3.1 Gambling Solves No Problems
Mad as Hell headed to the gambling parlor located in the hotel lobby. He would meet Gus, his honey badger friend from the old neighborhood on Cacophony Island. He planned to draw a few hands of poker. Gus was inebriated. Mad as Hell smelled it in the air the minute he got close. He didn't care, so he clacked his teeth as a gesture of camaraderie and pulled up two empty chairs at the card table. He ordered a honey drink to demonstrate he was still a 'lansman' even though he gave up spirits after the last calamity.
Mad as Hell was an inveterate gambler. He had no intention of giving up. So, he played six hands, went bottoms up, slid his chair out, and stood behind Gus as he lost it all.
They returned to the lobby, where the dinner bells were chiming. Holding Gus's arm to steady him, Mad as Hell said
Tell me, Gus, whatever happened to the ivory inlaid card table?
Sold 'em slurred Gus.
Gus had started drinking when his wife Jezebel left him. No love lost there.
I was running in the red, nearing foreclosure.
He belched loudly and began humming the timeless show song, Show Me the Way to Go Home.
3.2 Birds of a Feather
The lobby was alive with activity. The host, a dreary copy of a Maitre'd, assembled the noisy revelers in order of the ear hoops hierarchy. Fifteen badgers at the dais. Fifteen, no Sixteen, including a cockatoo, at the card tables, threatened to collapse at the weight of the roasting platters and dinnerware.
When all were standing by their place settings, Mad as Hell entered with Tallulah by his side.
Please be seated; Tallulah and I will not be joining you for the opening of this Jubilee; instead, we will join you at the Heirloom Bar for the Unfortunate after dinner for cordials and some coffee and sweets. We will retire to our suite, enjoy a small repas and meet you at about 5:00 am.
With not another word, Mad as Hell and Tallulah took their leave.
As they left the Jubilee and mounted the stairs, small murmurs were heard, and then a quiet cheer emerged from pursed lips, grateful the party could begin in earnest. All left their assigned seats and proceeded to hook up with other Angry Honey Badgers who were equally angry, forgetting who had a gold or copper ring; they were all in the same boat, right?
3.3 Waiters Do More Then Wait
When the 31 revelers sat down again, dinner was presented by four waiters, all named Joe: Joe#1, Joe #2, Joe #3, and Joe #4. They dressed alike in black servant trousers and white shirts, and their slender lemur bodies made an easy reach for serving the main course. Coco van and haricot verts were served, during which Out of Work Actor recited Shakespearean sonnets, and a juggler dipped and weaved and reached out for the glassware to throw in the air. Bored by his selection, Out of Work Actor changed his repartee to Snoop Dogg, dropping in Shakespeare verses. There was continuous applause.
It was a herculean effort for four waiters to assemble the sheer volume of food proffered at the host's behest, Mad as Hell by name. Still, they gingerly fed 30 Angry Honey Badgers and one Cockatoo. The evening was finally coming together. Now, this was fun.
The main course was served in less than an hour, leaving plenty of time for the Angry Honey Badgers to mingle and socialize. Strains of The Going Home theme from Dvorak's New World Symphony was rudely flipped off. Rap replaced it: this place was no Tara. All the badgers were getting reacquainted as they swiped and pecked their meals.
The four Joe's wanted to wrap this shindig up by 4:00 am, bust the tables, and store the chairs. That was the waiters' job also. They charted an extra 1/2 hour to collapse the folding tables and chairs, which would get stored in the basement. Their reward would be a game of hoops.
3.4 Old Age Doesn't Always bring Rewards
Dinner was over, and the sun would be dawning soon, so as they had agreed, all 30 honey Badgers and one Cockatoo moseyed into the Heirloom Bar for the Unfortunate, where the band was playing show tunes. They all ate and drank until the wee hours of the morning.
At last, Marlene looked at her watch. The aging Chanteuse was deep in conversation with Appassionata, a fellow singer and a badger. Marlene had come up the hard way for ten arduous years after a disastrous mating hit on the Rio circuit.
For poorly paid singers, aging was a thankless proposition. She gambled her youth away on a dream of stardom. She even saved the flesh-colored sequined gown, now neglected in her duffel. She hoped to drag it out, renew the slight tear in the sequin bodice, and squeeze into it so if she were to be asked by the Maitre'd, she could sing a few choruses of Melancholy Baby. But the reality was that her voice, sultry and out of style, would only croak all the high notes and fumble the low notes.
