When I was eleven, and my sister was thirteen, we shared the attic bedroom that, in Civil War times, had been the maid's quarters. Before taking my bath every night I would tie my hair up with a red ribbon and fill the old claw foot tub with scalding water. On those cold nights I would read Kafka's The Trial
which I had stolen from my father's bookshelf. And later, wrapped in my robe, I would sit in the window seat sniffing that old empty bottle of Kahlua and watch the snow fall. A big… Continue
Added by Tessa Scoffs on December 23, 2009 at 9:03pm —
To be a boy is to be a god. Fly like a bird. Live on an island. Never grow up. I wasn't born a boy. But to die like one will be an awfully big adventure.
Added by Tessa Scoffs on November 22, 2009 at 12:23am —
The quiet and steely reserve of a man with a liar for a wife never ceases to amaze me. He does not smile at the hyperbolic stories. He casually pours himself neat whiskeys all evening, one right after the other, as if nothing is amiss. It’s just another dinner party with a few close, understanding friends. And when they’re all gone home, those friends, he looks at me with those sad brown eyes, puts his empty glass down on the spindly-legged antique mahogany side table, missing the crystal… Continue
Added by Tessa Scoffs on November 14, 2009 at 12:05pm —
"If you like how he looks, ask him to take you out dancing on a hot summer night. Make sure he gets good and drunk. Gin and tonics are best. If the sweat on his neck tastes sweet, claim him as your own." She said all this squinting through her cigarette smoke. It's so nice to have a mother you can talk to.
Added by Tessa Scoffs on October 28, 2009 at 2:00am —
After the eleven o'clock news the rest of the family would trundle off to bed. We sisters had gotten into the habit of staying up to watch old black and white movies with the sound off. We didn't care what was showing: Moll Flanders, Tanned Legs, or Airport '77. My silent solidarity. Every so often her hand would smooth over her rounded belly. A few more weeks and her childhood would be over.
Added by Tessa Scoffs on September 20, 2009 at 2:36pm —
He wrote out his checks for the last time, afixed the stamps and clipped them to his rusty wrought iron mailbox for pickup. He washed his bowl and spoon and took out the trash. He put one bullet into his handgun and sat on his bed to think. He peeked out his bedroom window at the family across the street. I picked that very moment to launch a shrill tirade at my husband. That must have done it for him: even with the windows wide open we didn't hear the shot.
Added by Tessa Scoffs on September 19, 2009 at 7:41pm —
I mince down the hotel hallway in shoes better left out of daylight.
In my hands I carry coffee, orance juice, a banana and a modest stack of napkins.
I stop in front of Room 1234 and feign reaching for my purse.
I catch the eye of the housekeeper and sheepishly motion with my shoulders - I can't quite reach my purse, can you help me? - I flash her a sisterly smile.
She hesitates, then briskly and swiftly unlocks Room 1234 with her passkey… Continue
Added by Tessa Scoffs on July 31, 2009 at 11:28am —
The electric chair is situated in the center of the windowless room, on a dais, like a throne. Next to the chair is a bucket of rusty water. You take your place in the chair and beckon to me; I crawl into your lap like a kitten. We don't bother with the leather straps or buckles and I tuck my feet underneath the bottom of my white cotton, lace-edged nightgown. I reach for the bucket, I douse us and wait for that hot volt to take me -- or send me -- I'm not sure which. "Throw the switch,… Continue
Added by Tessa Scoffs on July 15, 2009 at 12:30pm —
"He wants to bring her here for dinner -- after she killed our unborn grandchild?" I shriek at my husband. He flinches and turns away. "Fine," I say, calmly, "I'll just adjust the recipe - how about Thai noodles?" He sighs and shrugs. I reach for the peanut butter to get started on the sauce, remembering her severe allergy. Then I reach behind the kitchen counter and disconnect the phone.
Added by Tessa Scoffs on July 13, 2009 at 12:13am —