I am invited to Annie’s 40th birthday. This year she decided to have a murder mystery evening and we are all going to play characters in a murder mystery plot. (I am quite keen on this idea as I have always fancied myself as a drama queen.)

Annie is quite beside herself with excitement and I hope for her sake that the whole evening goes off without a hitch. She has invited me (the best friend) and two friends from work, and their husbands, and Raymond her husband, and his brother and wife.

Of course, as I am a single, I have caused a numbers problem, so they have invited a neighbour along to make it an even 10.

Annie has tried on a few occasions to play matchmaker, and I am always appalled at her choice of men – or rather I am appalled at her choice of men for me.

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Annie has tried on a few occasions to play matchmaker, and I am always appalled at her choice of men – or rather I am appalled at her choice of men for me

I have warned her that if “Mark the neighbour” is like her previous choices he will have to be the murder victim in the game. She laughed nervously. I was serious.

Fast forward to the night of the party

So here I am playing Francine the slutty heiress (I have a blonde wig on, fake plastic boobs, and a red velvet dress.)

I really am enjoying this alter ego. The problem is that Mark the neighbour, a six-foot-three ecologist is in character too: he is playing Greta (the mysterious and sultry secretary).

It seems Mark is perfectly in touch with his feminine side – he arrived in a shimmering silver dress and matching shoes and had a sleek black bob. Well, I have to say he has better legs than I do, and all the other blokes were ragging him all night.

Annie was playing the part of Tristan the gallant and misunderstood genius. I wondered if there was some deeper psychological component to these games, as it seemed to me, that beneath the obvious joking and laughter that went with the whole game as we delve into the plot and the characters, certain people gelled with aspects of their alter-egos. It would be a case for investigation by Dr Freud … not Dr Holmes.

After many glasses of red wine, I decide that I would not be comfortable dating a man who had a pair of size eleven silver sandals in his closet

I mean I could add transvestite to the long list of wierdos I have dated – but I think perhaps I should err on the side of caution. Not that he has asked me out … but I just think I should tell Annie before she tries to pull one of her matchmaking attempts.

Annie has by now had sunk almost two bottles of wine and is slurring. She sidles up to me in the kitchen and said in a not-so-soft drunken whisper: “So whaddaya think of Mark?”

“I don’t think so Annie… he’s just too pretty,” I whisper.

She gives me one of her best exasperated looks and then shrugs dramatically saying at the top of her voice, “Well, now you’ll neverrr get laid!”

This could have been one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but fate intervened and she tripped over the hem of Raymond’s trousers and flew headlong into the glass sliding doors.

She split her lip and broke her nose and the party descended into general chaos. We had a body for our murder mystery – not a dead one – just a drunk and hysterical hostess.

It was a 40th birthday we would not forget in a hurry…

Strelitzia Sunshine is menopausal, mad and was ditched by her ex who married the dog trainer. Read her diary entries in ‘Mad days with Strelitzia Sunshine’ www.strelitziasunshine.blogspot.com