It ended with me watching two British soldiers wrestling on a balcony while one tried to eat marshmallows out of the other's ear.
Perhaps that doesn't tell the whole story. Bear with me, and I shall elaborate.
It was a housewarming party for a newly married couple -- always a happy occasion, n'est-ce pas? I arrived to find the apartment filled with revelry of all ages, and from all walks of life. In that crowd of thirty, I knew about four other people. Clearly, that was my cue to start mingling. And snacking. There were these nifty little watermelon hors d'oeuvres... but anyway, mostly mingling.
During the chatter, I ended up discussing books I'd read recently, and I mentioned how peculiar I found it to hear Steve Martin reference the Group of Seven in his latest book. I suppose I should be grateful for the blank look I received, because it at least proved that I'd managed to hold their attention up until this point.
"Are you familiar with the Group of Seven?", I asked.
"No, I'm sorry. I suppose I really should know more about Canadian politics, shouldn't I?"
And now it was my turn to be sorry, because I couldn't stop myself. I launched into a discussion of who they were, and the landscapes they painted, and why their landscapes were actually such a revolutionary idea at the time, and how they shaped Canada's self-image... fortunately, at some point I was interrupted and the young lady I was talking to escaped. It was then that I realised, "Denton, you fool! She's the hostess' best friend, people are here waiting for the chance to talk with her, and you're busy talking to her about oil paintings from 1920. Was that really the ideal topic of conversation?" Shamefully, I retreated to the artichoke dip, and wondered if my internal anecodotomer was only mis-calibrated, or if it was completely non-functional. A serious matter indeed, to ponder over artichokes.
Fortunately, my next chance to start a conversation with her went along a slightly different path. This was a bit later in the evening, the children had gone home, and the remaining guests had traded the veggie platter for the beer cooler hours ago. It was the sort of situation in which someone (specifically, that same girl from earlier) would invariably declare, at thirty minutes to midnight, that what they wanted was a cocktail with marshmallows in it. Were there any marshmallows in the kitchen? Does anyone live near enough that they could get marshmallows from their kitchen? Are any grocery stores open right now?
At this point I spoke up. "I've got some marshmallows in the trunk of my car, if you want them."
It's a good thing the conversation stopped entirely when people heard that -- it gave me a chance to explain that these were no longer ordinary marshmallows. You see, I'd gone camping with friends three weeks ago, and when we packed up the supplies, there was still one barely-used bag of marshmallows left over. I was told I could have the marshmallows, but only if I put them to good use. "Of course I will", I promised. And then I left them in my car for three weeks.
As the partygoers would soon learn, three weeks does odd things to a bag of marshmallows, if those happen to be the hottest three weeks of the year. On the side of the bag where a small hole had been opened, air had gotten in and mummified the marshmallows. They had become the marshmallows you find in breakfast cereals: as solid as wood, but able to break down with a stubborn squeaking sound if you bite them hard enough. Amongst the crowd, they quickly became popular toys to throw at people. As for the other half of the bag, though, air had not managed to get it, and all the remaining marshmallows had melted, and congealed into a giant, sticky, pillow-sized marshmallow upon re-cooling. Clearly, making a cocktail from this agglutination was a worthy challenge, so she set to work.
Alas, long after the squeaky mummified marshmallows had disappeared, she returned from the kitchen, defeated. It had proven impossible to separate the melted marshmallow from the plastic bag, and all that she managed to produce was a plastic sheet covered by a shimmering, sticky, sugary mass. But in the spirit of improvisation, another guest (one of the aforementioned British soldiers) who had been overseeing the cocktail attempt concluded that it was close enough to a cream pie to warrant an attempt at the classic routine, and he then found his mate out on the balcony...
At this point, congratulations. You're now caught up on the story! I know, you might be wondering exactly why they decided to start eating the marshmallow out of each other's ears, but anything else I say would only be conjecture at this point. Perhaps... yes, perhaps it's best if we leave the final chapters of that evening vested in some semblance of mystery (or possibly, dignity).
Besides, at that point I was raiding the snack table for all the remaining cupcakes. It was a wonderful evening, indeed.