A hush descended over the room when Lynn stumbled into the table, knocking antique knickknacks to the floor. Crystal shattered, shards skittered across the polished parquet.
The stunned party-goers gaped as Lynn tried unsuccessfully to right herself, but instead crashed into the waiter, toppling champagne flutes.
“Well… I guessss I don’ need ‘nother drink,” she slurred.
Krista strode over to her flailing sister, yanking Lynn to her feet by her elbow.
“Woo!” Lynn cackled. “This one’s a feissty one!”
“Let’s go, ” Krista hissed. “You aren’t fit for public.”
Lynn broke Krista’s grasp, plopping onto the floor in the middle of the spilled champagne and broken glass.
“I’m jus’ fine rii herrre,” Lynn insisted as she slapped her hands in the champagne, splashing it like a kid in the bathtub.
“No, you’re not,” Krista choked back tears of embarrassment.
The entire room was frozen, watching Lynn’s implosion and Krista’s futile attempts to salvage any of Lynn’s dignity. Across the room, the bandleader cleared his throat and the musicians began playing again, restarting the song they were playing when Lynn first fell. One by one the polite guests averted their eyes, turning sideways so that it wasn’t obvious that they were rubber-necking the scene.
“Lissen up, hot stuff, ” Lynn wagged a finger at her stricken sister, “I don’ wanna go home. Home is hell. I wanna stay right here.”
Krista squatted slowly, arranging her form-sitting dress so that it didn’t tear from the unexpected exertion.
“Lynn, we need to go. You’re being an ass. Everyone is watching…”
“Lemme give ‘em somthin’ to see, ” Lynn said, toppling Krista into the puddle.
Startled, Krista squawked and spluttered as she scrambled to right herself. When she finally dragged herself to her feet, she looked down at her ruined dress and her ruined sister and spat out, “You suck. You fucking suck! I fucking hate you!”
Lynn watched Krista flee the party; her last ally had deserted.
“Yup! I fucking suck!” Lynn’s voice sounded gleeful, but she was so far over the edge that her hysterical laughter turned quickly to hysterical sobs. She threw her head backwards, keening the most mournful, desolate sound into the ceiling of the ballroom. The musicians had stopped again and uncomfortable guests began to draw back from the scene, unsure of how unstable Lynn had become.
Lynn rolled onto her stomach, singing, “I fucking suuuuuuck!”
She got on all fours and began to crawl out of the room, braying, “I fuuuucking suuuuck!” over and over as loudly as she could until she reached the door.
Using the doorknob as a hand-hold, she hauled herself to her feet. She winked at a group of wide-eyed guests and bowed deeply, nearly spilling out of her gown.
“I am leavin’ ‘cuz I FUCKING SUCK! No encores for you!”
She stumbled down the hallway, holding the wall for balance until she reached the lobby of the hotel. The concierge intercepted her before she left the building.
“Would you like me to call you a cab, ma’am?”
“Nooo, I don’ think sssso. I wanna go for a walk.”
“Ma’am, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I do. Mmm jus’ goin’ ‘cross street to zuh parrrk. “kay?”
She pushed past the blinking concierge and slammed through the door. The brisk night air slapped her face and she gasped in the chill.
“Izz snowin’! Izz snowin’! Krista, izz snowin’!”
But Krista didn’t hear her. No one heard her because the parking lot was deserted.
“Fllloridaa snooow!” Lynn squealed as she made her way between the parked vehicles toward the road. She stopped, gripping the bumper of a SUV to vomit, the warm liquid hitting her feet. She kicked off her shoes and stepped into the road.
“Cold toesss!” she shouted to the night. “Snow in Floridaaaa!”
She flung her arms high over her head like a ballerina and twirled. She was dancing when she heard the squealing of brakes. She was twirling when she saw the car sliding toward her, the driver’s face a mask with a large “O” for a mouth. In slow motion, she saw the car slam into her. She saw red, then the night sky briefly.
She did not see Krista throw the car door open and stagger toward the heap on the road that had been her sister. She didn’t see anything anymore.