Lucille is the first to arrive, swathed in the new, elaborate fur coat she ordered from Dubai. They told her it was real fur. She sashays her way to the table she has been directed to, taking great pains to display her bag as she walks. Of course, the feeble minded population in the restaurant wouldn’t know a designer bag if it was used to hit them over the head. But one must keep up appearances. She sits down primly and summons one of the waiters. The other bitches are late, but she’ll be damned if she is going to waste valuable drinking time. So she orders a martini and snaps at the waiter when he implies, by way of raised eyebrow, that he thinks it improper to be drinking this early. The smug bastard.
She is babysitting her drink when Violet blows into the restaurant. She stands at the door for a minute, looking anxiously around. She sees Lucille and emits a deafening screech. “Girlfriend!” she hoots, moving swiftly on impossibly high heels to Lucille’s table. And then she leans over and plants two loud, invisible kisses on the air around each of Lucille’s cheeks. It is only after she sits down that she realizes that all the eyes in the restaurant are on her. Even the people waiting tables have stopped their work and are regarding her with curious expressions. So Violet shoots to her feet and plants an arm on her waist. “What, you idiots have never seen tits before?” she challenges, looking defiantly around the restaurant.
It is a fair question. But it’s not the most pressing question. For this occasion, Violet had decided to dress in a negligible little grey top that only covered the lower eighth of her breasts, which means her nipples are all but peeking out. Perhaps she should have asked if they had seen practically uncovered tits in a restaurant before. No one seems willing to respond to her challenge, so she shoots one last, poisonous look in all directions before sinking back into her chair. “Can you believe these perverts?” she asks Lucille, who responds by upending the remaining contents of her glass and signaling for another. This is going to be a long day.
The other ladies join them soon enough. First comes Kathy, chatting loudly on her phone, (which she holds daintily enough so as not to hide the model) to someone she keeps calling ‘boo boo’, ‘lover’ and ‘pum’kin’. Once more, the good people trying to have lunch are forced to abandon their meals and watch as the woman swings ample hips past them, weaving deftly between tables. Finally reaching her table, she signs off with “Bring me something back from London, swirrie!” and then she sits down and pretends not to understand why everyone is staring.
Then Muthoni staggers in. It is almost immediately obvious that she has been drinking. She does a weird shuffle, which is in her mind a brave attempt to navigate a world where everything but her is spinning. Her dance leads her straight into a table, whose contents she sends flying as she struggles to regain her balance. When she feels sufficiently confident that the world has stopped gyrating, she swings into some old man’s lap, where she relieves him of the drink he had been holding. It is then that her friends take pity on her. Lucille and Kathy rescue her and direct her firmly to their own table.
“Did you drive here?” Violet asks, horrified.
“Yeah, the husband wouldn’t let me have the helicopter. Some corporate bullshit.”
No one has anything to say to that, so they fall silent and wait for Joan. Weaves are petted, phones checked, make-up reapplied. Lucille signals for the waiter again and suggests that it might save him further trips if he just left the bottle there. Finally, Joan skips into the restaurant. She rattles off a string of apologies all the way to the table, exchanges pretentious “mwaaa’s” with the rest of the ladies and then launches the proceedings with a cheery “So, what’s up, bitches?”
“Oh, you know, just waiting for you to validate our existence with your presence,” Violet says sweetly.
“No, I would never”
Joan chooses to ignore this.
“So, Lucille, what’s new with you? How is our illustrious governor?” she tries again. When she gets nothing out of Lucille except a cold stare, she turns to Kathy.
“Kathy? Swirrie? How are we doing?”
Unlike Lucille, Kathy has no problem talking about herself. So she launches into one of her rants, beginning, of course, with the biggest news. Her boyfriend-they remember her boyfriend, right?-had been linked with a move to Queen’s Park Rangers. The football club, that is. She sees the blank expressions on their faces and tries to explain exactly why this is a very big deal, but finds to her annoyance that she is not very sure herself.
“Is that the one with Walcott?” Muthoni asks.
“You know, the hot football player.”
“Oh, no, swirrie, that’s Barcelona United,” Kathy replies knowledgeably. “I’m actually not sure why, but Josh made it sound like really big news. I’m just thrilled for him, you know. He gets to do what he loves.”
“And there’s more money,” Violet says with a grin.
“Yeah, that too.”
Kathy rattles on for a few minutes, speculating out loud on whether she should move to London now that her boyfriend is a big football star (OMG, will people start asking for her autograph now?), and then Muthoni remembers a vital piece of information that she had been meaning to share with the group.
“Hey, did you guys hear about Dr. Vinn?”
“Yeah. Apparently he is being sued for sexual harassment. A few of his patients have come forward claiming he touches them inappropriately. One of them says he forced himself on her”
“That’s nonsense, everyone sleeps with the gynecologist,” Violet says, “Everyone knows that.”
“No, Violet, only the sluts do,” Lucille says coldly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Sluts, Violet. You know, the women who don’t wear clothes to restaurants?”
Joan sees the fight coming and cuts in with the information she has been hoarding.“So, I’m getting married. James proposed last night.”Silence. And then everyone starts talking at once. Kathy lets out a whoop of laughter. Lucille gives her a strained but surprisingly genuine smile. Muthoni grabs both her hands and demands to see the ring. And Violet…Violet says something that sounds like “…didn’t know rappers take marriage seriously.” But Joan doesn’t care. Two of her friends are happy for her and that is all that matters. They spend several happy moments talking about James. What a good boyfriend he is. His inability to make decent music. But such a dedicated boyfriend. Muthoni confesses herself jealous, and declares herself the maid of honour. Kathy tweets about it. Lucille laughs and says that the wedding had better make it to television. Violet remains silent. Unusually so. It takes Joan a minute to realize this.
“What’s the matter, Violet?”
Violet looks intently at her for a minute, and then she says, slowly, “I don’t think you should marry him, Jo.”
But she knows. Something about the way Violet is looking at her tells her everything she needs to know. She shakes her head in disbelief, and even after the initial doubt has faded, she continues to stare stupidly at her. She does not doubt that Violet did it; she does not even pause to wonder why. Violet is-has always been- a slut. Despite the fact that she was dating the most successful businessman in town, she continued to have a string of indiscreet affairs. She was practically half naked, for God’s sake. But James…would he…? A flash of anger seizes her and pushes her to her feet; she hears the smack before she realizes her hand has moved, and Violet’s hand is covering her face.
“I suppose I deserve that,” she says. “But since we’re confessing things, I might as well say it; Muthoni, I slept with your husband too.”
There is that inevitable dip in the noise level, just before all hell breaks loose. All eyes in the restaurant are on them. The staff realize what is happening ten seconds too late. By the time two burly security officers materialize, the happy group is now a tangle of flailing limbs, with Kathy and Lucille standing a few feet away, from where they throw in the occasional “Get the bitch!” The three sparring women are pulled off each other with some difficulty. A phone camera clicks and flashes somewhere. Violet has lost her top, and now stands topless, her hands at her sides.
“Well, now we know her breasts are fake,” Joan spits.
“Guess whose fiancé paid for them”
Joan makes another lunge towards her, but the security officer restrains her. They are escorted out of the building, the five of them, and asked to kindly refrain from showing up there again. Lucille and Kathy slip into their cars and drive off without another word. Muthoni and Joan hang back to glare at the slut one last time, and then they, too, drive off, leaving choice curses trailing behind. And Violet…Violet looks at one of the security officers dead in the eye, puffs out her chest and holds out her thumb and little finger. “Call me”