Sunday, May 24, 2009

incident at dinner

"do you always have watercress and radishes for dessert?"

joe smith looked up at lady gortney and her pearls and down at his right hand simultaneously. his hand was indeed holding his dessert fork. in that instant he knew his life was over but his brain forced him to put on a front and smile at lady gortney. but what could he say? "i've had a long day"? "we all make mistakes"?

he compromised. "i've had a long day and we all mistakes."

"of course." her smile was without pity, flowing down the blue nile in a thousand white swan boats.

joe stood up. "excuse me."


no one else at the long table seemed to have noticed anything. he walked around to the other side where his wife was talking to senator stirnweiss.

he clutched her bare upper arm and whispered, "we have to leave now. something has come up."

her green eyes looked into his. "i don't think so, joe, you've done something terriblle, haven't you?"

joe didn't answer. he released her arm and walked around the table and out the door as casually as possible with his head down. as he descended the front staircase and approached the foyer he could hear the voices and laughter behind him.

outside on the wide driveway, four chauffeurs were hanging out. two of them were smoking joints, one was smoking an unfiltered camel, and the fourth was sipping a bottle of wine in a paper bag. joe realized right away that they weren't only chauffeurs, they were the four horsemen.

next: the first horseman