Written By Snake…
The invitation arrived with the mail on Tuesday. At first Beth dismissed it, thinking it was another credit card offer. But just as the attractive young housewife was about to toss the envelope in the trash, something about it caught her attention — there was no stamp. The expensive black envelope also had no return address; it simply was a glossy black envelope with an embossed gold label reading: ‘Mr. & Mrs. Robert West. . .Confidential’.
Now curious, Beth put the other mail down and carefully opened the thick flap and removed the heavy gold-embossed card. She turned it over looking for any signs of familiarity or recognition about the sender before she slowly read the cursive message:
‘You have been recommended by a close, but anonymous, personal acquaintance to receive this invitation to attend a very exclusive private party. The occasion cannot be discussed at this time. . .except to assure you that any concern or reservation you may have about the legitimacy of this greeting is unwarranted. This is no gimmick or advertisement. Similarly, any and all expectations you might have about the evening will surely be exceeded. In many respects, this invitation represents the most intimate of opportunities for you as husband and wife. The party will be held the First Day of May at 8:00 p.m. sharp. Dress is semiformal. Due to the exclusive nature of this invitation, your immediate attention is critical. Please RSVP to the phone number below at your earliest convenience. You will be given additional details at that time. I look forward to the pleasure of your company. Regards, Your Host’
How mysterious, Beth thought. She turned the card over again a few times trying to find any clues about its origin, but there was nothing. Finally she sighed and put the invitation aside with the intention of discussing it with her husband when he arrived home from work.
Bob and Beth West enjoyed a typical, upper middle-class lifestyle in the suburbs. Both in their thirties, the couple was attractive and outgoing. Beth enjoyed her role as full-time homemaker and mother of two beautiful daughters. Bob’s career as an investment advisor was just starting to take off. And while the family was not wealthy yet, they were certainly very comfortable in their handsome, upscale home in a quiet neighborhood with many families of similar background.
The Wests were friendly and fairly social; but since the girls came along, Bob and Beth remained at home with their kids more often than not — only occasionally going out with a small circle of friends. . .or a rare husband and wife date. In fact, life had settled into a sort of vanilla-flavored routine without much variation. It’s not something that Beth or Bob really noticed or even minded. But, every once-in-a-while, both entertained secret fleeting thoughts that perhaps it would be nice to spice things up a little. 
Even in the bedroom the relationship was normal and satisfactory for the married couple. They made love regularly — usually on the weekends — and they both shared devotion and affection for each other. There had never been any major problems or obstacles in the marriage, so there had never been any reason for either to consider infidelity. Still, if you were to ask Bob and Beth to be honest and direct, both would admit that something was missing in their lives — something that neither of them could really identify or explain.
“I have no clue what this is about,” Bob said as he looked over the invitation that evening. “Probably some sales or real estate trap. . .or maybe one of those Amway things. But, no postmark or return address, huh? That’s strange.”
“I know. . .” Beth agreed. “It was in the mailbox with the other mail, though. You think somebody hand-delivered it?”
“Probably. . .I dunno. What do you think? Guess it wouldn’t hurt to at least call and find out what the deal is. I’d like to find out who sent it.”
Beth had been thinking about the card on and off all day. The possibility that the invitation was legitimate had certainly crossed her mind; and, quite honestly, the idea was exciting. It had been ages since they’d attended a real party. An elegant, “exclusive” gathering they could dress up for might be just what the doctor ordered. “Sure, might as well see what it’s about. . .” she finally said.
Bob dialed the number and a deep male voice immediately answered, “Yes. . .?”
“This is Bob West. . .I received an invitation in my mailbox for a party, and. . .”
“Yes, of course Mr. West,” the voice cut him off. “Thank you for your quick response. We sincerely hope you and your wife do not have any conflicts that evening. May I confirm your attendance?”
“Hold up!” Bob shot back, slightly annoyed. “I have a few questions. What is all this about? Who are you and how did you get my name? You should know up front that we are not interested in any sales pitches or time-share opportunities. . .”
“I assure you, Mr. West, that the festivities have absolutely nothing to do with sales or marketing. In fact, nothing will be required of you other than your presence. The pleasure of your company is all that is expected. This is a very exclusive party that you and your wife have been specifically recommended for and invited to attend. You should feel privileged. I’m confident you will thoroughly enjoy the evening.”
“Who are you and who recommended us?”
“I’m afraid that information is confidential, to protect the valued privacy of our guests. I can only say that it is someone you trust.”
“I don’t like surprises. . .” Bob said sharply. “This all sounds a little strange.”
“I understand your trepidation, Mr. West. Please understand that you have nothing to be concerned about. This will be a most enjoyable evening for both or you. . .perhaps the most unique and entertaining experience you will ever have. Now, may I confirm your reservation?”
“Hang on a sec. . .” Bob placed his hand over the mouthpiece and looked over at his wife who had been listening carefully to his side of the conversation. “He says it’s all legit and that we’ll have a great time. But he won’t say who he is or why we were picked to go. I dunno. . .what do you think?”
“Sounds kind of creepy. . .but also sort of intriguing, you know? I guess we could always leave if it’s bogus,” Beth said thoughtfully. “What do we have to lose?”
Bob considered it for a moment, then uncovered the phone. “Yeah, OK, we’ll RSVP. But this better not be a put on. When is it again?”
“May the First at 8 p.m. And may I congratulate you both on your decision. Drinks and dinner will be served, followed by entertainment. Please be prompt. As the invitation suggests, the dress is semiformal. Do you have something to take down the location?”
“Yeah. . .hang on. OK, go ahead.”
“The address is 1591 Peacock Way. Are you familiar with the area?”
Bob immediately recognized a very affluent section of their community. He did have several acquaintances and clients who lived there. “All right, I know where that is.”
“Good. When you arrive, you will be asked for a password. This is simply to insure privacy and to prevent admittance to any uninvited guests. The password is ‘Royal’. Please do not share the information — the password or the address — with anyone. Is this completely understood and agreeable to you?”
“Yes. . .I think so,” Bob answered — a million thoughts swirling in his head. He was still suspicious.
“Fine,” said the voice. “You will be pleased you attended. You and your wife will have a wonderful experience. Again, we look forward to the pleasure of your company. Good evening.” The line went dead.
Bob and Beth discussed the strange events for a long time. Bob was still fairly convinced that the whole thing was some kind of scam. While Beth shared her husband’s hesitancy, she also allowed herself to privately think about the excitement of a lavish night out. It sounded fun and exotic, and she was already making plans to shop for a new outfit.
Everyday life took over and the couple all but forgot about the party. Beth did manage to schedule a babysitter and slip out one day to buy a slinky cocktail dress and a few accessories. When the day finally arrived, the young housewife splurged on a full make over at an upscale spa and salon. She emerged feeling refreshed and pretty — her hair and makeup were styled to perfection and she felt exhilarated about the evening to come.
Bob had been doing some half-hearted investigation about the party, trying to discover anything about who had sent the invitation or which of their friends had recommended them. But he was drawing a blank; nobody knew about it, and finally he resigned himself to the fact that he would just have to find out what was going on when he got there.

To Be Continued…

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