The Inaugural Cobalt Club Wedding Reception

“A wedding reception at The Cobalt Club?”

“Yes,” Millicent said firmly.  “Is there a problem with that?”  She was giving me the glare she hadn’t used on anyone since Mandy Shunnarah attempted to enter the premises while wearing roller skates.

“No,” I replied, “there’s not a problem with it.  It’s just that we’ve never hosted one before.”

“But is that any reason why we should not, sir?” Currie asked.

Birmingham artists and soon-to-be-newlyweds Sarah Miller and Allan Woodall met during the filming of the 2012 short film We Never Talk Anymore.

“And it is Ms. Miller and Mr. Woodall, sir,” Emsworth reminded me.

I had been reading in the library when the three of them surrounded me in the hard-boiled egg chair.  Sometimes it feels like I work for them instead of the other way around.

“Emsworth, you know I won’t say ‘no’ to Sarah and Allan,” I told him.  “They’re regulars, they’re among the club’s most loyal supporters, and Sarah was even on staff here for a while.  She even designed our current logo.  Of course we will host a reception for them.  It’s just that…”

“Just that what?” Millicent asked.  Her voice was still sharp.

“We will just need to be properly prepared, that’s all.”

“In what way, sir?” Currie asked.

“Well, it’s a wedding reception.  Beverages will be served.”

A portion of Allan and Sarah's wedding shower actually took place in a shower.

“Indeed, sir,” Emsworth agreed.

“You know Sarah’s propensity for spilling things.  Baxter is still mad at me for recommending he hire her to serve drinks in the lounge.  At her own wedding reception, we’re likely to need to more raincoats and umbrellas than the audience at a Gallagher show.”

“I would suggest that you’re overstating things a bit, sir,” Currie said with a discreet cough.

“And then there’s Allan.  One never knows when or where inspiration might strike him and he’ll begin working on one of his Spatter Beast creations.  They’re incredibly imaginative, but you know that the artistic process is not always fastidious.”

Emsworth cleared his throat.  “I am quite confident, sir, that we shall be up to the task of promptly and thoroughly absterging the establishment after any spillage by Ms. Miller, as well as any drips or splashes resulting from impromptu art on the part of Mr. Woodall.”

“Then, by all means,” I said, “let’s host their wedding reception.”

Millicent nodded.  “Good.  Because the Mean People Art Collective is downstairs planning it right now.”

The Mean People Art Collective: (clockwise from top) Wade Smith, the super-villain Dr. Doom and Lex Luthor hope to be when they grow up; the musical Carrie Hill, who once painted a $2 million portrait; the irrepressibly cheerful Mandy Shunnarah; Allan, Sarah, and the smart and savvy Billie Dupree. That's me in the middle being eaten by the alligator.

There was no point in even feigning surprise.  “Then I shall go down and join them.”

In the dining room I found Wade Smith, Carrie Hill, Mandy, and Billie Dupree huddled around a table, engrossed in conversation.  “Hey,” Billie called to me, “it’s about time you got here.”

“Yeah,” Mandy said.  “Did you hear?  The club is hosting Sarah and Allan’s surprise wedding reception.”

“I heard,” I said, taking the empty chair beside Wade.  “Except for the part about the surprise.  If they don’t know about it, how will they get here?”

“They think we’ve already made arrangements to have the reception at another venue,” Carrie explained.  “The guests will all know to come here, and then I’ll drive Sarah and Allan here in the pedicab.”

“Getting back to the food,” Billie said.  “We’ll need plenty of okra.”

“And fried pickles,” Mandy suggested.

“How about a pasta bar?” Wade asked.

“Coordinate it with Chef Guy,” I said.  “He’ll make it happen.”

Even without an ostrich to chase Wade around in case of a lull in the festivities, this should be a reception no one is likely to forget any time soon.

Happy wedding to the Magic City’s most artistic couple.

Allan and Sarah when they were named Birmingham's pizza royalty by Slice Pizza & Brew. Drawing by Allan.


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