Wednesday 20th June 2012
The wrong floor
“LOOK. There is a sign. This is the place for the reception.”
I left the lift and approached the desk. The man and woman had completed their conversation. He was picking up his belongings: a silver case and various metal tubes.
“Can I help you?” the woman smiled.
“I have come to meet the Pry Minister and Me Dear. Is it here, please?”
“No, madam, but if you’d like to follow this gentleman.”
“Hi! Did you say Bilton’s gracing us with his presents? Perhaps he’ll resign and give us all a happy Chris Muss. This way.”
I was surprised to hear that the Pry Minister was intending to honour Me Dear with gifts, but maybe the giant Father Chris Muss had suggested he should.
“Ulla,” nagged Brendan. “I’m not sure about this. Maybe we should come back later.”
“You’ll miss all the boos, if you do. Irish times, is it?” asked our companion, leading us down a corridor. Boos? But Brendan had assured me they would clap and cheer. “Have your passes ready, guise. If this is a number ten bash, security will be tighter than a G string.”
We turned a corner. Ahead of us stood a guard, indicating that we should enter a room on the right, where, behind a row of tables, sat yet more uniformed figures. I was beckoned forward by a woman holding a board containing several sheets of papers.
“Virgulle of Rheta.”
“Oh no,” murmured Brendan.
“What?” shrieked our companion.
Beyond him, through open double doors, was a much larger room in which many people were standing. His cry caught the attention of those nearest the doorway.
“Virgulle of Rheta,” I repeated, assuming that our companion had not heard me.
The officials behind the tables looked at each other with some concern.
“Here, give me that back! I need my camera!”
Our companion reached across the table for his case, which one of the guards was examining. From inside the larger room came a number of shouts…
“It’s her! She came in the back way! She’s here!”
…and I was about to undergo the experience widely known as pandemonium.