it now," Dink shouts from the roof where he's just finished
installing a dish swaddled in a
flannel pillow case, of all things. Betty Lewis's flannel pillowcase,
to be exact. "To protect it," Dink had said, by way of
explanation, when he'd come through the door last last night bearing his apology.
shoves Frodo from her chair, the
Victorian parlor chair with red velvet upholstery that she scored
curbside fourteen years ago. She sits in the space vacated by Frodo and notes that it's warm. "Well, at least you're good for
something," she tells the dog, who circles around three times
before curling up in a tight ball at her feet. Spring is here, but
every so often, it decides, like her husband Dink, to skip town for a
few days before settling in for good.
picks up the remote and aims it at the flat screen television, the second part of Dink's apology, now hanging on the wall like a massive trophy.
Dink comes into the room, wiping his hands on the back of the Levi's
Doreen had found at the thrift store for three dollars a pair.
your horses," she says, jabbing a button, shoving the remote
towards the television, as if to give it a boost. She leans forward
in her chair as the screen comes to life.
fills the cabin: Lights and sounds and colors, the likes of which she
had never before seen.
there!" Doreen points. A man from Ohio is announcing his
candidacy for Congress, his wife and children arranged neatly behind
him. "His face is full a' wrinkles." She frowns. "I
ought to send him a jar of my wrinkle cream."
snorts and half-perches on the chewed-up armrest of Doreen's chair.
years, Doreen has refused to disclose the secret recipe for the
wrinkle cream she sells for fifty cents a jar. The only information
she's ever shared, which seems rather self-evident, is that it
involves copious amounts of horseradish.
be told, Doreen's wrinkle cream isn't made for curing wrinkles: Dink
can't stand the smell of horseradish. He goes so far as to claim to
be allergic. Doreen sells only to the women in whom she suspects Dink
may have some future interest. Old Macy Jones who still, at
ninety-five, walks two miles a day? Not a threat.
week, after climbing the mountain to reach the cabin; after being
shown to Doreen's Victorian parlor chair; after sitting and breathing
heavily and drinking two glasses of iced tea, Macy Jones headed down
the mountain with a small jar of repackaged Oil of Olay and the
instructions to apply as often as she could stand it, those
directions, of course, being the directions that accompany the real
wrinkles'll disappear in two shakes of a lamb's tail," Doreen
had promised Macy.
man's jest saying the same thing over and over again," Dink says
points the remote at the television and changes the station. She
enjoys this feeling of so much power contained in a small rectangular
box. "Oh my Lord," she says. "I heard about this in
gal's purse. Crocodile skin. Twenty-four thousand dollars. Hell's
bells, what will they think of next."
ain't croc. It's alligator."
do you know?" Doreen turns to glare at her husband.
man on the television just said." Dink points.
shrugs. "Same thing. All alligators are crocodiles."
laughs. "That's like saying all squares are rectangles." He
shakes his head. "Why would they put two labels on one thing?"
yourself," Doreen says. "I'm trying to watch this."
me a chair from the kitchen."
returns in a moment, two cans of Coke tucked beneath his arm, a
folding chair in his left hand. He hands Doreen a can and sets up his
chair. He sits beside her, opens his drink and takes her hand.
smiles and changes the channel.
Dink has finally settled in for good.
spots the flannel pillowcase on the floor. She makes a mental note to
cancel shipment of Betty's order for wrinkle cream and send instead the recipe for moonshine she's been after for years.
This was written for this week's Studio 30+ prompt. The word was crocodile.
Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+
Labels: Studio 30+; fiction