that will let you know you’ve found the right place (if you do end up taking my word and checking it out) is that parked crookedly and four feet from the curb (at least) will be an overabundance of Mercedes sports cars. Each vehicle’s license plate is marked as follows: ‘MG’ followed by a digit. The amount of these cars this fellow owns escapes me but take my word for it, it’s too many.

 

A goodly wrap around porch begins on the north side of the house (the front) and continues all the way to the south side (the back) where the narrowness of the porch branches out and turns into a full-sized deck. Along the stretch of boards, one can find a ping-pong table, seldom ever used, and one of those nautical lookout posts where you can insert a quarter and see Lower Manhattan for fifteen seconds, the things you always associate with your childhood and what your father probably associates with his daughter relentlessly begging him for another quarter. Anyway, in this case one doesn’t reflect back on the nostalgia and sentiment of their childhood, since they feel violated. Although this gadget is used even less frequently than its neighbor the ping-pong table, its appearance alone gives you the chills. Why? Well, why would a home, a residency, possess one of these? What’s more is that the immediate direction in which this magnification device is pointing towards happens to be a public beach club. At any rate, despite my overanalysis, it’s discomforting!

 

Leading out from the deck is a vast backyard with vibrant green grass. Now, for some information on the grass: the rumor is that to ensure that this yard has the nicest grass in town (this is in fact a town where the vibrancy of one’s grass says a lot) the owners have a group of professionals come during the night to paint the grass a particularly unique hue of green. How true that may be, I do not know, but I would not put it past these folks. Also in the backyard a trampoline, a full basketball court, and the obligatory tables and chairs (the really post-modern kind that are most likely impractical for relaxation). The confines of the yard are marked with bleach white vinyl fencing that’s elegantly decorated with summertime shrubbery . . . and surveillance cameras.

 

Why I went through such pains to describe this house is simple, actually. It’s because this is where it all happened; this is where it all went south.

 

So, one day— and it’s not out of the ordinary, I’ve witnessed it a few times— the “help” were prepping the backyard, the porch, and the many balconies for some kind of event. I don’t know much about high-class society, but I did know that whatever this event was, it sure did hold a lot of meaning for the family.

 

Before I knew it, the place was being swamped with catering trucks, ice sculptures, live bands, and all of the other ostentatious elements of a party that real people who actually know how to have a good time are never in need of.

 

Let me cut all the elucidations now and get into the good stuff. The Torbodies showed up first, which seems sensible enough at first because they live right down the road, but you would truly be surprised at how long it took Mindy to get down the block. It’s not that she’s old, she’s not! I’d say thirty-six at the oldest, she’s rather pretty, healthy, exercises regularly, but she has a limp worse than your grandma whose been on dialysis, insulin, and the rest of the gamut for seventeen years now. Anyway, they got there first and they weren’t very much fun at all, they’re honest folk with nothing to say behind anybody’s back.

 

Eventually, two hours after the official invite time, the ball got rolling. In came the Baxter family, followed by the Marshall family, followed by the Lindbergs, then the Falcones, the Vidas, the Golds, the Samsas, and everyone else within the fourteen-mile radius with a considerable amount of wealth that they loved to flaunt. This was a crowd where if you were to snatch all the Rolex watches in the joint and cash them in, you could buy the Rolex factory. This is a crowd where if you took all the hair gel that was so excessively caked into all the heads of hair, you could clog the Holland Tunnel. This was a crowd where if you extracted all the silicon from their chests, you could recreate the valley! If Sharon gave Sophie a kiss on the cheek, Sharon would have already badmouthed Sharon before she completed the kiss. To translate it into a subpar metaphor: the pups were all at the dog park, and their masters had forgotten their leashes.

 

The man of the house, Michael Goodfellow, had everything set for a perfect evening, but what was even more perfect was the way he treated Mrs. Cindy Lindberg. Unbeknownst to old Michael, his wife, Miranda Goodfellow, was more than hip to his step. The amount of precautions Michael took to align his stars that day was quite stifling. Knowing quite well what an affinity Mr. Lindberg had for Pac Man, he had every prolific Pac Man game system set up in the backyard. To add to it, a man hired just to wipe Lindberg’s perspiration and keep him hydrated was even in attendance. The band was requested to play a certain set, a certain way: all the songs were numbers that Miranda couldn’t help but to groove to. Longfellow had all of his jokers out of the deck, he was ready to play.

 

His first advance on Mrs. Lindberg went horribly wrong, but due to his ego and the fact that he often gets his way, he considered it to be among one of his great triumphs. “So what do you place of the think?” he managed to get out, with every chord in his voice box shaking. If the essence of the scene had to be summed up into two words: seventh grade. She politely smiled and continued sipping her drink. To Longfellow though, the year was 1942, he was Bogart, she was Bergman, and Sam was playing it again somewhere in the corner.

