Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Out of the question 1

Hampton had paid a thousand dollars for his place at the Open Dialogue Forum’s Gala dinner in Manhattan’s most august hotel. He’d invested in a new tuxedo and an exquisitely subtle haircut from his uptown barbers, along with an equally discreet manicure. He’d sent his wife and daughter off on a long weekend to Aspen in case he had to invite some influential fellow diners back to his club for further deliberations, and not return home till the early hours. He’d spent long hours studying all economic and political turbulences impacting upon the Forum’s concerns and activities. Two interns from Harvard had briefed him comprehensively on any issue that might arise during loaded interchanges following the keynote speeches.

The room was full of money and influence and opportunity. Hampton was prepared for any eventuality except for a former Secretary of State sitting in his allotted space, crumbling bread rolls into his lap in senile abstraction. The diners sitting either side of the misplaced political heavyweight refused to meet Hampton’s imploring eyes. Any social aberration here could destroy careers and fortunes.

“Mr Secretary,” Hampton began cautiously.

“Chustsom zoup,” the eminent dotard cut him with a peremptory flick of a skeletal hand. His voice retained the heavy Mittel-European cadence of all those famous newsreels.

“I’m not a waiter, sir!” Anxiety broke over Hampton in waves.

The Secretary glared at Hampton through his trademark heavy horn-rimmed spectacles, “Zoup, you moron!” he barked in a surprisingly loud voice.

The Gala dinner turned in itswell-heeled totality to see what solecism had taken place. Hampton scurried away to the kitchen to find a bowl of soup.There was no other option. The old man had bombed large portions of Asia back into the Stone Age; Heaven knew what connections and occult power he still possessed.


Oscar Grillo said...

Dear Chips. I know I did't illustrate the situation exactly as narrated by you, but I liked the drawing and decided to leave it as it is...Consider it as a variation on the same theme.

Amazingly the verification word is "miser"!

Chips said...

Dear Oscar, The event I went to where I saw a senile and rather terrifying elder statesman eating his own dessert and someone else's had a top table uncannily like this.

my verification word is winsa