I stepped into the down elevator and who was in it but Zoltan. Concealed my gasp. Too late to back out. I join him for descent to the main lobby, self on high-alert defensive―in the coolest of cool to the casual observer. Feet planted firmly apart, knees slightly bent, muscles tensed, visualizing kick-boxing. Balance is everything.
You see, Zoltan has history here. Last time, it was that day when The FEC Christmas Tree was to be decorated. The argument about who had custody or jurisdiction of the artificial greenery had been resolved―heated words exchanged between the competing Head of the InmatesCommittee, and Jiminy Crickets who claimed prior possession, and Thomas the Brave, a multi-tasking volunteer. If cooperation doesn't work, last man standing wins. That's how it is here. Standing (on your own two feet) is a key advantage.
Never mind, there we were. We unwrap ornaments and tinsel and skip back and forth to the generous eggnog bar. The tree promises to be spectacular as we carefully hang all the little treasures donated over the years. No-one minds that the fragrant Elayne is pacing the stage, muttering her lines for a future performance. Pacing as best she can without tangling her cane in strings of electrical lights.
Along comes mouthy Monica who wants her eggnog with extra rum and no nutmeg sprinkles. Thomas the Brave, tending bar, has no problem with this request. As the jovial spirit goes, Monica and Thomas exchange their usual insults aiming to wittily outdo each other. Zoltan is standing by, face wrinkled at the wordy barrage. His outrage is building because of a) not getting his eggnog in a timely fashion, or b) offence taken with the verbal love-in, or c) an unknown medication issue. We've never been certain how much English he understands.
With an unintelligible grunt, Zoltan swings his arm wildly ... an arm with an empty eggnog glass attached to it. Monica gets clipped across the face. Witnesses react in slow motion, then an uproar. The fragrant Elayne topples from the stage and her wig falls off. Amateur caregivers flutter around the victims, seeking leadership from the Inmates Committee Head who temporarily vanished before even the mute Zoltan stalked off. Thomas the Brave is on it, calling 911 which he has on speed dial for reasons too complicated to go into here.
Zoltan spent the night at the cop shop. Monica had two shiners like you wouldn't believe. Elayne doesn't remember a thing.
Another feckless day in the life. We really must move on from Christmas.