Two Stories

Diane Williams

With this New Greasiness

One of them breaks the routine at the office usually – mouths off or is sullen, every once in a while.

The man said, ‘You know why I’m here, Jane.’

Jane grabbed at the man where some soft flesh is, with some force, perhaps because so many persons were no longer in her life – not Titus or Roddy, Mamie or Cecelia Bouché – whom she had checked in with and needed to double-check in with often, to help her to settle down.

But the man jumped away from her.

And, if she could have placed him on his back in order to slide one arm under his knees, to raise him to her knee, and then to roll him against her breast – she would have.

He is the power and light representative for the district and he asked her for a list of all of the electrical items sold in the last six months.

So she finished recording the data, except that she confused several of the names of the customers, entering their first names as last names and this is one of her busiest days.

Another man came in to give her confidential information. And she said to him among other shrill things: What do you mean? What do you mean? I can’t. Come on. God.

How does she fare at home?

Well, she prepared a variety cut for her supper, not a regular cut. It was a beef heart – the largest and least tender of these cuts. She sliced it very thin and then fried.

Later she squeezed the proper measure of hand cream into the palm of her hand and rubbed at her hands with her head bent low, because this is the way she does it, and with this new greasiness on her, she’s wringing her hands in grief or in greediness or in both.

*

So … may the words of her mouth and the meditations of her heart be acceptable. Come on, God! Oh Lord. And her grabbiness.

I’m Sure I Love and I Really

I took notice of the protrusion of my wife’s mouth that then drooped and of every buttoned-up button on her clothing – and at how she avoided assuming any uninteresting or stiff-looking pose.

With both of her arms overhead, she kept on rising on the toes of her feet and then tapping her heels to the floor.

‘We’re like this!’ she said, finally stopping her game. She flung her fists together and said, ‘Now, it’s time to go!’

So then we set off to see Nixie Wagstaff who is to my mind never quarrelsome and aggressive the way we are.

Nixie welcomed me, by putting the entire side of her head against my chest.

But tell me what kind of an indifferent animal was that? – too big to be a cat – turning its back on us? It was twisting itself atop a woven willow border fence.

But Nixie is a warm-hearted girl with a glossy, showy face and a chrysanthemum fragrance that’s a bit peppery.

She mentioned people’s names and nicknames alongside her many comments that began with – I’m sure, I love and I really, really like and I know.

I went alone into the house and into the dining room to get an all-embracing view of the landscape through the long windows. And on the lawn I saw the small sweet forms of the two women, flanked by a pair of hornbeams.

It was another one of those incidental, but unusually pretty scenes that might fulfil for an instant a deep need I have to be blissful.

Another such scene – a threesome in a glade – with a blossomy border – was faintly pictured on a plate that was stowed upright in a dish cupboard.

In another such scene, somebody behind me put an arm across my body at the level of my waist, petted the front of my shirt – and then the darling – and must I need to know which one? – softly laid her hand beneath my belt and let it rest there.

Get a grip. In some other similar scenes two men are fishing or there is a ruined castle gate with cows – a hamlet with a church tower – or a wide stretch of water with a figure walking dogs on the near bank, sheep! – a dock scene with ships, trees in blue, in brown, in purple or in shades of red. Grasses! Clouds! Once a donkey.

Or it’s a country house in green appearing to be entirely natural.