A Grand Ball was thrown for all the soups that are served in the cafeteria here at work.
All the soups came dressed in their finest formal wear. They arrived by limousine, by helicopter, by elegant boat-launches from yachts anchored in the city harbor belonging to the Crowned Heads of Europe. The Red Carpet was besieged by paparazzi and television hosts, who commented cattily on décolletage and hairstyles.
The soups entered the ballroom, where one by one they were announced to the throng by footmen in powdered wigs and exquisite livery. The assembled guests murmured reverently as the soups paraded around the dance-floor to the strains of a string quartet, showing off their expensive finery and twirling elegantly to catch the light just so.
"Italian Wedding Soup!" a footman intoned, to awed applause.
"Minnesota Wild Rice!" (More of it.)
"Tomato Bisque, with Basil and Parsley!" What poise, what grace!
"French Onion with Parmesan Crouton!" The string quartet breaks into "La Marseillaise" to wild approval.
But just then, the spell is shattered. Utterly. The footman can barely suppress a contemptuous curl of his lip as he casts his eye on the next name on the list:
"Chunky Beef Noodle!"
Silence. Complete, horrifying silence. Chunky Beef Noodle, dressed just as elegantly as the rest and bejeweled just as expensively, her corsage a stunning orchid garnished with carrot greens, casts her eyes downward, trying to hide her crimson cheeks, bedewed with tears of mortification. Bravely she steps forward into the throng of callous sophisticates. But it is not enough.
The crowd grows unruly, restive. First comes a titter. Then a guffaw. At last, the entire ballroom is doubled over in cruel horse-laughter at poor Chunky Beef Noodle. Utterly humiliated, she runs from the room, never to be seen again in Society.
The footman, attempting to restore order, cries out in a stentorian voice above the tumult, "Andalusian Gazpacho!"
And all is well again. The Grand Ball may continue.