I had been told not to get to Chez Marcel before 7.30 so I knew that Suz was up to something. Sure enough, when I walked in I saw that she had decorated the area around our table with signs, balloons, sparklers, candles and laminated photographs of me. It was the same photograph over and over again: Max at the 2002 US Marine Ball in
Jono – Momo and Nasser were surprised you weren’t there for my birthday; they missed you too.
There was another table celebrating a 40th birthday – about 30 limeys already completely off their heads. They sang “Happy Birthday” to their celebrant and to me several times and gave us some of their birthday cake, which we had as our first course.
In early excitement, rtm started a fire on our table, but we managed to put it out without too much damage. Many drinks were consumed, we had dinner and then my birthday cake; the boys made some very creative balloon animals, including a dog and a kangaroo. Finally a round of birthday drinks a la maison and Monkey asked for the bill so we could move on to U Zpěváčků, where Mike was expecting us.
We ran into Kerry on the way; she has the same birthday as me (but she is only 29), and we had had no idea that she was coming over from
“Happy Birthday, Max!”
Mike: “Did you see the signs outside?”
Max: “Um, no.”
I went back outside to look at the chalkboards, which read:
HAPPY 40TH MAX
SENIORS WELCOMED, SHUFFLE BOARD IN BACK, FREE PRUNES
Thanks, Mike, very special.
Birthday beers, vodka, slivovice and general exhausted hilarity until
Needless to say, I am working from home this morning.
Thanks again to everyone who helped me celebrate. And thank you for the birthday calls and messages from The America,