From behind the lacy skirts of the hors d’oevres barge, I chronicled the passing of several key guests. I had taken refuge here after being startled by the man’s emergence from the wall. The others witnessing this miracle of entry greeted him like an old friend whose conversation would be appreciated and discussed quietly by groups of no more than five. More precisely, they greeted him like the affluent friend of an old friend, whose acquaintance they wished to secure. He carried in each hand an infant. Both stood erect and peered blankly about the room. They, in turn, carried the troubled expressions of two infants being forced to stand upright on the hands of a man whose familiarity with the house afforded him full use of its numerous hidden passages and secret doorways. They were concerned. I could tell. They seemed on the verge of manifest discomfort, as though they could sense, with their as yet unfocussed eyes and asynchronous pupils, a danger standing near them. Perhaps at the edge of the room. Perhaps as near as the trays of Drupe Aspic and Morseled Rattan.

Two women, who had, until that moment, been finishing an ice sculpture in the hallway while debating the Success of socialism in the face of a salad culture which becomes more low calorie with each passing meal, moved beside the large fellow, matched his stride, and spirited away the buntings. The man smiled and, in the voice rivaling a roman senator, (in the categories of tone,timbre, volume, and vibrato only. He was not speaking latin or anything like that. If a senator were to engage him in an actual debate, in latin, my money would fall solidly on the senator. Do not doubt this.)

“Being,” he intoned, and pointed toward his massive chest. He indicated the two children being carried away by the sculptresses and closed his opening remarks, “Becoming.”

Imagine fingernails being drawn across a chalkboard. Combine with this image that of a shovel being cast into pea gravel. Dose this liberally with an assortment of primate distress calls-- predator screeches, flight hoots, etc. Now, take this sonic construct and give it ears. Separate the ears just far enough to install a pair of eyes (the actual number of eyes is irrelevant, so the reader is free to extrapolate in this regard). Try to conceive of a sound so disturbing that it would enter those ears and make those eyes water. Teach this sound to speak (even phonetically). After a few months of rain in Spain drills, convince the sound to memorize a single sentence. Transport the sound, with its sentence in tow, to the dining rooms of this sprawling estate. Prod it with whatever manner of training tool has been employed during countless hours of practice, and let it speak. This was the voice I heard while losing the large fellow behind the string quartet.

“Money is like, so stupid.”

(Note: In my experience, the people who make this sort of claim fall into one of two groups. First, anyone with more money than can be spent in ten lifetimes is forgiven for forgetting the value money holds for the mortal population. If one is affluent, and has always been so, money may begin to seem useless, time consuming, barbaric, and yes, stupid. The second group is more unfortunate. Those who admit to themselves that money will never be theirs in any great quantity are prone to act as though money can’t buy happiness, since they will never have enough money to make that particular purchase. The voice which carried this particular comment into orbit belonged to a member of the former group.)

I felt it necessary to locate the squawking beast in order to avoid her for the remainder of the party. She was a fit woman of about 30, about five feet tall. Her height was only slightly less noticeable than the fact that her mouth was moving so quickly I could barely discern the color of her lipstick (Autumn Restraint). Her conversation partner, a lad of about 19, stood quietly in this sailor suit and agreed furiously with every comment she made.

I want to decorate my living room, actually it’s a great room, with art.

That’s awesome. We can go to any gallery you want and pick up anything you like.

No, decorate with my art.

Of course, we can empty your loft and make final use of your previous oevre.

No, art I haven’t created yet. Art in here, (she indicated the location of the unborn works with her index finger. Evidently she stashed them in dry storage at the base of her single braid.

Her hand fell smoothly from her head to her chest in a maneuver so dramatic it was accompanied by an LED readout with accompanying beeps to mark the descent.


and here.

Opinions differed about whether she was keeping the soon-to-be art in her heart or her brassiere. I tried to pass them unnoticed as I wanted to follow the infant toting gentleman from the panel gallery, but she stopped me by placing her hand on my thigh.

Have you ever been cast in plaster?

In retrospect, I should have gone quietly on my way, but decided to use a line I had been saving for years.

No, but I was once cast as a mad Scotsman in my preparatory school’s production of Lenner’s “On Love and Depth Charges.” I eventually surrendered the role under pressure from the funding committee. My r’s were trilled to fully. This led to accusations of my being a ringer.