"Oh dear", said Mrs. Benson fretfully as she closed the window to keep out the aguish drafts of the late November evening, "Cyril is mounting the front steps again", which didn't seem to Adelaide to be cause for her friend's disrupted comity, but then Mrs. Benson continued, "I'm afraid he has been buying Viagra or some other philter on the black market again", and Adelaide understood at once the undownable necessity of getting poor Cyril inside the house and out of the public eye as soon as possible.
The employees assembled on the factory floor had comported themselves with dignity and restraint through the CEO's long-winded pep talk, through the ramblings of the chief accountant, and through the endless periphrases of the VP in charge of compliance, but when the representative from the marketing division got up and commenced a twenty minute meander through the fine points of brand equity, they turned surly, and by the time the company's general counsel took the stage, there were farouche mutterings from the corners about the feasibility of just burking the union representative who had invited them and gently tipping the body into the tailings pit when no one was looking.
Preoccupied by his biology teacher's public animadversion toward his essay ("Estivation and Hibernation: Dormancy in Warm-blooded Animals", which she apparently took as a criticism of her monotonous teaching style) and ashamed by a day of constant susurration and sidelong looks from his classmates, Jeremy drove his scooter into the rear of the neighbor's minivan and was now well into the second half hour of Father's angry lecture, the apophastic part ("...AND, I'm not even going to mention the embarrassment...!"), which would probably go on for another ten minutes or so, until the number of things Father claimed to be too forbearing to bring up reached half a dozen or so.
Being in Professor Perley's class on the vapor capacity of air (in Meteorology 101) was not at all taxing because this much-loved pleonast, tender-hearted to the point of seeming maudlin much of the time, had such a low opinion of the intelligence of undergraduates that he said everything at least half a dozen times to give them a fighting chance of keeping up, and was at this moment warbling one of his famous strings of synonyms ("ice fog, frost fog, frost flake, pogonip, rime fog, air hoar. . .") which unfortunately, like elevator music, mostly served as ear candy, a soothing background noise for the students busy texting each other (except for a couple who later swore they heard him say "air whore" and later became meteorologists in the hope of tracking down this elusive phenomenon).
The cabbage from the kitchen garden was unfortunately much corroded by mawk blight or whitefly or some such, much to the consternation of the cook, who had been hoping for undamaged leaves for stuffed cabbage rolls and had, in fact, already gone to considerable trouble to remove the hyaline cartilage from the beef before grinding it, but now was forced to make something with leftover chicken and bell peppers instead.
Mrs. Stanley has a strange mawkish odor, like the smell of a jack-o-lantern a couple of days after Hallowe'en, a sort of cold burnt raw pumpkin smell, plus she talks constantly on the phone, the most awful piffle about things she's found at the dollar store, and she wears only black clothes which means, she being seventy and dry of skin and scalp, a dusting of scurf covers her like December's first light snow, but her beau, an elderly paranoid schizophrenic who douses all his correspondence (including utility bills) with Lysol Basin Tub And Tile Cleaner objects very vociferously to Billy Bob's trying to fire her and, fearing that the step from vociferous to armed-and-dangerous is only a small one in this case, Billy Bob relents.
The Blue Team seemed aimless and distracted, divagating hither and thither over the llano like a slurry of bumpkin flaneurs, a sad state of affairs that was unexpectedly interpreted by the Brown Team as a shrewd strategy of some kind, one they couldn't figure out, which in turn gave them such bad case of the yips 'n' twitches that they couldn't concentrate at all and only won the game by accident when one of the horses, taking advantage of his rider's wandering attention by grazing in the end zone, nudged the severed head off the bluff.
Mrs. Palin, seeing that her rough and ready persona wasn't working well with the electorate, underwent a personal palingenesis and acted more sophisticated, trading in the lumpy down parkas for svelte business suits and the folksy patter for what she hoped were grave and sententious utterances about international affairs, but unfortunately she ended up in the ecotone between homesteader and cosmopolitan, losing the latter and failing to gain the former.
All the way from Lilliputian to Extra Big And Tall, Leon's men's clothing store carries something for everyone, provided your sartorial standards are not too high and you can stand Leon's constant kvetching about high wholesale prices and the impossibility of getting good help these days, as well as the cacophony of rattling sewing machines, salesmen shouting orders into a dozen telephones, and holiday music blaring through ancient loudspeakers.
Mlle Moreau was having beaucoup de difficulte: her impetrations to swear him to silence having failed, she had left Signor Bonnelli to languish in the lab (which she had locked from the outside) while she tried to figure out what to do with him now that he had discovered her faked data, but it was a little hard to concentrate, what with his banging on the door, a constant thumping punctuated by the occasional enraged sforzando crash of a lab stool hurled against the metal door.
As we passed the calumet around, puffing contemplatively on it in turn, we decided that, concerning the spectacle before us, it would be understatement to call it an olio (which anyway doesn't sound jagged enough) but overstatement to call it wreckage (with its irrelevant associations to accident and disaster), so we settled on "hash": what the dining room table looked like after a record eleven-hour Thanksgiving dinner - crenelated walls of drinking glasses, jumbled drifts of plates, bowls, and serving dishes, spiky heaps of silverware amongst the disarranged components of the centerpiece (made of leaves, seed pods, berries, and dried wallflowers from our late autumn garden).
See, when Max said that the mithridate he had in a little silver flask in his inside jacket pocket was an antidote to every poison, I thought he said "antidote to every person", so since we were on the way to Thanksgiving dinner at the Wilkins' (whom he absolutely venerates because of their wealth and I, on the other hand, despise because of how boring they are), I noodged him until he gave me a gulp or two of it and, although it didn't mitigate my boredom and irritation with the hosts, it apparently did protect me from Marie's bacteria-laden sausage stuffing, so that I was able to enjoy the whole medical emergency gestalt thing from the perspective of the only person in the house not throwing up.
Bill owned The Collected Works of William Shakespeare (the whole schmeer, including the poetry, in forty small leatherbound volumes - no anthologies, abridgements, analects, or chrestomathies for him! - which took up both the shelves in his prison cell) and he was now reading Titus Andronicus for the third time, breaking off occasionally to glance down through the barred window at the yardbirds lifting weights in the exercise pen, feeling quite enspirited and cheered up by the comparison between his chances of parole and theirs.
The rundlet of brandy weighed about 150 lbs., which necessitated the use of a hand truck to maneuver it into the bedroom, where it got caught on the leg of the bedside table just about the time he was completing his transformation into a werewolf, adding to his already modest intellect the complications of extreme hairiness and no fine motor skills whatsoever, with the result that, struggling to free the hand truck, he knocked over the candle, got tangled in the bed curtains, and burned to death in short order, his immolation leaving his partner amazed at her good fortune, uninjured except for a small weal on her shin where the candlestick struck her, and only slightly irritated at having wasted twenty bucks on the tetanus shot.
It was one of Mother's godawful monochrome dinners - chicken, mashed potatoes, white asparagus, and vanilla ice cream - in toto, a veritable festival of blah, but there was no avoiding it, an occasion hallowed by virtue of being the tenth anniversary of my father's death, so the most we could hope for was to amuse ourselves sotto voce by speculating whether the meal was an intentionally allusive reference to his milquetoast personality.
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