‘Wow,’ breathed Michael, staring at the carnage.
He had been the perfect host – pule and caviar canapes; Dom Perignon 2006; Charbonnel et Walker chocolates; an ice sculpture of himself, towering over the congregation, a frozen collosus complete with ridges of slick hair and rictus smile – a frighteningly close likeness, his PA Imogen had said; floral displays of strelitzia, orchid and gloriosa lilies that soared to the ceiling; a ten piece, tux-clad band (smooth jazz, classy but easy standards, nothing experimental or hard on the ear) and the finishing touch – a point of perfect irony – tame mink, necks wreathed in pure gold chains, walked through the chittering throng by supermodels wearing floor length coats of the same glossy brown fur.
An evening that would be remembered for decades to come – the oppulence of Michael Philip O’Connell.
But Michael discovered too late that mink are vicious creatures who resent the close proximity of their murdered and skinned brethren and aren’t afraid to lash out at the nearest bare-toed supermodel in pin sharp revenge. And supermodels become dangerously unsteady when they have expensive mustelidae (not rodents – Imogen had made a point of telling him) gnawing on their painted and polished extremities. And who knew that ice sculptures of billionaires are surprisingly top heavy, even when nudged by girls with rope-skinny arms (he thought Imogen had muttered something about it being the fault of his oversized head, but he’d been distracted by the caviar smeared across the floor like a bankrupting dirty protest, so he could have misheard). And who knew that jazz trumpeters bled so freely when a hundred weight of strelitzia fall on them?
As the screaming rose in pitch and the polished floor grew slick with melting ice, pule and blood, an unopened bottle of Dom Perignon rolled towards him, hitting the left toe of his Canali shoes. He picked up the bottle and a chunk of ice that had skidded along with it – the tip of his own nose if he wasn’t very much mistaken. He twisted the cork, easing out the last millimetres with his thumb and pushed the ice nose into the bottle.
As the champagne bubbles popped on the roof of his mouth, he was already planning his next birthday – perhaps a yoga retreat in Nepal? He’d ask Imogen to arrange it – once she’d stopped laughing.