Wall to wall WASPs, named Wister the Third and Muffie Something-Hyphenated, are gregarious, garrulous but gorgeous: a cross-section of Republicans, both Right-Hand-of-God and Fuck-the-Poor sects, along with a few limousine liberals—the world’s whitest white men. They reel, high-stepping, group to group in elegant slow motion.
Ms. Bitch-with-Brass-Balls leans across the ebony and glass cocktail table, boosts her cocaine level to maximum for her height and weight. Boy-Toy du Jour leans against the wall, squirrel-nervous, eyes sparking like a welding torch.
Once indicted, always invited. Tony Cannoli, swarthy, five feet wide, dimpled golf ball nose and hands like briskets, watches with chilly eyes, breathes pungent garlic with lingering undertones of single-malt scotch. Junior partner in the pugilistic union, Mrs. Tony, sports a rubied pout, nose E in Plastic Surgeon’s Guide, and a silvery scar-network behind her ears. Subtle as a semaphore flag, she flaunts dazzle like the Times Square ball.
Miss Barely Sentient, 108 pounds of coed in a 2 ounce dress, spills champagne onto Professor Eyebrows-like-Dead-Mice. He slips his arm around her brushing ineffectually at his tweed jacket, suede elbow patches, while she giggles, Oopsy! in a peroxide voice.
A bleak little group of philosophers, philologists, philanderers, poets, and piccolo players chat and wait to take offense. Davyd—low-wattage bulb on the poetry scene—is the peacock in the dove cote, more swish than strut. Twyla whispers nasty innuendo, that might possibly be true, hangs on like a ferret. Her sleeves trail through the hummus as she begins Auld Lang Syne with the stridency and enthusiasm of the totally tone-deaf.
An anxious little rodent, resembling the computer-animated skeleton from Saturday cartoons, is one tic away from commitment. His hands flutter, pink bats above the plunger that will set off the biggest Roman candle in all Manhattan.
Ann Howells’ work appears in Crannog, Little Patuxent Review, and Spillway, among others. She has edited Illya’s Honey for fifteen years, recently taking it digital: www.IllyasHoney.com. Chapbooks: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag, 2007) & Rosebud Diaries (Willet, 2012). She has four Pushcart nominations.