Appassionata, another singer fallen on hard times, became fast friends with Marlena. They were both of the same ilk, but Appassionata didn't delude herself that singing was even a possibility. She had full dentures that caused her to lisp. Even worse, she had a stutter that started at 70 years old, and that was that.
3.5 A note Left On The Doorsill
The party wrapped up, and the partygoers straggled out of the Heirloom Bar for the Unfortunate. It was 4:59 am. The flickering candles in two baccarat chandeliers cast amber pools of light on the vaulted ceiling of the bar. No one snuffed out the tapers. They were left to fizzle out. No one seemed to care. No one looked back, indifferent to the fire hazard. Exhaustion overtook the 30 angry Badgers and one Cockatoo in mass. They decided to bag the meeting with Mad as Hell, as Enzo preferred to be called, and retired to their double rooms. No suites for any of them!
They left Ain't it Awful to scribble the notification for Mad as Hell. He wrote in precise cursive
We are retiring, sorry.
As it turned out, Mad as Hell never saw the note since Ain't it Awful carelessly dropped it on the doorsill of his suite. He and Tallulah slept soundly. They had too much champagne and forgot to meet at 5:00 am.
3.6 Sunrise and Fear Don't Mix
Sunrise crept in on cat's feet and greeted the sleeping Badgers and Cockatoo with a warm, gentle touch. Everyone was dressed and bathed by breakfast.
They stumbled out of their rooms, tiptoeing past the sleeping concierge's hulking body. The Raven slumped over the desk and snored loudly. He was up all night too, but even more exhausted than the others since last night for him began with his long flight silently observing the arrival of the Badgers at the boat dock. No one even gave his snoring a second thought because they only had 1/2-hour sleep and figured he was working late, burning the midnight oil.
As they entered the dining room, they saw that the four Joe's had not cleaned up the confetti, but they chose it's ignored the mess. Ain't it Awful was the first to enter the dining room and saw Mad as Hell and Tallulah Hyster deep in conversation with the Maitre'd.
The group of Angry Honey Badgers and one Cockatoo straightened their lines and strolled past Mad as Hell and Tallulah. Their casual sway belied a primal fear of their leader. They were waiting to hear about last night's standing up of Mad as Hell and Tallulah Hester.
3.7 The Rebellion Begins
A notable rebelliousness grew hourly in the ranks, and Mad as Hell didn't miss it even for a second. Tallulah followed him as he climbed halfway up the dining room stairs so he could be seen and heard, and then spoke.
We are canceling the luncheon, Mes Amis. You cannot ignore my command.
There will be retribution that follows such an insurrection.
From the back of the assembly, Ain't it Awful spoke up.
We waited one minute, and when you didn't show up,
No Prospects wrote a note, and I personally delivered it to your sweet
Mad as Hell growled in response
I recieved no note
Had No Prospects piped in, explaining
Also, we were just soooo exhausted from our journey and tired after the party.
Mad as Hell shrieked
3.8 That Didn't Keep Them In Line
Tallulah started to cry. She knew only too well what would follow. Mad as Hell hurled a tray of croissants at the crowd. A hot pot of coffee soon followed. No dish on the table was spared. His anger and wrath knew no bounds.
As soon as he was spent, he dropped his arms, bowed his head, and showed a wide smirk. Now he was satisfied. He had spent his rage and had his crowd shaking and cowering.
He spat out
Oh, you can forget breakfast; there will be none.
He pulled Tallulah out of the dining room, mumbling to no one in particular.
That will keep them in Line.
The crowd slowly rose and started to chatter. Nothing to be Concerned About, one of the Angry Honey Badgers that rarely voiced his attitude finally spoke out, his paws shaking at the prospect of no food
Outrageous, this is outrageous.
Overreacting, a badger that was known as the complete opposite of Nothing to be Concerned About, said
You all know what's going to happen now.
Shunning by Mad as Hel
3.9 A New Leader Is Elected
The angry group gathered in tight groups at the dining tables in the breakfast room. There was a growing recognition that they needed to do something about their leadership situation.
At this moment, Ain't it Awful seized the opportunity and signaled that he had something important to say. A hush fell upon them as Ain't it Awful clinked a glass on the dais. He cleared his throat and began to clack his message shouting
I say we need a new leader!
Frenzied clacking, and whoops went up from the angry group. Ain't it Awful passed the already printed ballots (sneaky fellow that he was), and by lunchtime, they elected him to be their leader, a nearly insane result since he was a cockatoo and quite different from a Badger.
Ain't it Awful immediately abolished the pecking order of ear hoops. Now everyone was considered equal.