Avon Barksdale always said you only serve two days in prison, the day you come in and the day you get out, but for Dennis the longinquity between the two - eighteen years - was impossible to ignore and his usual calm, poised, urbane manner was beginning to fray at the prospect, his discomfort magnified by shame over the fact that the indign behavior that had landed him here had been more porcine than vulpine; that is, greed had won out over craftiness.
At the Academy of the Fine Arts, Richard was moved to tears by the longinquity in the vistas painted by the Hudson River School artists (who eschewed the spuria of the cities and celebrated the truth of the natural world) and he experienced a cacoethes for the great out-of-doors, an agromania that, in prospect, seemed exhilaratingly easy to satisfy but, alas, his fresh air-induced euphoria only lasted until the first heavy rainfall.
Wearing their fluorescent orange work togs with the caps at defiantly rakish angles, the employees of the Refuse and Recycling Division gathered at the Public Works Complex to protest budget cuts and layoffs that had resulted in the inosculation of their division with the Highway Division (half the people doing twice the work), while the Township Manager paced nervously around his office, fearing that if it came to a putsch he would lose his job to the popular Maintenance Supervisor.
Mayor Sharkey, past master of translating public office into private profit (his companies had the borough snow plowing concession and contracts to maintain and repair municipal buildings and other common tricks of jobbery), was found procumbent and lifeless at the foot of a thirty-foot ladder outside the Borough Hall and, looking down at him, Detective Simcox experienced a persistent tremor of dubitation about the way the Mayor was arranged - surely a simple fall from the ladder would have laid him on his back or side, not on his face? - so the detective pursued a murder investigation, much to the dismay of the late Mayor's cronies, who subjected him to constant public ridicule and censure in the local paper (which two of them owned).
However bathetic their parents were, the young children of this year's crop of U.N. representatives were energetic and impressively unsentimental, being particularly gung-ho about playing tricks on their elders (like the city-friendly games of Ring The Bell And Run Like Hell, variously known as Knock Knock Ginger, Tok Tokkie, Nicky Nicky Nine Door, Ding-Dong Ditch, Belletje Trekken, etc., depending on national origin), especially once they understood the concept of diplomatic immunity, and Mrs Phillips, who had been assigned the third grade class as a guerdon for twenty-five years of patient service to the seventh grade, was just now realizing that it wasn't going to be the field of clover she had hoped for.
"Doctor" Tapasendra, who plied his trade in the port city of Allapuzha, was not a real physician but more of a carnival quacksalver who prescribed something he called "Swami Bhagran's Elixir" for all human (and animal) problems and I must say, not wanting to be captious and unjust, that at least half the time, being only palm wine and food coloring, it worked just fine (especially when added to a nourishing stew like the local version of lobscouse) but, predictably, it didn't help Anjah's broken hand, which resulted in her family staging the Keralan version of a sit-in - called "dharna - in front of his caravan until he refunded her money and paid for a real doctor.
"I object to this object!", cried Mr. Murchison homographically, as he gestured toward a Faberge egg that someone had dusted with glitter (talk about deaurating the lily!), "and I shall deprehend the scoundrel who did this and see that she is subjected to the full adversarial force of the criminal justice system."
The Terpsichore family had a totemic sculpture of a Degas-style ballerina on their front lawn (carved from the bole of an oak by an enormous man cavalierly wielding a six-foot Stiehl chainsaw with one hand while using the other to turn up the volume on his iPod), which was a magnet for passers-by, who could be seen in groups on the sidewalk expostulating variously on public sculpture, dance, arboriculture, and aesthetics, along with an occasional stand-offish phobosophist whose fear of abstract thinking had been exacerbated by overhearing discussion of the nature of beauty.
"Mother", quoth Lord Randal, "I fear that my fiancee may have gotten into a snit over that execrable incident with the bloodhounds - of which I am ashamed and have apologized repeatedly - and I think she may have poisoned me at dinner because I'm feeling very dysphoric, sick at the heart, as it were, and fain would lie down."
After yet another ten-hour workday (followed by a 90-minute commute), Peter sat on his terrace in the peaceful, firefly-speckled gloaming pining for a three-day weekend while simultaneously remonstrating with himself about his laziness and lack of enthusiasm for his job, finally drifting off into a delightfully concupiscible fantasy about replacing the septempartite week with one of only five days, where the weekends were separated by only three business days.
Herbert was a physical chemist who had not simply gelled in his late teens but ossified entirely - devoid of any spirituel or romantic impulses - so when he heard the beautiful gitana sobbing in the hallway about "25/8", it never occurred to him that she might be employing the hyperbole common to those of gypsy ancestry to bemoan how overworked and exhausted she was, but instead he only wondered uneasily about the atomic numbers 25 and 8 (manganese dioxide, perhaps, as used in alkaline batteries?) and went back to the lab, where he forgot all about her by lunchtime.
"It is now thought that the Romany people in Spain, the Gitanos, migrated thither from India in the eleventh century, " said the alluring Professor Pantoja to his rapt female students, who were scarcely able to contain their impatience to hear what would come next (the fascinating, charismatic Prof. Pantoja and gypsies! in the same afternoon! how romantic!!), several of them remembering that the last time something this exciting happened at Wellesley was when the Dean of Admissions' lover threw a letter-wrapped brick through a window she didn't know was closed into the waiting room of what was now called Transfenestration Hall in memory of the event, and wondering whether this evening would be a felicitous time to try the same manoeuvre at the professor's house.
At a gathering of this sort, artificial "creamer" and instant granules often go hand in hand, resulting in coffee of a telltale unappetizing dun color, so Brenda was delighted to see that, at the Anderson's Saturday morning kaffee klatsch, not only was the coffee freshly ground, but the cream was real (although her jubilation was tempered somewhat by the accompanying Cheez Doodles).
Miss Heppenstahl, a model of indulgent mansuetude when it came to exercising her fiduciary responsibility to her young ward, arranged for the release of the funds necessary to pay for his continuing spiritual journey, which at the moment involved playing the panpipes - primarily to the accompaniment of the neighbor shouting, "Shut up, will you, I'm trying to get some kip!" - which was actually a great improvement over his previous stint as a follower of Simeon Stylites, which had left the back garden dotted with columns of different heights (not to mention a score of waiting plinths).
In the crowd of bearded men, Henry's face was conspicuously glabrous, like the surface of a blancmange, and it didn't help that his mouth was agape in a rictus of fear (because, even though he didn't understand a word of Arabic he could still tell that the crowd's angry gestures were undeniably limning his imminent demise), and he struggled to improvise a solution to his unexpected and dire problem, even though he had never been much of an autoschediast.
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