 

The second encounter with Cindy went over rather well, but only because Cindy learned a piece of information from Candice, another one of the high-class partygoers, that gave Mrs. Lindberg an ulterior motive. “I heard Longfellow has got one of the largest Persian carpet collections in all of North America, his whole upstairs, wall to wall with Persian carpets, floor to ceiling! Everything!” Cindy nearly fainted at the sound of this and made it her utmost goal to get up there with Longfellow and schmooze him into taking a few off his hands.

 

As Longfellow puffed ridiculously on his overpriced cigar, alone on the narrow part of the deck, near the unoccupied ping-pong table and lookout post, Cindy Lindberg approached him and parked herself incredibly close to him, so close that her fraudulent breast was touching Longfellow. Surprised as he was, Longfellow tried to play it cool, which didn’t ever really work out for him. The lady slowly took the cigar from his hand and puffed on it sensually. However, the klutz was unable to pick up on her signal because he was still rubbing out the smoke that had gotten into his eye on that last exhale.

 

One thing led to another, empty flirt after empty flirt poured form Mrs. Lindberg’s mouth, and Longfellow did his best to reciprocate. Finally, Cindy came right out: “The ocean breeze is sending off an unseasonably cold chill today. What do you say you take me upstairs and . . . I can warm up?” What should have been an opportunity to leap at— the rest of the party was too drunk by now to notice the two slip away— was thwarted by one huge stipulation: the lead guitarist of the band had broke his high e string and Mrs. Longfellow was a true patron of high treble guitar riffs, and, well, to dance to a song without the string’s presence was quite meaningless to her.

 

She now had time to walk around and check in with the party guests and that’s when she spotted the two isolated on the narrow piece of deck, right next to the untouched ping-pong table. She didn’t walk over and confront them on the spot, no, she wanted to wait for the perfect moment.

 

Although he should have reacted ecstatically towards Mrs. Lindberg’s proposition, he started to sweat profusely, he was a nervous wreck, he longed for a Valium. Now, if you’re thinking that because his fantasy was about to come true, that he was getting his head out of the clouds and realizing how sexually inept he is, especially for a woman like Mrs. Lindberg, good guess . . . But, you’re far off, actually. Longfellow is much too conceited to come to terms with such a harsh reality. So then why was he so flustered? That’s a question I myself didn’t even have an answer to at the time.

 

“What’s the matter, Michael? You don’t want me upstairs? You don’t want me getting your floor all dirty? Is that it?” Michael’s reluctance at this point truly had me baffled. From the deck, he kept intermittently peeking up towards the top story of his home. Throughout all this contemplation, Cindy continued her prurient behavior. She really must have had a thing for these rugs if she was pressing a guy like Longfellow so persistently.

 

Finally, he capitulated but not without throwing up many precautions. “Fine, but my house doesn’t look like many others you’ve seen,” he warned. Cindy took that as just a stroke of his own ego and further anticipated how wonderfully fantastic these carpets were going to be. However, Michael was being as literal as possible.

 

The two stealthily stepped through the front door of the house to avoid the mass amount of partygoers who occupied the backyard. It didn’t take a minute before Mrs. Lindberg let out a shriek that would have put Wilhelm to shame. In an ordinary scenario I would say that the basketball game ceased to exist, that the springs of the trampoline soon became static, and the pinging and ponging of the ping-pong table was no longer audible, but none of these were in use. That’s the big incongruency with these people: all this fun stuff and they opt to drink low proof liquor and gossip! I digress, I digress . . . In this unordinary scenario, all of the partygoers just flooded into the house to see plain, naked rooms with Mrs. Lindberg crying in the corner of one of them as Longfellow just paced and, for whatever reason, checked his watch. “Nothing, just nothing,” is all Cindy could say as she sat and stared at the bleakness of the interiors.

 

Speaking in accord with the standards of these high-class folk, she was right. The lack of unneeded, over-priced self-indulgent material possessions, as well as the insufficient amount of world-renowned fine art that these airheads can’t even appreciate, was sheer ludicrous! Longfellow quickly became the laughing stock of his own party, a disgrace, a cockroach even. His wife sat smiling, appreciating the hole her husband had dug for himself.

 

Michael Longfellow had sold close to every item from the inside of his house in order to finance the lavishness of the exterior of his house, the part of his house that the neighbors and partygoers would be exposed to.

 

With all the guests gone, Longfellow stood in front of his house, bearing a striking resemblance to it, yes . . . He was just like his house. Feeling more than defeated, he walked over to his nautical lookout post and for the first time he appreciated it. Popping a quarter into the slot, he looked out over the Atlantic. Although the lens of this mechanism offered a telephoto perspective— crushing and compressing the foreground, midground, and background— he was somehow able to isolate and appreciate all the planes for their individual characteristics. An early evening haze glossed over the vista, making it even all the more surprising. After his fifteen minutes, he looked up from the viewfinder and softly spoke these few words auspiciously:

 

“There has just got to be more.”

Kevin Smock is in his third year at SVA. His focus is on writing, directing, and editing. There’s nothing he enjoys more than the moving image and the written word.