FROM CHAPTER ONE
Perilous doubted whether George Spiggot could maintain The Status Quo through the end of the year. It was an interesting concept and meticulously carried out, but still, she thought, it was a bit on the nose. She suspected the faddishness of the establishment would be its undoing.
Instead of the usual tiny tables and chairs that littered most nightclub floors, Spiggot had outfitted his trendy Greek Street hotspot with living room suites in fruity reds and greens and yellows. The love seats were sleek and covered in clear plastic, and at the front of each arrangement of furniture, a television was ensconced in a faux cherry cabinet.
At the moment, live feed of a blustering comedian in a bad toupee was being transmitted from the main stage at the front of the club to semicircles of socializing patrons nestled in their cozy suites. The camera magnified each bead of sweat on the entertainer’s forehead. It captured the hypnotic flapping of his precariously attached hairpiece and projected his large, bobbling head onto the small screens like a distorting funhouse mirror. His rambling routine was amplified and multiplied across the idiot boxes, creating an echo chamber of poorly timed jokes coming from everywhere and nowhere in particular.
“It’s the best of both worlds if you think about it,” Spiggot said, his elocution the epitome of private school snobbery.
He’d been trying to make time with Perilous from the moment they were introduced by Sir Silas Husher, Perilous’ and Sparks’ host for the evening. Perilous found Spiggot striking in a lanky, ghoulish sort of way, but he was altogether intolerable as a personality. His arrogance knew no bounds, and he didn’t seem capable of holding a conversation about anything that wasn’t strictly Spiggot-related.
He leaned his long body forward so that a lock of sandy hair fell in front of his solemn gray eyes. “It’s like being at home, but out.” His breath reeked of a sickeningly sweet cinnamon liquor.
“It’s diabolical,” Perilous said with aggressive indifference. “It’s like being home, but expensive. It’s like being out, but sitting in front of the tv. It’s the worst of both worlds.”
“Yes,” Spiggot said. A sardonic grin tugged at his thin lips. “Yes. You’re right. It’s brilliant. Do make yourself at home, Miss Faretheewell. We’ll talk more later, shall we? Perhaps you can entice me to join you for a nightcap.”
Still congratulating himself on his achievement and utterly oblivious to Perilous’ rebuff, he sauntered off to tell other patrons how remarkable The Status Quo was.