Every year one of the executives at Joe’s company hosted their annual Christmas party. Not being an executive, Joe hadn’t ever had to host but had always looked forward to the event.
It was a small consulting firm and there were only thirty people in the office. The parties tended to be raucous, with everyone letting their hair down and having a better time than they perhaps should.
There was an unspoken agreement that if you attended, you left any human resource concerns at the door (or at least in a back pocket) but at the same time, it was very clear that no meant no. Alcohol was plentiful and the young and single got up to quite a bit of mischief (not to mention some of the married employees as well!). Joe had particularly enjoyed the ‘best naked photocopy’ contest the year before. Things weren’t quite at the Wolf of Wallstreet level, but they had a lot of fun.
Participation wasn’t mandatory, but attendance was pretty high. It was understood by everyone that no photos were to be taken and all evidence was to be destroyed even if it was never written down.
The other highlight of the Christmas party was the handing out of Christmas bonuses. It was handled discreetly, but the executives were typically generous, which tended to add to the celebratory atmosphere.
Joe was particularly looking forward to his bonus this year. His daughter Brandi had whined for years about the fact they didn’t have a pool and heading into her senior year at school, he’d finally relented. He wasn’t very good at holding out where his now eighteen year old daughter was concerne. It had over-extended his finances though and he was hoping the bonus would put him back on track. He was keenly aware of just how Griswold it was and of the parallels with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. He cringed every time he realised that at least Clark hadn’t put the pool in before he got the money!
— +++ —
“Hey Joe, you got a minute?” Jack Dancer asked, poking his head into Joe’s office.
“Of course Jack, come on in.”
“Thanks. Look, I’ve got something of a big favour to ask. As you know, we’re due to have the annual Christmas party next month, but we’ve run into a snag. None of the execs are able to host. They’re either mid-renovations, moving house or not in town. We really need somewhere to have this party, and if I recall, you’ve got a nice pad and you even put a pool in this year didn’t you?”
“Um, yeah, I did,” Joe replied.
“So, um, would you be up for hosting? I know you’ll need to check with the missus and so to help with that conversation, we pay for a crew to come in and completely clean your house before and after the party, its catered and so all you really provide is a venue, everything else gets taken care of.”
“It shouldn’t be a problem Jack, I’ll check with Amber and let you know.”
“Awesome, appreciate it.”
Joe wondered how much of a tough sell it would be for Amber. She’d always been house proud so it wasn’t like the house was a complete mess, but she might be afraid it was deficient in some way. She could be funny like that. At least if everything else was taken care of, she shouldn’t have much to worry about. If they hosted though, surely that wouldn’t hurt his Christmas bonus chances!
He waited until he was home and floated the idea of dinner.
“Well you can’t really say no, can you?” Amber responded to the question.
“No, not really, but it would be poor form not to ask you!”
“And that’s part of why we’re still married,” Amber teased him.
“So like, if it’s here do I get to come?” Brandi asked excitedly? She’d recently turned eighteen and knew the party meant there’d be plenty of free booze on offer.
“Absolutely not,” Amber replied. “I won’t even stay here.”
“Awwww Mum!” Brandi protested
“Those parties get out of hand. The one time I went I spent the whole night fending off unwanted advances even though the guys knew I was married. There’s no telling what they might try with a young woman like yourself there.
Both parents missed the look on Brandi’s face as she considered what it might mean. She quickly reverted to a pout at the thought of missing out.