"The serpent laid its egg, it shook, shook, and now it hatched." said Uncle Tom.
The patriarch of the Richelieus referred, of course, to the abominable and abject, dishonorable and depraved, miscreant actions of their familiy member Maverick. How his name made their stomachs churn sometimes! He might as well just have shoved daggers down their backs.
Maverick's mother, Regina (what wasted genes), who'd also called the urgent meeting, had been the one to find out about his nasty habit. In order to deflect suspicions from neighbors, they'd met hidden by the veneer of their usual dinner parties. There, they discussed the addiction of the miscreant nineteen-year-old.
Hundreds of meters above the trees, in the fourth story of the Richelieu's penthouse, deceased ancestors gave piercing glances from portraits placed high on walls, and, on the shiny walnut wood table, light from the crystal chandelier glistened off both the Murano glass wine goblets and the polished-to-sparkling perfection silverware.
Regina, wrapped in her lion fur coat, recapped the dreaded events to make sure everyone was caught up. No one knew exactly what they were supposed to train their eyes on, alternating between Regina and her grandiose hand gestures, and the decapitated deer's head that hung right above her. The latter, stuffed with a peacock's fur that slipped through the edges, served as a more than appropriate crown.
"But was it really cocaine?" Sofia asked, whispering the word as though, if said any louder, it would bring about some terrible eternal curse, or, even worse: the children, who dined in a smaller table in the kitchen, none over seven years of age, would hear it and go on to be addicts themselves.
"What do you think about all this, Nigel?" said Regina to Nigel, who, up to this point, had been too busy stuffing himself with steak tartare to share any thoughts.
"I think," Nigel said, his mouth still full, "this boy's already done too much harm. Our reputation has already gone down. But next thing you know, they'll be blamin' everything on us, especially you, Regina. We've got to make this go quiet quickly, make him quit, by ourselves, by whatever means necessary. No rehab, no nothin'."
As he spoke, tiny pieces of chewed raw meat, engulfed by balls of saliva, escaped his teeth and fell back onto the porcelain in front of him. It would've been like a shark that had bitten into its prey and, unsatisfied with the thing's taste, spat it back out; except that sharks don't eat other sharks, and Nigel had in fact eaten shark for lunch; gobbling the poor thing down his throat as fast as he could, but saving the eyeball for last.
"What do you think, Mary?" asked Regina.
"What do I think? We would do better to give our attention to what God thinks." Mary said, clutching the cross that hung from her necklace, glossy but never polished.
"That is the ultimate judgement." she continued. "Maverick has sinned horribly, and I won't even dare mention those past ungodly and unnatural encounters of his. The boy has got two options: either he repents, or he shall burn in the eternal flames."
As the Richelieus contemplated the idea, they cut into their dead cows and swallowed their smashed grapes. The wine lingered in the decanters, which, lined with swan engravings on either of their sides, looked as though entire lakes had been trapped inside them. Then, finally, after a couple of minutes of the rattle of silverware reverberating through a dead silence, Regina, having already come to a conclusion, spoke:
"Shame. That is the one and only thing this man has brought us. What Maverick has done is to smear our shiny Richelieu blood and stain our long lineage, infecting our ancient family's tree. And what must we do when fungi infect our trees?" she asked.
"Cut the cankers out before they spread." said Nigel.
"Very good. So, there's no need for camouflaging now, we all know what must be done." she said, and, after just a quick second of silence, the orchestra of chinking glasses and clattering plates continued.
At least serpents don't swallow their own eggs.