A while back, long enough ago that I am no longer worried about anyone involved reading this, Lena and I entertained fairly regularly. We’d have couples over and take return trips for dinner at their houses, it was fun and interesting, making new foods for them and trying new things from them. Not to mention all the fun of just visiting with people and learning their stories.

Okay, yes. Finding people who hadn’t yet heard all my stories was fun too. I like to talk. It’s not like I was drowning kittens.

A very wet, very ANGRY, kitten.
Drowning kittens makes them REALLY angry.
Wear proper protective gear whenever possible.

Anyway, one night we had a couple over who, well, we only really liked one of. The wife was sweet and bubbly, and the husband was kinda sullen and a bit of a jerk. Later we found out that he secretly spent all their money on expensive trips he did not take her on, but that’s not really part of this story.

At some point early in the evening I noticed that they were not making eye contact with each other. Then I realized they wouldn’t even be in the same room with one another. At most one would stand in the room with everyone else and the other would always be just outside the doorway, looking in. They talked and laughed and acted normal with us, but never even addressed anything their spouse might say. At first blush you might not even notice the weird behavior, but I grew up in an atmosphere where the punishment for not paying attention to the hidden moods of those around you was swift and severe, and it all just kinda jumped out at me. 

So naturally I decided to fuck with them. Well, him.

A couple glaring at each other over dinner.
We would’ve set up a ring and some cameras if we’d have known.

Upstairs in the TV room we kept an actual prop lamp from the original series Star Trek. It was a textured orangey cone stuck into a yellow and red swirly stone base. The lamp featured in the background of the scene in the episode, Way to Eden, where Spock plays the lute along with Adam the space hippie. The husband was a huge Star Trek fan and remembered seeing it on the show. He got really excited about it, going so far as to ask how much I wanted for it, and when I refused to consider selling (my mother got it directly from Leonard Nimoy after a night of to-this-date undisclosed activity that started in a Montreal hotel bar), he took about a dozen pictures on his phone to show all his work buddies.

He even had me repeat the story two more times so that he would remember it exactly.

You should all know by now how this ends.

It might be a lamp. It might be a nuclear-powered electrical plant.
How many lamps can also power your starship?

The couple left in separate cars as the evening drew to a close. A week later the husband sent me an email describing how he’d bragged to all his nerdy friends at work (the company was in a very nerd-adjacent business, trafficking in sci-fi licensing and merchandise) about the lamp, several of whom also remembered seeing it in the episode. 

Except they didn’t. I made the whole thing up.

Lena found the lamp at a garage sale in Texas and bought it solely because it was goofy looking. My mother doesn’t even know who Leonard Nimoy is, though she has heard of Spock.

Sometime after the couple’s divorce (because, duh), the wife laughingly told Lena about the day when her ex-husband told his boss about the lamp, and not entirely buying the story because he thought the ex-husbandwasn’t trustworthy, the boss looked up the scene online and discovered the whole thing was bullshit. Boss took tremendous glee in spreading the truth around the office, and as far as I know, the ex-husband still hasn’t lived it down.

It was one of her happiest memories of their marriage.

Mr. Spock, kinda pissed, staring at you. Why is Mr. Spock mad at you? That's between you and him. I don't get involved.
It looks like Spock is still pissed about not getting to screw my mom that night in Montreal.

We haven’t had any other couples over since Covid, but I’ve thought about it. I went to a garage sale a few weeks back and bought one of the genuine articulated models used by Ray Harryhausen to shoot the tauntaun scenes in Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. It’s kinda small and was mostly in the backgrounds and some people not in the know think it looks like Barney the Purple Dinosaur, but real nerds know better.

Semi-real nerds, anyway.

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