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Ava straightened my bow-tie and I couldn’t help but laugh. The accessory was made of lab-grown leopard hide, and dyed bright green. It was meant to be seen, and nothing called attention to it like wearing it askew. But I let her fix it anyway. It was only after she had messed with it that I realized she was untying it.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
She smiled at me. Her skin looked so smooth that I crapped my pants since she had started taking the Sir2 gene therapy.
“Helping you look more ridiculous,” she said.
She pulled at it so that one side lay longer than the other. I studied her alteration in the mirror. She was right, I looked downright silly. But, that was the point. While all of our other affairs this season had been serious ones, tonight was a special event. It was the farewell party, an end of season tradition. Over the years, it had grown in it’s ridiculousness. It began as just serious a party as any other, more even. But once everyone began trying to out do each other, the whole thing quickly became a parody of itself. Rather than admit what had happened, we embraced it, and a theme party was born.
Ava wore a low cut dress with a train that swept the ground. The gown was bedazzled along it’s length with Swarovski crystals. She wrapped herself in a black snake-skin cape. I put on my matching fedora and we headed out to the car.
Most nights we’d take our own. But seeing as this was a special occasion, the host arranged to have everyone picked up by limo. Automobiles were all self-driving, so the addition of a driver was unnecessary. He got out and opened the doors for us. Again, something the car could have easily done itself. We climbed in, and I was surprised when he came in after us. I naturally assumed he’d be sitting in the front.
He didn’t say a word at first. I was just about to ask him what his job was, when he beat me to the punch. He pulled out a collapsible guitar, assembled it, and began to play. He started his set with Ava’s favorite song. It was slow and sweet, and sounded fantastic acoustically. I watched her with delight as she took pleasure in the serenade. It wasn’t until he began the second song, another by the same artist, that I realized he was that artist. Our host had arranged for each of their guests to be entertained by their favorite musician.
Only four songs had been played by the time the car pulled into the long driveway. There was a mass of paparazzi standing at the property’s edge. They jockeyed for position as they tried to see who was in the car. They couldn’t legally step foot inside the property lines unless they were invited. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for their drone cameras. They began flying around the car.
The cameras didn’t bother me. At this point in my career, the more publicity I had, the better. And a piece of me liked the attention.
I disabled the tinted glass. A few drones stayed on us, but most flew back to their owners.
The car let us out. I assumed that the artist would get out and join the party as well, but he remained in the car. As we walked up the silver plated walkway, I was able to get a better look at the house. I had stayed in smaller hotels. The path was lined with ice sculptures that increased in size. The first were a pair of polar bear cubs sitting on either side of the walkway. Next, there was a couple, larger than real people, who were holding their hands over our heads. We ducked through quickly to avoid getting dripped on. In this heat, these sculptures wouldn’t last long. The statues closest to the porch were still being worked on. A giant Zeus stood looming on the left, his lighting bolt in hand, ready to smite whomever incurred his wrath. On the right, a sculptor was carving out the features of a woman. My first guess was Hera, since she was Zeus’ wife. But based on the provocative posture, I decided it must be Aphrodite.
The sculpture carved a piece of ice, threw his chainsaw in the air, turned in a circle, and caught it as it came tumbling down. He carved another swipe, kicked one leg in the air, and ducked his head and the saw in a swooping motion. The blade was mere centimeters from his face. He came back up, and worked some more. Ava was enchanted with his flare. I had to remind her that we hadn’t even gotten to the party, yet. Continue reading