Well I wouldn’t call it a big party; just a dozen friends or so invited around for a few drinks. Helmut was invited. It was his birthday. He kind of knew the party was to celebrate his twenty-first birthday but no one was saying much.
Maree was at the party too. Helmut thought she was pretty sweet, and perhaps something might come of it. She was very friendly towards him at the party and Helmut wondered if he should invite her out on a date. In fact, Helmut knew most of the people at the party, or at least had a passing acquaintance with them. Roger wasn’t his favourite person there. He was always raucous and belligerent. At least Helmut thought so.
Over in the corner of the room, Helmut spotted a huge bouquet of flowers. In fact they were mainly sunflowers. Helmut liked sunflowers. Clearly they were intended for him when they made a speech and they handed over some little gift for his birthday.
The evening wore on. Then Roger tapped an empty beer bottle with a spoon. It was like a clarion call for everyone to shut-up. A speech was to be made.
“Thanks everyone for coming,” said Roger. “I hear that it is Helmut’s twenty-first birthday. Congratulations, Helmut. Maree and I just want to take this occasion to announce our engagement.”
Everyone applauded. Camilla, who clearly was already in the know, gathered the bunch of sunflowers and presented them to Maree.
Everyone went all goo-gar over the engaged couple. No one sang happy birthday.
Children! Children! Continue to eat you breakfast but listen while I’m talking.
Johnny Sunderland! Get back to your place and eat you cornflakes and stop messing around.
As you know, this institution is called an orphanage although not everyone here is an orphan. Some of you have parents but you’ve ended up here for different reasons. Some of your parents are on drugs; some of you are here because your parents didn’t like you; some of you are here simply because your parents are too sick to take proper care of you.
That is the case for Johnny Sunderland. His mother was dying of cancer so Johnny came here to be cared for properly. Johnny Sunderland! Would you sit down and stop messing around. Listen, because this announcement concerns you.
I want you to be particularly nice to Johnny today because his mother died last night. Johnny Sunderland, sit down! I will see you in my office after you’ve finished breakfast.
Hello everyone. I’ve called this little gathering for drinks and nibbles of all the workers here at the factory as a way of thanking you all for your sterling work. It’s been a pleasure and an honour co-operating with you over the years. So many of you have gone over and above the call of duty.
Just one little announcement! Today is Maureen’s birthday! So happy birthday, Maureen! You get younger by the year! I might add that Maureen next April will have been with the company for thirty years. Thirty years! Unfortunately we won’t be able to celebrate that together as the factory is closing down. From tomorrow we will no longer be in production and your services will no longer be required.
So enjoy your drinks and nibbles because it’s all you’re going to get.