There’s nothing I look forward to more than my monthly book group. After a long four weeks of shuttling my kids to dance practice and paying my bills and vacuuming and doing the laundry, I relish the downtime with my friends. Nothing extravagant; just a few stray hours where we can really cut loose and let the wine flow. We all need a day to have an intellectual discussion about our book of the month, while sipping vino and worshipping the devil. So sue us – we like wine!
Oh who am I kidding? We hardly talk about the book at all. We basically just drink wine and bow down to Beelzebub at these things, and that’s it. And to be honest, that’s all any of us really come for, anyway.
We even joke about it. We’ll tell people, “We’re a drinking club with a reading problem, and we worship Satan because he is Lord.” I’d rather be an up-front broad than one of those meek little devil-praising housewives who drinks her kid’s NyQuil in private. No, thanks!
I suppose there are people out there who would judge us for that—who would say, “Why even call it a book group? Why not just say what you’re doing, which is getting together to revel in a depraved bacchanal and throw yourself at the altar of the cloven-hooved dark lord of all sin?” That’s fair. I get it. But in truth, we really do try. Each week we have every intention to talk about the book. We got three chapters into Wild. We took a run at The Sixth Extinction. We skimmed King Lear. We got excited for a day about The Paying Guests. We read the table of contents of Moby Dick. We really, really, really try.
But someone always opens one more bottle of wine, and suddenly the book is on the floor, Lillian and Bethany and Johanna have their bongos out, there’s 400 hot dripping candles everywhere, and the rest of us are stomping around in a circle in our underwear, our eyes rolled back in our heads, gnawing at raw beef tongue, and smearing ourselves with emulsified chicken fat while spouting demonic gibberish at obsidian sculptures of Lucifer.
We’re a bunch of gals hanging out and letting loose. It happens.
We try not to judge ourselves too harshly if we don’t really get around to discussing the book. The truth is, we’re all under a lot of pressure. Most of us are busy moms who don’t normally get a moment to ourselves all month long. We’re so frantic taking care of everyone else all the time that that sometimes – heck I know I do – we feel guilty for even thinking about taking some “me” time. Can you really blame us that when we finally get a few spare hours away from the incessant demands of family and work and household chores, that we end up a little tipsy on wine, convulsing on the floor while listening to John Mayer records backwards and smearing black lipstick all over our faces and raising our shrieking voices in praise of the great horned beast?
I guess it’s just how we blow off steam.
But we’re not giving up on the book thing. We’re already picked our book for next month, and we’re really going to try. It’s Hall of Small Mammals, by Thomas Pierce, and we think we might actually have a chance this time, because it’s a collection of stories, not a whole long novel. If we get through two of the stories, I think we can count it as a victory.
And yeah, maybe we’ll just end up prostrating ourselves on a slip-and-slide coated with licorice jell-o while handling a colony of black mamba snakes in our passion to glorify Satan one more time. I’m not going to worry about it too much. And I’m not gonna apologize for it if it happens. Either way, I figure, a good time will be had by all. Especially the Dark Lord himself.