The mood was quiet in the van on the way back to the party. Johnny and Kona were both exhausted after the incident with the policeman and they dreaded spending another hour waiting for the party to be over to break it down and go home. As it was, the prospect of the hour-plus ride home loomed over their heads. Neither one of them had the strength to reach for the radio, so they drove the few blocks in silence. Kona parked the van on Park Avenue, across the street from the building.
“Damn…I don’t wanna go in,” she shifted the gear into park. I just want to go home!”
“Me, too,” Johnny agreed.
“Ah, let’s get on with it, then.”
“But it’s too early. We’ve still got like a half hour before the party ends.”
“I know, but maybe there’ll be some cute guys in there. We could have a drink. Besides, it’s cold out here!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Johnny reluctantly agreed as he opened the door to get out.
They exited the van in anticipation of the bitter wind and ran quickly across the street, into the building. Still tired, the pair rode in silence up the elevator to the penthouse. As the doors whooshed open, they could hear a faint revelry in the distance. As they moved along the hallway towards the party, the sounds of music and conversation became clearer. The party was still going, but it was winding down. Some guests were already making their way to the coat check, anxious to get home. Kona spoke to one of Bill’s workers, while Johnny people-watched.
They were strange looking people, he thought, dressed in luxuriously expensive evening wear Johnny had only seen on television and in the movies. Since it was a 60th birthday party, most of the guests were in the 60ish age range, so there was not much eye candy for either Johnny or Kona to look at. The effects of plastic surgery were obvious on some of the stranger looking people, mostly women, but a couple of men as well; a couple of faces pulled too tight, unnatural looking lips (and that was on a man!), and an breast implant or two thrown in for good measure. Johnny thought it was all so strange and fascinating. He hadn’t even been paying attention to Kona.
“C’mon, we can start getting stuff from the cocktail room.”
Johnny was immediately on the move! He wanted out of there as fast as Kona did, so the two of them dashed into the entry room where the cocktail hour had been held.
“Quick, take this!” Kona handed Johnny a bouquet off a table.
The two of them worked feverishly, hoping to make one trip down before the rest of the party was ready to be broken down, saving them a good twenty minutes. They blew out candles, loaded more bouquets into a box, and then they began to dismantle the Kuninga that had been placed in the room, the Blue Room when suddenly, a voice yelled out from behind them.
“What the %$#& are you doing?”
It was Bill! Johnny rolled his eyes. This was Kona’s problem, he figured. He wasn’t going anywhere near it!
“Jonesy said we could break down in here,” Kona answered, instantly seething.
“I don’t care what Jonesy said. You should know better Kona!”
“Look Bill, it’s been a long day and I want to get the %$#k outta here! I didn’t just go in and do it…I asked!”
“I said I don’t give a damn! I want you to put everything back where it was right now!”
Johnny wanted to be anywhere else in the world at that moment. Out of nowhere, Kona reached for a votive holder on the table and slammed it so hard on the floor that the sound of the smashing glass emitted a sudden silence throughout the room. Bill was frightened!
“Fine! Leave it then!” He began to walk away. Then, without turning around, he told them to wait for Jonesy to come back before they did any more breaking down. Kona looked at Johnny, shook her head, and shrugged.
“C’mon, let’s clean this up and get going. I can’t wait to get the #$#* outta here.”
Kona and Johnny spent the next hour and a half doing their job without speaking. Kona’s demeanor slowly metamorphisized from shock and anger to worry and regret. They never saw Bill again that night.
Back in the van, the two of them spoke. Well, mostly Kona spoke! For an hour and fifteen minutes the van was filled with Kona dramaticizing the situation, as she conjured up her story for Stewart. Clearly there was going to be trouble for this one!
To be continued…