Writers with hidden cases of introversion crowded into the dining hall. The chit chat lingered in the air with smells of perfume, sweat, and crushed dreams. A typical general fiction writers conference.
We sat and ate. And then the keynote speaker curled over his half-emptied plate, struggling for breath. The president of the writers group stood, set a hand on his shoulder, and asked if it was okay to proceed with the Heimlich Maneuver.
Red and blue-faced Mr. Keynote managed to nod.
The president took up the embarrassing spoon position and, with a quick flick of both fists, saved the keynote’s life. Writers grabbed napkins from empty tables and in ten seconds, any mess that remained was cleaned, leaving only a vestige of embarrassment and a round of applause for a new hero.
Any emergency that took place in the dining hall was covered by an expert somewhere in the crowd.