Δευτέρα, 1 Ιανουαρίου 2018

THE FOUR LANTERNS - HAPPY NEW GIGGLE



It is the first New Year’s Eve at the “The Four Lanterns” hotel after its renovation. Everyone is working hard. They polish the silverware, the chandeliers, the knobs and the cutlery. The reservations are so many not only by the hotel tenants but also from Brenanson’s residents who want to experience that night in the ballroom. Jenevier is constantly on the phone and he keeps on adding names to the reservation list. All the stuff is running, going up and down the stairs, decorating with lights the bushes and the trees of the garden. Everything must be ready for New Year’s Eve.
And the big day is here. Jenevier is constantly in the kitchen. He has taken care of the festive menu and he oversees the last details. The creamy soup from jellyfish of the open seas is as foaming as it should be, the caramelized anemone petals are far too delicate to garnish the wild boar, the exotic fruits arrived this morning and they are kept under special temperature and they will be served in baskets made out of tropical leaves. He talks to Roza about the sufficiency of the cellar. It is full of local wine varieties but also exceptionally aged well-kept for the occasion. He stares at his watch. 
“He should have been here by now” he thought. “We won’t be able to make it, the guests will be arriving soon.”
Indeed the hotel tenants are going down the stairs all dressed up in their festive shiny clothes. The residents of the city gradually arrive excited to see the hotel. Jenevier welcomes them at the door smiling. He has a kind word for everyone. He is checking their names on his reservation list. He knows that the ballroom will be full tonight. From the corner of his eye he sees Alfred rushing in, almost panting, and carefully holding a big glass jar. Jenevier nods at him to approach. Alfred whispers: “Everything is under control. It was a bit difficult to get it but I think it will be enough for tonight” and he is quickly heading towards the kitchen. Jenevier, now relieved, continues to welcome the guests. 
Everyone is excited with the menu and the wine and, of course, the hotel facilities. The doors of the room are constantly opening and closing and the waiters come in with full plates, go out with empty plates, and refill the wine glasses. There are vivid conversations in small groups. The topics are about politics, culture and, when the wine has turned red the chicks of the last banqueter, of course about love and women. At the peak of the night, the lights dim down. Jenevier enters the room holding a glass with a steamy, transparent liquid. The waiters follow him filling the guests’ glasses with the same steamy liquid.
“My friends, this year will be over soon and a new promising one will come. Tonight we have a surprise for you, the best reception for the things to come. Let’s count backwards. 10   9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1 ... Happy New Year!” he shouts and drinks a big sip and so do all the guests and the stuff and they share handshakes, kisses and hugs. And then there is a strange, awkward silence. Everyone stares at each other inquiringly. And as if they were tuned, they burst into a smile that instantly becomes laughter that is transformed into strong giggle. The strong giggle becomes even stronger, so strong that brings tears to some or make others hold their bellies. The entire room is shaken by unstoppable unexplainable laughter. It is an act that brings redemption and unprecedented freedom. Jenevier is totally satisfied with the result. The surprise was a success. Children’s giggles in a shot always produce such positive relief chain- reactions. The laughter that they bring is so contagious that can hardly be stopped. 
“Once again, Alfred, you did a fine job, although I confess that I was a bit anxious with your delay” confesses to his loyal groom, whose tentacles on his suspenders still laughed.
“I had some difficulty in finding a group of children that late at such a cold night but I kept a few giggles from a company that made snowmen.”
Jenevier tapped him on the shoulder.
“Happy New Year!”
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