Larry sips his gin and tonic, barely managing to suppress a shuddering grimace as the vile substance flashes over his tongue and down his gullet, haphazardly setting off taste bud receptors on the way, mainly the ones used for sensing bitter flavors. The tonic water is diet, and gives a sort of Pine-Sol taste to the already putrid gin. The entire concoction brings to Larry's mind a glass full of flat Sprite with a shot of battery acid and a teaspoon of ground-up Sweet Tarts thrown in. Of course, harping upon this thought certainly isn't helping matters.
"Enjoying the party, sweetheart? Asks Margaret, Larry's terminally obese mother. She's going to die in a year because she is so freaking fat; 316lbs, 2oz. She is asthmatic from her weight, she is diabetic from her weight, and she also has an adenocarcinoma the size of a walnut growing in her colon. She doesn't know this now of course, but she will find out in about three months when her family physician, Doctor Kevin Gladstone, performs a colonoscopy on her in an attempt to determine the reasons behind her bloody stool. He will take samples, send them off, get them back, and then diagnose her with stage IV colorectal cancer, and she will not recover.
"Yes. It's great." He replies. It's anything but, and he knows it. It is a dinner party in support of presidential candidate George W. Bush at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon. It is the singularly most awful event that Larry has ever had the displeasure of attending.
Larry's parents own the Limbertile Nodge. It is a large ski resort that rests three-quarters of the way up a large volcanic mountain to the east of Portland.
"They are wretched people," Larry thinks to himself, balefully glancing at his father out of the corner of his eye. The patriarch of the Limbertile Nodge, Gerald Gresham is a large man—not nearly so large as his behemoth spouse, but large by most standards—weighing in at about 260, and standing only five-foot-ten. He drinks brandy, smokes cigars, and rips off just about everyone with whom he comes in contact, business-wise. He shorts "his" workers on their hours as a matter of policy, and replaces the semi-skilled/unskilled members of the hotel staff every year so as not to face the obligation of paying for any benefits such as medical insurance or child care services. Once, Larry saw a scene in a movie set in Victorian era England in which a certain aristocrat found great humor in the spectacle of a small flower-girl frozen in a block of ice. This scene reminded him of his father, the man who, just before firing a member of the wait staff, kneed him in the groin for spilling soup on the lap of a VIP. Two not-guilty verdicts later found the incident as just another humorous anecdote in good old Gerald's bag of funny stories, one which is related at least once every time Mr. Gresham finds himself in the company of cigars, brandy, and other rich men. Gerald Gresham is an asshole.
Larry turns his attention back to his mother. What a putrid mass of hateful flesh she is, we may say. We do not know her, this woman who raised him, who kissed him when he fell and scraped his child-flesh, she who wrapped clean bandages around his knee and bade him mount his bicycle again. We may say "good, she will die like the hateful He takes another sip of his villainous beverage, this time failing to suppress the involuntary muscle contraction described by most as a wince while the nasty stuff is flushed out the back of his mouth and down his protesting throat. He lights a cigarette. He inhales, and then exsufflates the rancid smoke which rushes out to mingle with the foulness of the party atmosphere. $2000 per plate was the going rate for this occasion. The meal has been eaten, the President's final words of the evening spoken, but many of the partygoers are still lingering in the reception area, having smokes and drinks before boarding the shuttle busses which will take them safely past the unseen throngs of protesters (corralled squarely into their "free speech zones") and back into the city proper, where they can regurgitate the evenings happenings with their "friends" who were too poor to attend.
Applause rings out, somewhere near the threesome of double doors that lead back into the main dining area. Larry turns to see dark sunglasses with arms and legs preceding a man with a earpiece and a humorless demeanor. A few clones of thius first archetype follow. Then, the man of the hour steps through the center double doors and begins to make one final round through the throng of mostly adulating supporters. Larry turns his attention back to the bar and the bartender standing watch there, though the obviously important man is making his way toward him from a distance of roughly 120 meters at a rate of about five miles per hour, which will have him abreast of Larry in about one minute. It is at this point that something clicks in Larry's mind, something that he didn't even notice before, but in retrospect realizes that he should have noticed, hell: should have loudly declared to the world... It is the fact that A. The bartender is sweating profusely. B: He mixes drinks like a person who, well, has never mixed drinks before. C: Has some sort of protrusion from his chest that is causing the left breast of his tuxedo to bulge in a very odd manner.
Larry's heart begins to pound. This sucks, because he has been trying to quit smoking all day, and just lit his first smoke. What this means is that his blood pressure has been at an unusually (for him) low state for the entire day, until just now when he took his first couple of drags off a cigarette. When he imbibed the nicotine, it caused his heart rate and blood pressure to dramatically rise. Now that he realizes that an assassination attempt is going to take place right in front of him, the adrenaline that is being released into his bloodstream is causing his blood pressure to reach dangerous levels, especially since the fight-or-flight mechanism in his subconscious is not being answered; he stands frozen in mid sentence. "I'll have a Mirror Poh—" are the last words he will ever speak.
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