Luigi gently closed the door behind him until he heard the click of the latch. He removed a single key from his pocket and locked the door. Stepping gingerly down the stairs and away from the stoop of the red bricked colonial, he placed the key back into his pocket and set off down the street.
He was looking for his guest for the dinner party he was throwing tonight. Everything had been prepared already, and the rest of the dinner party was waiting for the special guest of honor to arrive. The sidewalk was full of the grey slush that accumulates during the wintery months in New England. Luigi’s feet crushed the snow and ice into darker grey footprints as he walked intently.
When he reached town, he looked around for his expected visitor. Dozens of people were walking throughout the streets of downtown, gaily walking hand in hand and gazing at the brightly lit windows showing their Christmas wares. The crowd was amassing towards the giant tree that would be lit tonight. Luigi’s gaze passed over these happy people with disinterest.
And then he saw her.
She was leaving the main department store with a large box under arm. Her hair was dark red, reaching her waist, and it swayed from side to side as she walked. Around her waist was a thick leather belt tied to hold her winter coat closed to the cold. He had seen her wear that coat years ago, when she had vacationed in Eastern Europe. She set off down the snow-filled street. A grin came across his face as he tried to catch up to her.
She was walking down the alley at the end of town when he finally caught up to her. Feigning a pant, he called out, “Hey, hey, wait!”
She turned around to meet him.
“Hello. Do I kn—“
Her voice was cut off by his hand covering her mouth and nose. Her fists beat against him as she struggled to escape his grasp. Luigi watched her eyes widen and felt her body writhe against his as she fought.
“Shhh…it’s okay. We have to hurry; everyone is waiting.”
A panic stricken look crossed her face before she collapsed into him. He caught her from falling and scooped her onto his right shoulder.
“Can’t have that pretty coat of yours ruined, can we? Don’t worry, I’ll get your package.”
He bent down to get the box she had dropped in the struggle. Putting it under his left arm, with her on his right, he set back off to the house.
When he reached the stoop again, he set the box down before gently leaning her against the door as he reached into his pocket for the key. Unlocking the door, he carried her over the threshold like it was their wedding night.
“Look, everyone is here, waiting on you.”
Luigi carried the woman and placed her opposite of the head of the table. Her wide-eyes looked directly ahead…until he walked outside to grab her box. When he came back in, he saw that her head had lolled back.
“Oh no, no, no, that won’t do. How will you entertain our guests?”
He placed the box on the table and ran to straighten her head. Once he was satisfied with her position, he looked around in alarm.
“Dinner starts at seven! I have to get started!”
His next moves were meticulous. It was important to place everything just so for the dinner to occur without a hitch. The wires were attached to small pads and placed in specific locations. The wires were then looped overhead and then connected to the control device at the head of the table. It was an intricate network of wires that ran down the length of the table.
Once Luigi was satisfied with the positioning of the wires and pads, he went to the kitchen and brought out the foods. Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy from the beef drippings, steamed carrots, and fluffy dinner rolls. He poured the wine, and as the clock struck seven, asked his dinner guests if they were ready to be served. With a slight touch of the control pad, everyone nodded enthusiastically.
“Wonderful, wonderful! Everyone, I’d like to thank you for joining me tonight to celebrate Emily and me as we begin our lives together.”
With a touch of the pad, everyone clinked their crystal glasses together. Luigi smiled at his guests, taking in each of their faces in turn.
There was Charlie and Diane, the owners of this lovely home who were so willing to let him use their telephone one dark night when he claimed to have a flat-tire. They were elderly and well-to-do. They were also very easy to overcome.
Next to them sat the neighbor’s gardener, Dillon. The garden shears had come in handy to take down the tall and in-shape man.
Facing him was beautiful Emily, wide-eyed.
On the right of the table sat the twins, a boy and girl, who he had come across during one of his evening walks around the neighborhood. The girl had screamed as Luigi strangled her brother before she was silenced by a knife across her throat.
Immediately to Luigi’s right was the small boy he had lured inside with candy. The boy’s lips were still tinged blue.
Luigi looked around with pride. This dinner would be unforgettable.
“You may not know that I have spent years wooing this woman, and she finally said yes!”
More shuffling of excitement from the guests, expect for one. Luigi looked down the table to see that Charlie wasn’t participating in the responses. When Luigi reached Charlie’s side, he noticed that the pad that should be attached to Charlie’s right hand, generating his movements, had fallen to the floor. Shaking his head, Luigi reattached it to the proper muscles on Charlie’s body and walked back to his chair. He touched the control pad once more, and Charlie joined everyone else in clinking his glass. Satisfied, Luigi continued his speech.
“We have decided to get married immediately! Tonight!”
Luigi waited while his guests all showed a form of surprise. Emily’s face beamed with a wide-eyed grin.
“The ceremony will take place after dinner. But before we dig in, why don’t we see what sweet Emily has brought us tonight?”
Luigi picked up the box that Emily had been carrying when he picked her up for dinner. Opening the box, he revealed two ornate silver candlesticks, intricately woven to hold three candles each.
A touch of the pad and Emily smiled serenely, ever the gracious hostess.
“Emily, you have outdone yourself indeed.”
Luigi placed the candlesticks on the dinner table and placed six candles in them, lighting them with the lighter he had in his pocket.
“Candlelight is much better for a dinner party. Electricity is used in all of the wrong ways these days. There is nothing to compare to a lovely candlelit dinner among friends.”
Luigi smiled at his guests and raised his glass.
“To Emily, may she always bring such light to my life.”
The electrical wires buzzed as the rest of the guests jerkily raised their glasses.