So, that evening, after dinner, with a fresh pot of coffee on the table, we were ready. Vicki and Pat were there, and they were clearly in "off-duty" mode, since they were holding hands, and Vicki had removed Pat's ever-present baseball cap and hung it on a hook near the door.
Doc, Ray, and I were there as well. Ray and I had pads and pens in front of us, for taking notes (Doc had declined, saying, "Oh, just entertain me"). I also had the most recent handwritten copy of the speech itself. Jan was going to deliver it from memory, and I was to mark every place where she deviated from the text.
Fifteen and Christy were there also. They were obviously off-duty as well, but they were both sitting quite properly. They were seldom demonstrative in public anyway, and Christy in particular was looking very serious, as if it was some sort of honor to have been invited to this.
Jan sat at the head of the table. By the way, this was one of the things that Stu had specified in his negotiations with the college, that she would have a table and a chair, rather than the usual podium and lectern, because of her bad leg. Someone from the student government, apparently unfamiliar with my employer, had asked if we needed a table with a modesty skirt. Stu had made it clear that she would definitely be wearing trousers.
It was also made clear to us in the negotiations that smoking was not allowed in the auditorium. My employer said this was fine, but, as she told me later, "Even if I start to smoke in the middle of the speech, I think it's fairly unlikely that guards will rush the stage, overpower me, and throw me out of the building. Especially if it's going well."
I had to admit that she was probably right.
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