Melanie stared open-mouthed at the mug toppled on the shag as if it were a hand grenade.
"It'll come out!" Stef cried.
"I can't get it to come out. I can't believe this!" Melanie spit on her thumbs and rubbed the lace furiously between them. The spot just laid there like a relaxed beach-bather.
"This was your idea in the first place! I told you not to do it. Ronnie, soda water, now!"
"Look, everyone is already sitting down. The music is already playing! I can't go down there with a wet dress! This is not some junior prom! What am I supposed to do?"
"It's going to be okay. We'll get it out and everything will be fine. No, no, don't do that. Give me that! Soda water will get it out, I know it will."
"This a sign. This is a sign that I'm not supposed to do this. I've got to go, now. Get out of my way!" Melanie shrieked and threw the scissors against the wall.
"Get a hold of yourself! This is not a sign, it's a spot! And it's not the goddamned stigmata, it's just tea! Get back here! What about Dylan? What are you DOING?!"
Melanie kicked the mug through the doorway ahead and stormed after it, flailing her train behind her. The mug rolled through the balcony railing, missed a balding head in the front row, and bounced a few times on the red carpet.
Dylan felt something splash on his cheek. He turned his head in surprise and glimpsed a dark stain spreading on the white collar of his tuxedo. It smelled of bergamot.
He squinted at the stain, missing the whirl of white lace disappearing through the church front door; but he heard the organ halt and the crowd gasp. He turned around, walked to the men's room, and started to scrub out the stain.
Gratitude and treachery are merely the two extremities of the same procession.
You have seen all of it that is worth staying for when the band and the gaudy
officials have gone by.
-- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"
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