The flappers Emma and Cati escort the rumpled photographer inside, followed by the chattering pair of au courants.
The stage has been extended and perhaps fifty chairs have been set out around a dozen tables. Near the door, a handsome duo dance cheek to rosy cheek; they are the only pair to do so in the entire joint. Wait staff mill about serving hors d’ouvres and cigarettes – and, of course, no alcohol. Though it is nowhere near capacity, the ballroom is positively encrusted with the gems of high society, mingling and chatting about the goings-on of the island, the city, and the world. From the forced transformation of Russia at the hands of Stalin into the Soviet Union, to the more local spectacle of Diana Dalziel's marriage to the banker Thomas Reed Vreeland, the dance floor is alive with news and gossip.
The show has not started, but judging from the tittering of the modest crowd – it's only a Tuesday, after all – it will soon. The majority of the spectators and socialites are here purely for purposes of entertainment and many seem to regard Ramanuja first and foremost as a magician. Some are here out of interest in the occult aspects of the show and rumors of the monk's prescience. A few clearly consider the occasion to be some kind of outrageous debut. "Not good, I say. There’s only one word for it," too-loudly whispers one sauced-up fellow. "Mis-ce-gen-ation."
One of his pals leans over his shoulder with a virgin cocktail and offers a meager defense for the presumed couple, "You talk as if V.K. hails from Darkest Africa."
"Might as well for the voodoo he worked on that banker."
(Action point: Some time will pass before the show begins. Characters may mill about, snoop, mingle, explore. Next post will be made in a day or two: "The Show".)