Jan. 29, 2007: secret and understudy (Beverly Rollwagon)

Hey kids!

Continuing in my role as the Prince of the Quotidian (spot the
reference), I present two short ones by Beverly Rollwagon. Again, I
know nothing about this writer; I cribbed these from "The Writer’s
Almanac." I wonder if that’s her real name, though.

A few people noted individually that they also loved last week’s
selection (the word "brilliant" was popular), but found it
"depressing" in addition to slightly humorous. Ah, but you forget that
melancholy is the baseline of my affective life, so I tend to notice
it without comment, the same way that I might simply notice that a
poem is literal, or conversational, or in English. Similar thing
happened when my book club read "Little Children"–I found it
hilarious and exhilirating, others disturbing and sad. Plug for both
novel and movie, by the way.

OK, enough. These two also have a slightly bitter edge–like the skin
of a sweet, juicy pear. -ed.

secret

She just wants to know your secret.
She won’t tell if you’ve had an affair,
or your face lifted, or when you last made
love. She won’t tell if you’re pilfering
from the office, or gambling when you’re
supposed to be at the hospital visiting
your mother, or what you would do
for money. Strangers tell her the most
unlikely things, and she never repeats
them. Once, a woman told her she
carried a gun. Silver with a mother-of
pearl inlay on the handle, a little jewel.
She opened her purse, and the gun
rested in its own velvet pocket, ready and
dangerous. Like every secret.

understudy

She just wants an understudy, a body
double for the days when she does
not feel like appearing in any of the roles
she has assumed and/or been assigned.
She places an ad in the paper. Wanted:
one wife, mother, daughter, neighbor,
friend. Live-in OK. Own car necessary.
No lines to memorize; everything ad-
libbed. No days off.

-2004

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