Cassius & Company

By Michael Madgar

He had long flowing brown bunches of hair and a jack o' lantern smile made out of jagged yellow teeth. That's all you really need to know about Cassius, that and the fact that he's in the middle of throwing a party for a few of his closest friends.

The occasion, you ask? None in particular. You see, Cassius simply wanted to get a few buddies around a table. So he did. The guest list included: (from left to right) Margo Panofsky, Stephen (Steve) Milner, Wanda Cunningham and Lucas Brenner. Cassius took the center of the table, as he was the host.

The collection of clashing personalities threw words at each other as their jaws fluttered opened and closed. Comments ranging from constructive criticism to every day water cooler talk buzzed between partygoers. Cassius listened.

Here's an example of one of the conversations he heard:

Lucas: So, Wanda, how's the fire hydrant of yours?

Wanda: (Confused) Fire hydrant? What do you mean?

Lucas: (Chuckles) The one on your lawn silly! The red one.

Wanda: Oh, well… good, I suppose.

Cassius didn't particularly think his partygoers were interesting. Peculiar maybe. He took this moment to rise from the table. Eyes anxiously stared up at him, breaking conversation for a few awkward clicks. Cassius motioned for the lot to continue, so they did. Sliding out of the picture and into the kitchen, the host took one more moment to smile at the faces in his living room.

The world that surrounded Cassius now was one of cookie sheets, cake mix and powerful ovens. The slender fellow snuck quickly over to the area where he designed his greatest masterpiece, The Red Velvet Cake. It looked perfect. All it needed was one more touch.

The secret ingredient of course.

What's the secret ingredient you may ask? Well, that's for the host to know and you to find out. It wouldn't be much of a secret if he went around spoiling it.

That's what made Cassius quite popular with the company in his room. They loved the way he baked. All of Cassius' fine edible creations were received with open arms and wide mouths.

As Cassius finished putting the final touches on his latest masterpiece, he made sure to dab one extra dash of secret ingredient to the finished product. Wide eyes and an ear-to-ear smile showed just how excited the chef was. The guests would drop to their knees.

The rumbling of conversation sounded for some time before chef Cassius emerged from his kitchen laboratory. The heads all turned in enthusiastic anticipation of this after dinner snack. Forks and knives rising to the table as tongues started flopping about.

Cassius chuckled and started cutting slices for his eager friends. Lush pieces of crimson ride cake gently hit the plate as the white cream cheese icing grazed the sides. A fork and napkin soon followed so the barbarians wouldn't have to eat with their hands.

The chewing and consumption took away the time conversation was holding. Cassius stayed at the head of the table. He decided not to eat any of his creation on this particular day. You see, Cassius thought he might be getting a cavity, so he didn't want to push it.

Eventually Wanda made a face. She was the first to start eating her cake after all. Then Lucas.

Then Stephen.

Then Margo.

Cassius stayed smiling as his guests started falling to their knees. The faces turning bright red as green and blues veins started bursting with more red. Eyes rolling chaotically to see nothing but nerve endings and muscle mass. Convulsions and squealing that barely constituted as any logical form of communication.

Then everything became silent.

The host wiped the edges of his mouth and then gently set his cloth napkin on the table. He stood up, looked at the guests and clapped the hard work off of his hands. Cassius was truly proud of the work he did. A successful party indeed.