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.
The Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest is held ever year at San Jose State Univ. by Professor Scott Rice. It is held in memory of Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), a rather prolific and popular (in his time) novelist. He is best known today for having written "The Last Days of Pompeii." Whenever Snoopy starts typing his novel from the top of his doghouse, beginning "It was a dark and stormy night..." he is borrowing from Lord Bulwer-Lytton. This was the line that opened his novel, "Paul Clifford," written in 1830. The full line reveals why it is so bad: It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents -- except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
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