My partner and I actually witnessed this happening at a Historic Houses Trust function held at the old Mint building in Macquarie St. We were members of the group in the corner, and did eventually get fed, though at one stage it seemed unlikely. Any comparisons to people living or dead is purely coincidental!
The waitress peeked around the doorway leading from the kitchen to the cobbled yard. Peering hard through the crowd, she lined her sights up with the area on the far side rear of the courtyard, the area that she was determined to get to.
The coast appeared clear. Everyone was chatting amiably to each other, and noone appeared to take any notice of the white capped head darting in and out of the doorway.
Raising the tray of canapés high above her head, she released a deep sigh of relief, then took in a deep breath and bolted out of the doorway. Heading for her targeted area in the yard, she lithely ducked and weaved, performed a quick pirouette, and a hard-practiced pas de deux while keeping her target firmly in her sights, and her tray held high
But it wasn’t to be! One loud, overdressed old matron saw her from the corner of her wrinkled eye, and let out a high pitched squeal of triumph, attracting the attention of those in her proximity!
The poor bedraggled waitress didn’t stand a chance as the vultures closed in on her, gnarled hands scrabbling high as they greedily grabbed for the sandwiches offered on the tray.
The people in the far corner of the courtyard – the group being targeted by the waitress – let out a yell of disbelief as this was the sixth tray to have not reached them this night. With wineglasses clanking, and false teeth gnashing in glorious victory, the vultures moved back to their groups, spitting sandwich crumbs at each other, safe in the knowledge that no prey was getting past them this night.
The waitress dropped the tray down by her side, a look of sheer desperation and resignation crossing her face as once again she headed back to the kitchen.
The people in the corner, fearing starvation, regrouped to consider their options. A group of girls, obvious leftovers from their school ‘wallflower’ days and undoubtedly still unkissed, joined them to plan an attack. Their equally unattractive boyfriends had the ‘lean and hungry’ look that foretold of struggles yet to come, albeit post-acne.
An old duck in a loud floral pants suit watched, was glancing salaciously between the slowly increasing group of enforced dieters, and the kitchen. She glanced at her watch, estimating the time of the next assault.
The president of the group, struggling on his walking stick, hobbled to the microphone to intone the rest of the evening’s proceedings. The young blues group, entertaining nobody but themselves, stopped their warbling.
The vultures turned to the stage, and for several minutes were distracted enough to not notice the waitress making another foray toward the sustenance starved group at the back of the yard. A desperate, vegetarian lesbian threw herself at the waitress, but not being as tall as all the others, not quite as agile, nor quite launching herself quickly enough, got knocked aside. A gentleman in ‘old man’ beige turned and yelled a signal to Ms Loud Pantsuit. She spotted the tray, and on wobbly heels – the courtyard was cobbled – threw herself once again across the yard in a flurry of windmilling-arms and multi-coloured silk.
The waitress was not to be outdone this time. She climbed onto her toes, raised the tray up onto the tips of her fingers and lunged through the group of old cronies. The president was yelling something about “everyone being welcome, and wasn’t everyone just having the time of their lives”, but to no avail. The direction of the evening had been changed quite unwittingly from what was proposed.
Adding support to the harried waitress, other waiters and waitresses rushed from the kitchen, heading in all directions. The vultures were for a moment unsure which way to go, and it looked for a split second that the throngs at the rear might yet be fed. An elderly, almost lithe woman in purple and green flowing voile did a high jump that would have made Steve Hooket proud. With claw like hand, she grabbed three sandwiches off the tray, and threw them amongst her compatriots. Doing an agile – at least for her age – hop, step and jump, she managed to snatch a further four sandwiches from the tray. The yard was in turmoil as the vultures attacked the other tray bearers as they wended their way through the throng.
The waitress hung her head in despair. Tray hanging from her hand, she cast a lost look at the group she had tried valiantly to fend for. Almost with a tear in her eye, she whispered an ‘I’m sorry. So truly sorry’ to the vegetarian lesbian, and started her lonely trek back to the kitchen.
Never had so few been fed by so many!
Time to regroup for the next assault.
In the courtyard, the vultures picked over the bones in the far corner.