4.1 A Pink Blur at the Lobby Door
But in the exhilarating excitement of that moment, no one could have imagined the events beginning to unfold at the Chaotic Hotel. Only a few noticed. It started with a flurry of activity near the lobby doorway, where the Flimflam Flamingos arrived in one pink blur.
Mingling among the birds was Tallulah, seemingly lost. Ain't it Awful, was immediately alarmed. He elbowed his winged arms and pushed through the crowd of Honey Badgers that still were congratulating him, moving to reach Tallulah Hester.
Where is Mad as Hell? He asked
It would be good if he could support my leadership win.
His pride couldn't take losing the election.
Now he's even angrier than Hell.
He just up and left me.
They were rudely interrupted by a Flimflam Flamingo called Y'all Lookin at Me, who had heard about the election and congratulated Ain't it Awful.
I heard that it's about time the Badgers gained some personal freedom to do absolutely anything that strikes your fancy, just like us!
And with that comment, she stalked off, fluttering her feathers, to join her buddies queuing up at the check-in desk. These new guests were the second installment of refugees coming from Cacophony Island. Many more were expected since things there were chaotic and not getting better.
4.2 Pink Vibration
At this very moment, and to the horror of the Raven, who was already very tired and grumpy from his midnight flight over the dock to observe the newly arriving guests, the check-in process dissolved into wild disarray as a pink vibration of flimflam flamingos shook into formation.
With their necks bent down, their dance line followed Y'all Lookin at Me as she circled through the lobby, then through the Heirloom Bar for the Unfortunate to the delight of a few early drinking Honey Badgers, and back to the check-in desk.
4.3 The Stowaways Show Themselves
And precisely at the moment Got Away with It, a posse of Grunge Rats slammed into the ersatz dance line, almost tripping a flamingo holding her invitation in her pink beak. The Grunge Rats continued scurrying between the Flamingo's legs, nearly tripping the entire group.
Last evening, the Raven's tired eyes had failed to spot this second group of arriving guests. The Grunge Rats had stowed away unseen in the bilge, the lockers, the engine room, anywhere they could, as all rats will do. The Chaotic Hotel, like Cacophony Island, was about to live up to its name.
4.4 Showtime at the Stars Galore
The Raven considered asking the Flimflam Flamingos to do a tap shoe performance at the Follies, but he first wanted to check out their performance. So, he flapped his wings and chirped for quiet.
Please line up by place in a chorus line.
I want to see a sample of your performance.
Crazy Girlfriend heard the Raven's request, so she immediately gestured to the Flimflam Flamingos to fan out and give a short tap rendition of Secondhand Rose. They swiftly stepped into formation like a lasso and began to perform, swinging their wings in harmony, and tapping away in unison.
The rustle of feathers and clickety-clack of their tap shoes was mesmerizing. Everyone in the lobby quieted down with rapt attention and started to sway, even the grunge rats. Secondhand rose was not everyone's taste in music, but still, they were seduced by the cadence of the repetitive tapping.
When the tapping and clickity clacking went on a bit too long, causing too big a crowd to gather and clogging up movement in the lobby, the Raven shouted that they should stop now. But no one could hear him, so the dancing continued.
He was happy with their talent and told Crazy Girlfriend that they should stop and would be scheduled to perform that evening in the Hotel's Stars Galore Theater.
At that moment, the Flimflam Flamingo's manager, a Grunge Rat called Smoother Than Silk and Tough as Leather, shoved his way into the lobby crowd. His monocle gave his face a deceptively wise consternation belying his sleazy cleverness. And his natty dress reflected a gentleman.
Crazy Girlfriend clapped her feathers, and the Flamingos horde stopped mid-stride.
Ladies, we have bookings here at the Chaotic Hotel.
Showtime is 9:00 p.m.
Excited twittering greeted this news. And Smoother Than Silk and Tough as Leather was delighted.
4.5 Liaison Troubles Begin
The lobby crowned thinned, permitting the dance troupe to move toward the Raven's desk and proceed with the Hotel's registration process. But none of the birds had an official reservation, so it was mayhem trying to line them up.
Crazy Girlfriend was hoping to hook up with Ain't It Awful. That's why she first signed up to be one of the Follies' performers. She was sure that he would recall their liaison in the early spring. If not, she had a myriad of tricks to gain his attention, and she tapped her foot in anticipation.
The Raven assigned rooms on the Mezzanine Floor, and upon completion of the registration forms, the Flimflam Flamingos moved slowly to the stairs.
But Crazy Girlfriend was fuming.
Just my luck, she thought.
Ain't It Awful had moved to a fifth-floor suite and would not be near her on the mezzanine level.
It would be hard to visit him, she thought
....but not impossible!
Crazy Girlfriend figured she would bribe the grunge rat Had Better Days to unlock the code to the elevator and sequester her to the fifth floor. The rest would be easy. Rats would do anything for a copper.
Had Better Days decided to stow away on the Slow Boat, leaving his comfortable life living in the cracks of the dysfunctional society on Cacophony Island.
He heard there was a round-the-clock card game in the Chaotic Hotels dumb waiter and a continuous floating crap game in the pool locker room. That sounded very compelling and after getting off the Island, he intended to attend both.
4.6 I Arrive From The Annex
Hi. Remember me? I'm Ellie, your narrator and guide for the Chaotic Hotel Saga.
In case you forgot, I'm a Magpie, a doctor, and quite beautiful...if I do say so myself.
I promised that I would join the story, so here I am, standing on the hotel's stairway landing, admiring my figure in the mirror. My main job is at the hotel's hospital annex, a place that will be an important part of the saga...but more about that later.
As a side job, the Raven hired me to help keep the varied and growing number of Chaotic Hotel guests in line. This will be a big job requiring great speed, visibility, and comfort. So I have decided to wear a chili pepper red dress with doctors' moccasins. And I always carry a metal clipboard where I can scribble notes reflecting the crowd's state of mind.
So far, everything seemed copacetic, aside from the growing noise of gathering crowds.
4.7 The Show Goes On
As dusk darkened the palm trees outside the hotel dining room window, the mood inside got brighter as the loud guests feasted on a six-course dinner.
Ain't It Awful had sponsored an exquisite evening.
After dinner, everyone wandered out and stepped over to the Stars Galore Theater. It was just adjacent to the hotel dining room.
Rehearsals were winding up for the upcoming 9:00 p.m. show, and Smooth As Silk And Tough As Leather could be heard squeaking directions at the assembled dancers. Their precision was impressive, and their synchronous movements tapped out a lovely cadence.
A promising performance was in the air.
The Angry Honey Badgers, some Flimflam Flamingos, and the hotel staff took their seats in random order. Everyone was excited to see the show. The house lights blinked on and off, and a hush swept over the audience. Polite applause greeted the opening of the fringed velvet red curtain. The orchestra was seated beneath the stage, and tiny lights shone on the musician's stands to illuminate the musical score.
The William Tell Overture resounded in the orchestra pit, emanating into the audience. The first chair flutist played a solo, and a musician in a tuxedo pounded the tympanic to indicate the upcoming Flimflam Flamingos performance.
They entered as a chorus line from stage left and momentarily seemed confused when the spotlights shone on their entrance. As the conductor tapped his podium, they tightened up their formation. It was synchronous perfection once they got started. They heard loud applause throughout their performance.
The scrim came down, the curtain closed, and the show was over.
The audience slowly moved out of the theater and headed to the Heirloom Bar for The Less Fortunate. But not Tallulah and Crazy Girl Friend. Unseen by each other they quietly slipped out different side doors. Their plans would soon collide.