DC Darkfriend Social

September 26, 1994

Attached below is the original summary I wrote after attending the social. I haven't modified it. I was armed with a camera at this social, so take a look at the group picture (with annotation).

The fifth DC Darkfriend Social was held Saturday, September 26, 1994
at Slade's restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.  A record-breaking 16
people attended, including all the Evil Hoaxters (me, Chad, Judy, Joe
Shaw, Joe Morris, and Mike "Sir MPS" Macchione), FAQmother Pam Korda,
and other rasfwrj dignitaries such as Hawk Sedai, Brad Smith, Melissa
Horn, Andrew Millard, Don Matthews, Jim Folsom, Mike Ikeda, and Mat
and Kristen Fisher.  Jain Farstrider was there, too, incarnated as
several of the other attendees at various times throughout the
evening.  Bela was there; Hawk found her on her plate, disguised as a
steak.  Despite the open invitation, Roy didn't show up.  At least, we
don't think he did.  More about that later.

Hawk and I arrived early (I choose to collect my homecooked meal from
her on Saturday -- hey, guys, I haven't died yet!) and walked around
the area a bit.  Ballston, named Parkington in a previous Age, named
Ball's Church before even that, is a mysterious city.  Tall, empty
buildings, line broad streets, their ancient purposes forgotten and
their ancient occupants long gone (ie, since 5pm Friday).  Towers,
spires, arches, fountains; these are only a few of the architectural
wonders there.  Steel and glass carapaces solemnly reflected the
evening sun, casting a golden light about the area.  Unfinished
buildings dot the city, suggesting that the place was abandoned and
the work halted before it was completed.  The skyline looked like a
toothy maw.

Content with our pre-prandial stroll, we stopped by one of the
bookstores in the Commons, on the whim that if we waited a while we
might meet some other jordanites who were also trying to kill time
before the social.  Alas, we were all alone.  We later found out that
everyone *else* was in the other bookstore in the Commons.  Alas...

We arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes early.  I spotted one fellow
who looked to be... ah... shall we say "a shady character"?... but we
let him be at the bar.  We took up seats across from him, making sure
that we didn't sit with our backs to the door.  Hawk made a point of
mentioning this to the bartender, who was confused by our wary looks
and worried by the fact that I kept fingering my sword.  I swear he
was a darkfriend.  He made the mistake of insulting Hawk -- he said
she looked 12, which is a far cry from saying that she looks ageless
-- so I threatened to kill him.  He groveled sufficiently so I let him
live and actually gave him a tip.

The bartender asked what sort of group we were.  I replied, "A good
first-order approximation is that we're geeks."  But I had no need to
say the same thing twice.  Judy "Math is Hard!" Ghirardelli objected
to my characterization of the group and insisted that we're a literary
group.  Yeah, whatever.

Others started arriving: Judy and Melissa, Pam, and Joe Shaw and MPS
Mike.  Joe Morris arrived shortly thereafter, bringing with him the
combined symbols of the One Power, the symbol under which the Dragon
will conquer.  That is to say, he brough a damaged Yin-Yang.  This
attracted one or two lurkers at the bar, who turned out to be rasfwrj
lurkers.  At this point we started looking for Jain.

Several people who had been lurking in the local bookstores had
acquired newsletters with a blurb about the upcoming "Lord of Chaos".
We all took turns marvelling at how silly the art looked, especially
when it was less than 1 inch high and we couldn't tell what the heck
the figure in the foreground was wearing on it's back.  And what's
with that pterodactyl flying around in the sky?  Don't tell me RJ is
trying to cash in on dino-mania.

As the group swelled up to 16 people, we went through several rounds
of introductions.  It was fun to watch the expressions on the faces of
people who've never been to these socials before... As we introduced
ourselves as the (in)famous rasfwrj writers such as Chad Orzel, Pam
Korda, Bill Garrett, Joe Shaw, Sir MPS, Judy Ghirardelli, etc.,
peoples' chins dropped step by step to the floor.  So much royalty all
in one place...  and think how much the group might improve if someone
had bombed the restaurant that night!  As usual, I was the recipient
of such dubious comments as, "Oh, so *you're* Bill Garrett!"  Argh, I
hate that.  I can never tell whether people are impressed, scared, or
disillusioned.  I think it tends toward the latter two.

