14 December 2004

Twas the Fray before Christmas...

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Subject: 'Twas The Fray Before Christmas
From: EnsleyHill
Date: Dec 14 2004 11:11AM

'Twas The Fray Before Christmas

The Fray is having a Christmas party and I just love parties so I have invited myself and am preparing to go. On the Fray you can be whatever you want to be, from Jesus Christ to Joe Shmuck, and with a little skill with the search engine you can believably pose as a genius or a philosophizing hayseed, so I'm donning my cyber-tux, the only kind I can afford, and have called for the limo.
"That's fine, Smedley, I can open the door myself, thank you very much."

As we pull up to the 2-story brick building that is the Fray a gentle snow is falling. I alight from the limo, remove a glove and elegantly wave off the hired help, slip on a piece of ice, and land on my ass. A Hollywood entrance if I ever saw one. I brush myself off, recover a few loose shreds of dignity and enter the BOTF grand ballroom--party central.
Entering the vestibule, I give my coat and hat to the hat check girl, Amber, who is urging everyone to check in ALL of their clothing, but with very limited success. Even the liberals here are a little conservative.

"Hey Ens!" yells M.A. as he waves from the service table, where he is busy doctoring the punchbowl. I wave back and marvel yet again that he and Clinton hail from the same state.

As I saunter forth I encounter Geoff, who is already a little tipsy and carrying a full bottle of Jack Daniels. Uh-oh!
"Fuck'em," he sputters. "Fuck'em all!"
He grabs my shoulder for support, points a finger at me and says "Fuck you too!" before staggering off. I have a feeling this will be a night to remember.

Schad watches all this with interest and, for the moment at least, keeps his own expletives to himself.
Across the long hall, JMB, Rat, Appolonius, and a couple of others I'm not familiar with, are warming up on the stage with one of the Fray's standards:
"The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire…"

On the small podium in the center of the floor, Ender is pontificating upon the dynamics of the Fraycentric universe. The multitude listens silently and raptly, except for Geoff, who between sips of JD, can still manage to correct some mathematical flaws in his theories.

The place already appears packed but more are still coming. In walks Denny, with a coat he borrowed from James Dean, and a voice that came from you and me…and Robert Frost. On his arm, GG is decked out as a spritely Southern Belle.

Soon chango and his entourage stroll in and regally work the room. He even has Paris Hilton on his arm; talk about coals to Newcastle! Soon chango and his gang…er…entourage…annouce that they have places to see and people to do, and abruptly leave as their laughter echoes behind them.

Meanwhile Twiffer has stationed himself at the hat check counter where he can flirt with Amber and make faces at everyone entering the ballroom. Tempo rewards his efforts with a swift kick to the groin, tugs on the leash, and heads towards the podium with Robes in tow.

Ender has relinquished the podium, having concluded that this mob isn't worthy of enlightenment, and Jack Dallas is now reading his latest poem:
"There once was a man from Nantucket…"
As he finishes there is a polite ripple of applause and loud boos and handfuls of popcorn from Ted Burke and some of his friends.

At one of the tables butterscotch is tearing a strip out of doggydevil who holds up his hands and pleads, "Will you lighten up, butters! You're taking this WAY too seriously!"

Locdog is there, wearing a "Jesus Saves!" T-shift and the jacket of a navel aviator. He and his friends are passing out tracts and offering to pray for everyone, except Fritz-Gerlich who has been pronounced an irredeemable reprobate. Fritz follows locdog and his group, chuckling at their efforts and pronouncements. He is already heavily marked up with bites but he keeps coming back for more.

Tempo now mounts the podium and delivers her latest poem:
"There once was a man from Nantucket…"
Thi-i-inc listens attentively as a dozen or so of his clones furiously take notes. Jack Dallas, Ted Burke, and a motley throng from Poetry applaud loudly as she finishes. Tempo beems triumphantly and announces that if it isn't prominently featured in the next Fraywatch article she will send poison-pen emails to every computer on Earth!

At a large table in a corner TQM is telling the Canadian contigent that they are representing their noble country at this event and should behave themselves accordingly. DrNo says yes, Juno concurs, Deej, ghost, and others nod agreement and harmony prevails at the Canuck table.
Except for daveto. He wanders from group to group, listening to the entire debate being offered, then snuffs "Dork!" and moves on to the next. He isn't very congenial or talkative tonight, but he takes it all in.

Hawk and Hawkeye are arguing about who really owns the name and how did the other have the brazen gall to even show up, and so forth. Elephant Gun has placed himself at the European table, where Moira Redmond and some folks from the Guardian are holding their audience spellbound. At a table nearby, J.D. Connor and some friends from Hawvawd have their own little discussion going. These are bright lads and I suspect they will learn to speak English in no time.

As I pass one of the halls leading off the ballroom, I come upon a group discussing architechural matters. The usual arguments about form vs function and some other stuff so far over my head that I don't even speak the language. But I did catch a glimpse of Qui-Tam so it wasn't a total waste.

Throughout all the hubbub, the band is really cooking and some Fraysters are starting to dance. Even Skeptical, in his "GOP Saves!" T-shirt has hit the dance floor to trip the light fantastic, as he dances on the toes of biteoftheweek. Even ThomasD is on the dancefloor, alternating between Splendid-IREny, seasquirt, and zinya as his dancing partners. Music supercedes even religion and politics. Ghazzan has attracted a throng of die-hard liberals which forces them to move to a larger table.

At the rear, near the big picture window, stand Kevin Arno and Adam Christian, dreamily gazing out at the snow and pretending not to see NoStar, who is pounding on the bullet proof glass, demanding to be let in. Geoff wobbles towards them and slurs:
"Oh let'im in, fer fuck sake! I'll smack'im upside the head with this bottle!" which is now empty.

I decide to check back on this story later and go to the Fray Shrine of Fallen Posters. Of course the late lamented Bob (REW-OEM) has a massive monument in this alcove, right in the front. Some of the others I don't think are really gone but are missed nevertheless. Loran, pollymath, GimmeCoffee, Marti, Rachel (the west coast law student), Bluto, mofoBenson, and countless others are featured here. A large banner over the front of the shrineroom says "Sacred To The Memory Of Those Who Have Left Us."

Well now it's late and almost everyone has passed out or getting there. The band winds up with the Fray Anthem:

"How I wish
How I wish you were here
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fishbowl
Year after year
Going over the same old ground
What have we found
Same old fears
Wish you were here."

Apart from the band, only myself and Geoff are still on our feet, and he just barely. He heads to the door, stops and makes a little bow and says:
"Merry Christmas to all, and good fuckin' night!"
He then departs into the driving snow, wearing a heavy parka that he swiped from Fritz, when that luminary had passed out.
I step outside and find that my limo is now a Volkswagen Passat with several large dents and a few spots of rust.
"Home, Smedley, and don't spare the horses!"
I turn away from the mirror so that he won't see me wipe a tear from my eye.

Sorry for those who were missed.
Merry Christmas to all.

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