The ballroom was a grand and elegant space, dominated by a pair of elevator cars that seemed to move freely as their gilded birdcage structure cleverly distracted the eye from their much more utilitarian components. Their landing back to back in the dead center of the room enhanced their sculptural contribution to the architecture.
Three stories up, they opened on to a catwalk landing that encircled their virtual shaft and spanned the space to a balcony that itself ringed the entire room, providing astonishing views of the crowd, and leading to various sitting rooms and other private spaces that could only be reached by this very public pathway. Adding to the spectacle, and to the scandalous delight of all, the catwalk was made of what appeared to be a thick sheet of glass with nearly invisible handrails.
The main entry delivered attendees at the top of an elegant stair down into the ballroom proper. Descending the stair they had a clear view of the dynamic of the crowd, and of those sneaking off to the elevators.
For the romantically inclined, the gilded elevator to the nearly invisible catwalk was a metaphoric trip to heaven.
For others, the whole thing was nothing but an elaborate cage that would hold them imprisoned for the amusement of society, then strip away any remaining dignity at the first opportunity.
Here’s a surreal scene. On stage, a birthday cake has all its candles lit, and is floating inside of a large birdcage, or possibly a birdcage elevator. It sways back and forth gently, subtly out of time with the music. The elevator is moving too, just not in time to the music. THe music selection is also a touch off, but it is hard to put my finger on why.
Also on stage is a fairy-tale prince, along with a large frog. They are circling a cartoon-like bomb with a long fuse that is lit and sparking.
The fuse burns. The cake hovers. The bomb explodes. The frog croaks.
The ghost manifested, if it was seen at all, at midnight and stayed no later than dawn. It was seen best by moonlight, with the pallid glow of the moon added to its appearance without drowning it. It did not seem to be a malignant spirit. But it was insistent that it be seen and heard. Being nearly invisible and nearly silent did not help with either condition.
Whatever its mission, it lingered in this world against the normal order of things. The longer it stayed, the higher the stakes became.
Until then, there was something humorous about using the light of a ghost to read by.