“Jester,” Ibis murmured, sharpening her talons with a file, “hoist my mirror.”
Jester hefted. Ibis stared at herself and preened.
The mirror was heavy. Jester’s knees were buckling. “Gauche!” Ibis cackled, seeing him struggle. “Enough. I look like shit.” Jester dropped the mirror.
Ibis coughed up her scallops to the nanny, who waddled towards the nursery to cough them up to the children.
“Lets go to the Club for lunch,” she told Jester. She had put on her jodhpurs, which meant she wanted to ride. Jester sighed and strapped on the saddle.
Blot drove in from the territories in a Cadillac, leaking the oil that paid for it. He entered the Luncheon Club, tried to tip an ashtray, and strode to the bar. Ibis was there, sipping a gimlet.
“Everything on your top shelf, just keep pouring,” Blot barked. “And that vase looks expensive. Gimme a pour of whatever’s in that vase.” The barkeep shrugged, grabbed the vase, and poured Teddy Roosevelt’s ashes into the cocktail. Blot stood up and leaned across the bar, leering: “Hey, do you have those little umbrella—“
Oh no. The upholstery.
Blot had been oozing into the barstool. Ibis looked down at the stain, scandalized. Blot tried to sit back down, but it was too late. A man in a waistcoat came sprinting in, snatched the Rough Rider colada, and terminated Blot’s membership on the spot. “I can buy any and all of you,” Blot spewed on his way out. Ibis buried her face in the newspaper to deflect the spittle.
At home, Blot sat in his black marble tub. He scrubbed endlessly. The oil kept flowing. The drain clogged. The fumes dissolved the gold leaf off of the faucets, which had looked tacky to begin with. “They were right,” Blot thought as he held the sopping black loofah; he was disgusting, literally unrefined. He was filthy, and so was his money—but he had it in spades. Buy them all, he would.
Things have changed. The Luncheon Club is now the BlotZone, sponsored by Blot Holdings. The dress code is no longer enforced in the main dining room because the BlotBurger is so greasy that it comes with a bib, overalls, and a roughneck to man the sauce hose. Ibis, too proud to break from the rules, rents an additional locker by the squash courts, which she fills with the piles of stained repp ties her BlotBurger lunches yield.
“Hnnnnh,” Ibis moaned dyspeptically, perched high up in the stacks of her library. Her stomach had been ravaged by BlotBurger ulcers. The reading room was strewn with bones she couldn’t digest anymore. Jester, many shelves of books below Ibis, glanced at a fish head sympathetically, and then looked up at Ibis. Her beak was full of drugs. White powder was spilling out of it and onto Jester’s cap. “Ennui, Ennui!” she screeched down.
Ennui came toddling in from his playroom, resplendent in a sailor suit. Ibis threw some pills down at the child, who caught them in his mouth and tottered back out of the room. Jester couldn’t believe how fast the kid was growing. Must be the scallops.
Ibis began to pour herself a gimlet. “Want one?” she cawed.
“Sure,” Jester shrugged.
He was going to have to get it himself, it seemed. Ibis had placed her drink in front of her and was genuflecting mindlessly. Her beak bobbed into the alcohol and out again, in and out. She looked just like one of Blot’s oil derricks.