We discussed the plot summary submissions and tried to figure out who
sent which.  I was fairly certain I had recognized Joe Shaw's writing,
only for him to tell me that he hadn't submitted anything.  He spotted
mine, though.  Everyone spotted Judy's.  Folks, I have a bone to pick
here: Roy was only parodied in three submissions, while I was parodied
in four!  That's even more than Bela appeared in.  Sheesh, I've got to
take stock of what sort of reputation I've developed here.

I had brought along my sword with the wolfshead pommel, to prove that
it really exists (cf. my writeup of the March social).  "That's not a
wolf, that's a dog," said Brian.  "Yeah, looks like a doberman," added
Mike.  Philistines.

As our crowd was growing unruly and starting to take over the entire
bar, we moved out to the tables that the waitrons had prepared for us.
We were out on the patio, and as such were treated to occasional
comments from inebriated passers-by.  We had fun guessing if any of
them might have been Roy.

By this point, I was again playing with my Sword That is Not a Sword.
Mike started getting nervous, although for good reason... At an
earlier social, he was beaten with the sword, then bitten on the arm,
then his pants were ripped off (not by me, of course).  See, Roy, the
DC socials are even better than you imagine.  See what you've missed?

There were also other jokes about the Sword That Ain't (as Chad
affectionately calls it).  For example, "Is that a sword between your
legs, or are you just happy to see me?" elicted the rejoinder, "That's
not a sword; it's not even a dagger!"  Worse things were said but I've
been asked not to repeat them.  Remember, there are probably lots of
people under 18 reading this group.

Another thing in my bag of tricks was my pet spider Moghedien.  See, I
told you in one of those IKIBRTMRJ threads that I had done that.
Anyway, for the benefit of those not at the social, she's kinda
rubbery, has 10 legs, and squeaks when you squeeze her belly.  Hard to
imagine Nynaeve having so much trouble with a creature like that.
Speaking of YKYBRTMRJW and IKIBRTMRJ, I came up with a few things that
ought to go under YKYHBRERJW -- you know you haven't been reading
enough Robert Jordan When -- but I forgot what witty, pithy sayings I
had proposed to go under such a category.  IKIHBRERJ.

Brian and Hawk discussed sword-- erm, Foil-- forms they had been
learning.  Hawk told about one foolish defensive move an opponent of
hers made, called Parry Down To Crotch.  Ouch.  But Chad was partial
to "Needless Hundred-Line Cascade" and was trying to figure out what
the heck a purple beret was supposed to signify (Plot Submission #17,
he says).

We brought up the thread about Black Ajah and/or darkfriend warders,
and wondered if either partner could sense the other's true nature.
And if so, how could one break the bond?  This engendered the idea of
a song entitled "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Warder".  You know, "Stab
him in the back, Jack/Send him to the Blight, Dwight/Poison his food,
dude" etc.

We all traded stories of how we got our nicknames, those of us who
have them.  The most interesting for me was Brad Smith, aka "Puppy".
Hawk lamented being associated with Berelain (whom she considers a
bitch and a slut), and Judy told about having to balefire someone who
tried to poach the moniker "Piglet" from her.  Chad explained how
"Oilcan" was a nickname given to him by a guy whose nickname was
"Buttplug".  I think Chad got the better deal there.

We did something for the next two hours.  I don't remember it too
clearly, since I was developing a headache.  Maybe it was a delayed
effect of Hawk's cooking... Hmm, Hawk was getting one, too.  Maybe I'm
on to something here!  There were no Yellow Ajah present, although
there was one saintly Grey, who immediately volunteered to run to the
convenience store and get some medicine.  At about the time I started
to feel better, the group broke up and we went our separate ways.

Final disclaimer: Robert Jordan was not there, although two people
said they sent him an informal invitation!  Judy reiterated her offer
of a free drink to anybody who asks RJ, at one of the upcoming book-
signings, whether the frequent flier miles go to him or Tor.

Back to the Darkfriend Socials page

Bill Garrett