Kumar grinned as he walked towards us. I felt like strangling him right then but I controlled myself to hear probably another one of his magnificent plans to make everything alright.
"I spoke to Jagjit and told him to go away. We won't be paying them anything now!", said Kumar.
"And you expect Nicks to still come and perform at our event?", asked Yetoo.
"Of course not! That's ridiculous! Why would he perform at an event where he doesn't get paid?", Kumar replied.
"And you still have a grin? Not really bothered that the main celebrity performer wont be coming, are you?", I inquired.
"Relax man. I've spoken to the audio guy, Mukesh. He's getting us DJ Rocky to play for us at less than half the rate that Nicks was charging", explained Kumar.
Now, as if it weren't bad enough that our main performer had canceled, some random DJ was going to play at an event where people would come expecting Nicks! And we weren't even sure if people would turn up impromptu for the event. By now, I was sure that tonight was the last night of my momentarily successful life, courtesy of Kumar.
"That's the best proposition ever Kumar! Why didn't we think of that before?", I retorted with a brief sarcasm in my voice.
"Either you are trying really hard to be blind to the fact that your event is a big flop or you are really that stupid and don't see anything clearly! Either way, I don't want any of us to be a part of your crazy plans anymore. I'm leaving! To hell with you and your event!", I said and started towards the door.
I looked back and saw Yetoo get up and pushing the girls towards the door too when I saw the reality dawn on Kumar. He kept sitting on the parapet but seemed to be sinking in his seat. Yetoo saw it too and came up to me.
"The damage has already been done man. No good in staying here anymore. I know it's terrible to leave him in this state all alone, but its for the best of everybody.", said Yetoo.
"I know man. But this asshole is our friend after all. And if this thing has flopped, its partly our fault too you know.", I said.
Yetoo knew what I meant and told the girls to go home and call once they reach home. He urged Dev to go along with them too but he wouldn't budge.
After the girls had left, we went back to the smoking room. Kumar was surrounded by three guys of whom I could only recognize Pankaj, the banquet manager.
Pankaj saw me and walked towards us to have a little chat.
"I shouldn't have trusted Kumar! I thought we both were from the same city so he would respect that and would keep the payments coming in on time, but I've been screwed! He hasn't paid anything other than a token booking amount for the banquet hall and now my senior manager wants the entire money before the show starts. And this Kumar tells me that he doesn't have even a single penny! What am I supposed to tell my boss?", demanded Pankaj.
I guess it wasn't just us who were having a bad day today. Obviously Kumar had told a bunch of lies to many people, promised them everything he could to get his work done. Pankaj was nothing but a scapegoat in this game which would change everybody's life in another couple of hours.
"Pankaj ji relax. We know things haven't worked out as everybody thought they would but you must let us try talking some sense to Kumar.", I replied.
"I've lost all faith in Kumar. Only you and Yetoo can save me and my job", said Pankaj.
Now you may think that this is a good sign that the banquet manager was looking at us with hope, but things really weren't as the seemed to be yet.
"Kumar", I said, "We need to talk. Now!"
Kumar got up and joined us at the end of the smoking room.
"Look it still isn't late. We can still survive this with minimum damage. Tell the audio and lighting guy to take back their stuff. We'll pay them for whatever transportation charges have occurred. Since they haven't unloaded the stuff from the truck, we can request them not to charge us for any services. As far as the banquet hall charges are concerned, let's go and talk to the senior manager. Pankaj is ready to back us up here and buy us some more time.", I urged Kumar.
"I don't know what to do man. Mukesh told me Rocky is on his way here and he has already started arranging the audio setup. Ditto with the light guy.", replied Kumar.
Yetoo and me looked at him with an expression which was a mix of disgust, anger, sympathy and fear. This was getting worse and worse by every passing minute.
To be continued...