It was at this precise moment when Colleen suddenly realized why her doctor had advised her to stay away from dairy.
Sadly, this was the same moment when her moderately-trusted butler, Heineken, strutted self-importantly into the Two Moon Dining Room and attempted to make (in his own mind) a dexterous declaration, an effort that quickly went awry. “Madame, I am pleased to announce that your guests for the… Oh, Good Lord, has something perished in the vicinity?”
Colleen: “Sorry, Heinie. It seems that there has been a bit of unexpected turbulence. I was merely reviewing the place cards on this lovely medieval dining table to ensure we had seated everyone in a manner that would ensure the least amount of bickering, when I was startled by a resounding retort from my special portal.”
Heineken: “How dreadful. Have you never experienced this manner of release before?”
Colleen: “Of course I have. But prior to now, such expulsions have been fairly discreet and generally lady-like. Little puffs, if you will. But this time? I fear there may have been flames involved, as I somehow managed to melt one of the ancestral portrait paintings on the wall. I’m not sure who she is, as there are so many painted ancestors in this manor that one can never keep track, but I am a bit blue that she has been blackened.”
Heineken: “I’m sure she’ll be fine, Madame, as she’s dead and all. But I must confess, if you’ll allow, that we have more important things to contend with at this moment. There is a thick layer of olfactory outrage that is drenching everything in this room. I’m not sure how I’m managing to remain conscious. Yet we have also have a thick contingent of dinner guests who are waiting in the parlor, fully intent on enjoying the first course of lobster bisque quite soon. Bit of a pickle, Madame. How do you wish me to proceed? Assuming I survive the next few minutes.”
Colleen: “Oh. Well, how about we open a few windows? And we have some of the other servants stand in front of the windows and wave things out. We have enough servants, surely some of them aren’t doing anything important right now.”
Heineken: “Madame, these windows haven’t been opened for several hundred years. Most likely since the time of the Black Death, which seems rather symbolic, given the current situation, but I shan’t dwell on it. More importantly, your guests come from old money, they are unaccustomed to waiting for anything they want, and most of them are on the advisory board that selects the next president of the Lauded Ladies of Leisure Legion, a position you greatly desire to hold once again, despite the meaningless of such.”
Colleen: “You’re right, it wouldn’t do to keep them askew. Fine. Bring them in and I’ll think of something in the interim.”
Heineken strutted away, coughing discreetly.
Two minutes later, the Lauded Ladies began filtering into the dining room, which was in dire need of an industrial filter, but there was no time for that.
It soon became clear that things were not going to go well, based on overheard snippets of conversation.
Lady Gruntworth: “And so I told Sophie that I was in no mood to put up with her wanton pawing and… what in the hell happened in here?”
Lady Good Iva: “Why is everything so oily?”
Lady Afterbellum: “I need smelling salts. I need them now!”
Lady Madonna: “I don’t think we should be smelling anything at the moment.”
Children at Her Feet: “It hurts, mama.”
Lady Slutworth: “I’ve been in worse places.”
All eyes glared at Lady Colleen, except for the eyes of Heineken, who chose this moment to slip out the back door and flee for his life. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
Lady Colleen: “Greetings and salutations, Leisure Ladies. Can I offer you a moist towlette? Use it however you think you should, but I would suggest that you cover your face with it and pray for daylight.”
Two days later, Lady Colleen found herself in a courtroom, on the witness stand.
Prosecuting Attorney: “Do you really expect us to believe that you think it’s okay to befoul everything decent just so you can get elected president again?”
Defense Attorney, Lady Giuliani: “Objection! Decency has nothing to do with it when it comes to Republicans.”
Lady Judge: “Oh, really? Interesting. It seems to me that we need to work on who gets a place card at the dining table and who doesn’t.”
Lady Giuliani: “I don’t understand what that means.”
Lady Judge: “Of course you don’t. Perhaps your party should open some windows that haven’t been opened in hundreds of years.”
Previously published on “Crusty Pie”, modified considerably for this post.
Categories: Past Imperfect