Ten More Minutes, Please
The Williams are coming home any day now. We’re going to have to face up to it and do something about the living room rug. Last night’s party may have finally finished it off. House-sitting for the neighbors is supposed to be a sacred trust, like knighthood or dog-walking. Keep the houseplants watered, the cat’s litter box emptied; don’t put the cordless phone in the microwave to try to call up the big bang or use the electric can opener to carve a map of the night sky into the dining room table. We’re going to have to burn the photo we took of ourselves two weeks ago—back when we were young in our Williams-hood and the future looked endless and paved with soft bricks of joy—smiling on the front lawn with The Williams written underneath in cursive. We have to cancel the magazine subscriptions and tell the church group not to send over that exchange student from Japan. We’ve got to go back to being our plain old, non-Williams selves.
What? What Is It You’re Trying To Tell Me?
She keeps bringing home those teeth, the ones that chatter when you wind them up. Their gums are bright red, like nobody’s gums in real life. I don’t know where she’s getting them from. This town used to be full of magic supply stores—every other window downtown had collapsible top hats, inflatable doves—but that was the old days. Yet there she is arriving home with shopping bag after shopping bag bursting with those chattering teeth. The living room’s the only place left in the house where you can sit down without fear of getting a nip. And even after all the discussions we’ve had, just last night she comes home with another two bags. She sat next to me on the sofa, wound one up and set it on her knee there between us. When she let it go, it started away chattering. Chat-a-chat-a-chat-a-chat-a. She looked up at me, smiling, with her eyes open, expectant.