Lakeville, CT - The infiltration by an uninvited visitor of a monthly book club meeting hosted by Adam Brooks and his wife, Melissa, has sent shockwaves through this sleepy community in upstate Connecticut and demonstrated the frailty of the sanctity of book clubs as a protected institution.
According to witnesses, who declined to be identified for dignity reasons, the intruder made himself right at home over the course of the evening Saturday-helping himself to multiple glasses of wine, consuming copious amounts of hor d'oeuvres, and taking good natured jabs at the expressions in family photographs on the faces of the couples three young children as he mingled with the other guests in the dining room for an hour or so, before moving into the living room where he even went so far as to offer his views on modern racism as it pertains to Sapphire's Push: A Novel, the club's book of the month.
Mr. and Mrs. Brooks said that the man, later identified as Bo Williams, a 7th grade English teacher at a local middle school, arrived at the gathering at approximately 8:15 p.m. draped in jeans, a tacky Christmas sweater speckled with snowmen and ornamented pine trees, and a faded brown tweed jacket. He entered via the front door of the residence, where Mr. Brooks greeted him and took his coat.
"I take full responsibility for this," Mr. Brooks said in a heartfelt apology to his wife and the rest of the book club, "whenever I do not recognize someone I always make a point to introduce myself and ask whom they are friends with. However, on this evening I was kind of tired and I thought he looked familiar so I just said 'hey, look who it is!' and let him in." Mrs. Brooks, for her part, went out of her way not to criticize her husband. "Nobody likes to be stuck as the greeter hanging up people's coats, but party after party, Adam is there by the door, waiting with a smile on his face. If anyone is to blame it is Sue Ellen [Sommer], who is supposedly the president of this book club but who I suspect doesn't even read the books anymore and just watches the movie." Sommer could not be reached for comment.
The ruse was not discovered until Monday morning when Williams passed out pictures of himself at the gathering to his first period class and bragged about his stunt. The pictures show Williams laughing and winking at the camera as he inhales shrimp cocktails, two at a time. It is unknown who took the pictures. Williams is an aspiring middle school teaching legend attempting to gain exposure for himself before the upcoming Connecticut Teacher of the Year Award voting takes place.
"Nobody ever thought any teacher could be more popular than [Albert] 'Smitty' [Smith, a gym teacher who left the school five years ago] was when he was buying beer for the eighth graders, but Big Dubs is really making a run for it," said Connor Whitfield, 13, a current student of Williams.'
A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Board of Education said the board had no prior knowledge of Williams' intention and said that decisions on the award will not be made until later in the year.
The consensus amongst book club members is that Williams' true identity went undetected for the duration of the evening because everyone assumed that he must have been a friend of someone else in the club. Race may also have played a factor in the guests unwillingness to inquire about the connection Williams, who is black, had with the book club, admitted one member, who declined to be identified for fear that his comments would appear racist.
"I know I, for one, didn't want him to think I was questioning his presence because he was black, especially given the subject of the book we were discussing that night. In fact as he was describing his own experiences with the more subtle forms of modern racism in the confines of political correctness, I remember patting myself on the back for being tolerant and thinking I might try to give him a fist pound at the end of the night when we said goodbye. Unfortunately, my wife made us leave early so I never got the chance."
Mr. and Mrs. Brooks said Monday that they found Williams' behavior "alarming and offensive," but denied that his race was of any significance. "Our outrage has nothing to do with the fact that he happens to be black," Mr. Brooks explained, "Whatever Mr. Williams wants to think about books from in the privacy of his own home is fine with me, but book clubs are a sacred American tradition and if we start letting just anyone meet with us once a month and share how their unique personal experience shapes their perspective on current literature, well then we open ourselves up to a society of chaos." Mr. Brooks quickly added, "Also, I'm pissed there were no shrimp left, by the time I finished hanging up all the coats, they were gone."