Martha and Tilley walked into the banquet room and looked around. A blonde woman with a clipboard bustled about the room in a state of panic. She looked up at them and smiled, but it melted quickly, when she assessed them.
“John,” she snapped her fingers at a walking acne treatment, “these ladies are lost. Can you point them to the Mary Kay meeting?”
Martha brushed the boy away. “Actually, we’re here for the Miss Snark party and I assume you are Party Patty?”
She looked confused, and more than a bit frazzled, as she pulled the pencil from behind her ear. “You’re guests? I don’t recognize you and I do a lot of literary parties. Besides, it’s still a bit early. Would you mind waiting in the lobby while we finish setting up?”
Martha glanced over at the lone server in the room, who was propped up against a wall, popping bubble gum and filing her nails. “We were sent by the employment agency as servers.”
Party Patty stared at her and Tilley and then at John and Bubbles. “I know there’s a gaming convention in town, but I requested ladies, who could wear the little French maid uniforms.”
Martha nodded. “We know.”
Party Patty floundered for another excuse. “I don’t think I have any uniforms your sizes.”
They removed their coats. “We have our own,” Martha replied and smiled sweetly.
John knocked over a stack of glasses he was carefully arranging near the champagne fountain. Bubbles swallowed her gum. Party Patty dropped her clipboard…and her jaw.
“You aren’t serious,” she gasped. “You can’t wear those here.”
Tilley stopped fluffing her white helmet hair and looked at Martha. “We’re wearing the Playboy Bunny outfits then?”
Party Patty clutched at a table for support. “No, I mean you can’t work here in those.”
Martha’s lip began to quiver, her hands wringing in dismay. “Y-y-you mean you’re not g-g-going to let us work? Two little old ladies just trying to earn a little extra money so we can pay for our prescriptions?” She smiled at Party Patty, whose jaw dropped a little farther. “Can you imagine how dramatic that would be on the six o’clock news? All over the country?”
“That’s blackmail,” she spat.
“I prefer to think of it as creative job opportunities.”
“All right, but when more servers get here, you two have to leave. I’ll pay you for a full shift.”
Martha looked at Tilley, who was trying to pull her boobs up off her waist. Tilley stopped and nodded. “All right,” Martha replied. “Show us what we need to do.”
She led them to the buffet tables. “The kitchen will keep these trays full. We’ll give you the trays to take around to the guests. The champagne fountain is self-serve.”
They peered closely at the assortment of brightly colored guns with champagne streaming from them. “That’s an unusual fountain,” Martha said.
“I think it’s cute,” Tilley said with a giggle.
Party Patty beamed. “Thank you. That’s my clue gun fountain.” She clasped her clipboard tightly. “You may need to escort the guests to their seats also. Here’s the diagram with the guest list. I have to go check on the food.”
Martha stared at the woman, scurrying out the door. “I think she’s a clue short of a puzzle.”
John and Bubbles were leading guests back to their seats when a blonde with a tan and brilliant white smile strolled through the door. Martha snapped her fingers at him. “Hey, Beach Boy!” The young man stood there, looking around, ignoring her. “Hey, surf’s up!”
She walked over to him. “Get a damned haircut so you can hear. Uniforms are in the back. Party Patty will be back in a minute.”
He looked around. “Me? I’m a guest. I’m an agent.”
“Sure you are, dude. Now go get your uniform on and next time get your hair cut.” She heard the gasp from behind her before she felt the finger poking in her shoulder.
“Martha, this is Mr. Bransford. He’s a famous agent.” She leaned over and whispered in her ear. “You take him to his table and apologize immediately.”
Martha waited for her to flit on to the next guest and motioned to the man. “I apologize for being honest. Here’s your table.”
Party Patty handed Tilley a velvet pillow with jewels and gold tassels on the corners. “When Miss Snark arrives, I want you to carry Killer Yap for her on this custom made doggie pillow.”
Martha refrained from making a comment about surfer dude or the stupid pillow, by stuffing part of a mini bread loaf in her mouth. She was peeling the bow off the fifth one, when Party Patty noticed her.
“Martha!” she trilled. “What are you doing? Ms. Rappaport brought those for friends of Miss Snark. She baked them special. You can’t eat those.”
Martha’s lip began to quiver. “I’m just a poor old lady who’s trying to–“
Patty cut her off. “I know make some money to buy prescriptions, but you still can’t eat her bread.”
Martha rolled her eyes. “Keep up, Patty. I’m hungry now, not in need of drugs.”
Patty’s response was forgotten when a distinguished lady in red stiletto heels walked in, carrying a small, white dog.
“Oh,” she gushed, “Miss Snark. Come along, Tilley.”
Patty pointed towards Martha, who was now standing near the restrooms, eating another loaf of bread. Martha dropped her bread, when a siren went off and, “Code 10 at the ladies’ restrooms,” blared over the speakers. Six men, dressed in black from head to toe, stormed into the restroom with weapons drawn. Moments later, they pulled a screaming woman through the door.
“I’m a towel dispenser! No, no. Don’t take me away.” Loose pages scattered like a snowstorm behind her. She tried to clutch at a young woman with short, brown hair and an iPod in her hand. “Kristin, please, I have a fictional epic fantasy murder mystery thriller you will love. My name is Georgia R. R. Martini.” Her screams faded as they hustled her out of the banquet room.
Miss Snark, Party Patty and Tilley with Killer Yap came to the restrooms. “I hired nothing but the best security to ensure no agent will be approached in the restrooms,” Patty said.
Miss Snark smiled and entered the recently de-authored restroom.
Martha stared at the dog on the pillow and her friend, who was petting the pooch.
“Isn’t he cute?” Tilley held up the dog and his pillow next to her face. “We even look alike. He has white curly hair like mine. Bright, shiny eyes.”
“Furry ears,” Martha added.
Tilley lowered the pillow and glared at her. “I didn’t have time to get my ears waxed.”
Martha’s eyes lit up when someone she recognized walked in. She nodded toward the door. “Recognize that person, Tilley?”
Tilley looked around. “Muttonchops?”
“Hmm, who?” She frowned. “Heavens no, he’s everywhere. Big deal. I’m talking about the lady. Deidre Knight. Hot, hot guys on those covers.” She looked around to make sure Party Patty wasn’t near. “That reminds me. There’s a romance writer’s convention next week. Half naked male models, hot romance talk, who knows what else? Maybe even anonymous sex. We could get a job there.”
Tilley tried to juggle Killer Yap and pull her sagging boobs up off her waist again. “Does it pay good? I really want a boob lift.”
“Pay? Who the heck cares? With all those men around the boobs will be standing at attention.”
No agents or editors were harmed during this episode of Martha and Tilley.
On a more serious note, sincere thanks to Miss Snark and the Snarklings for all their contributions to the writing community.