The moon was full and bloated. The air was crisp. The crack of car doors opening as guests arrived gave a resonant echo. Though its entrance, and the security personnel guarding it, maintained an uninviting, somber presence, HurtyVibes was glittering on this evening.
It was the Detection Party.
Inside, Mr. Gullet hurried from table to table giving hurried commands to automatons and urgent orders to matons. A slight sweat and a hop in his gaunt gait gave away the arduous hours of labor that were coming to a head.
Gullet: There’s only 6 forks at this setting! I see salt but no gas! Missing 2 tubes here!
The room was laid out with a large circular table seating 12 in the center, a raised circular pathway around it, and many satellite tables seating 8, scattered around at all angles from the center. The central table had a large series of screens hoisted above it, containing 3 panels in a triangular formation facing outwards, so that everyone in the surrounding crowd could see at least 1 panel. Additionally there were 3 raised stages scattered amongst the satellite tables.
The video panels currently showed a black screen with the words, in large, red, Helvetica font:
The Detection Party
Gullet was now talking to a nervous looking man who you might have thought was wearing a bow-tie, but in fact was not. He had had a minor heart attack a few weeks earlier and had decided that the best thing for his recovery was to throw himself back into his duties.
Gullet: Bring in the sub-guests, Elfonso
Elfonso: [Nervously twitching his mustache in the way that a bow tie might spin] Yessum, big dog.
He scurried off before Gullet could consider his words. Shortly afterward, some doors at the rear of HurtyVibes were opened and a small, quivering horde was unleashed into its innards.
The horde initially began acting in a decidedly horde-like manner – spinning confusedly from one random direction to another; trying to separate, yet not wanting to depart too dramatically; tripping, falling, trampling. Then Elfonso stepped forward and started pointing and gesturing in increasingly arbitrary ways, that nonetheless appeared to provide some type of order to proceedings.
The people began to sit at the satellite tables in groups that were patterned in some mysterious, indetectable way. As they sat, they took on the manner of confident confusion, talking in strident tones while maintaining vaguely befuddled looks on their faces.
At this point Gullet had moved towards the descending staircase inner entrance of HurtyVibes. He took position at the base of the stairs. He looked at a device he had mounted to his cuff. He sniffed. He straightened his posture and broadened his stance.
A bugle played.
The words on the screens began flashing epileptically.
From the stairs came the first guests.
The Detection Party had begun.