….yes, it was that particular New Year’s, after the disastrous Presidential election which scandalized the country, that people decided to drown their sorrows in wild parties before the dreaded inauguration day! Roderick Fenbrathy of the Fenbrathy-Central Railroad fortune, threw a major three-day festival which would culmintate in the New Year of 1893. Interestingly, his guests were so desperate to find cheer in everything, they didn’t notice anything amiss….
From left in the front row; Mr. Christopher Wagston (known as Miss Big-Tina to his Gaiety Theatre & Novelty Arts audiences. They adored him!); his agent, Charlie “Goodtimes” Epstein, who later died under the wheels of a bicycle-built-for-twenty ridden by his clients, the Rolling Rambollis during a matinee; Madame Freela Giabetti, mezzo-soprano at the Metroplitan Opera whose most famous role was in Wagner’s “Die Gasgefüllte Nonne Und Ihre Verzauberten Dudelsäcke”. (Her career ended suddenly in a fiery zeppelin explosion…onstage! Sadly, the entire orchestra and half of the front three rows were also killed, but the folks in the mezzanine said they had a wonderful time!); Mrs. Pamela Bumbleberry, Madame Giabetti’s “lady-companion”(…for thirty-two years!); Mr. Hector Reiflander of the Reiflander Fine-Furs Salons and who specialized in exotic pelts for “full-figured ladies”; Gladys Reiflander, his lovely wife, who had been raised in the Arctic Circle and was completely impervious to sub-zero temperatures except for her hands (so she always wore gloves, but her real reason was that she had six fingers on each hand, two of which were thumbs!); Gladys’ mother, Phyllis (– same story! Never cold/six fingers, etc.); and lastly, Mr. Carlton Sourberry of the Sourberry Funeral Home fortune, immortalized in literature by Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jack & Jill Magazine.
Interestingly, just a few hours after this photo was taken, it was discovered that Hector Reiflander had actually been killed and torn to pieces by a polar bear at the office earlier in the day. As the picture was being set up with all the guests, Gladys DID notice that “Hector’s” stomach was growling loudly and that his breath smelled strongly of fish, seal blubber, and tweed. She whispered to “him” about it. He merely snorted.
During the cocktail party after the shoot, the bear apparently took offence at Pamela Bumbleberry’s ermine stole and attacked her. Among the dead were Pamela (eaten), Gladys (eaten), Phyllis (half-eaten), and various guests and wait-staff (seen here in the back rows… variously eaten or just nibbled). Mr. Sourberry made yet another fortune off all the funeral arrangements and catering for the wakes. The polar bear escaped and later founded the Klondike Ice Cream Bar Company. He was never prosecuted.
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