Her field of vision is the pelican, naught but the pelican, the pelican.

Really, half of her is waiting for herself to get calm, but the other half is just staring at the dead pelican on the counter in front of her, cooked and broiled, just staring at the pelican and maybe all she wants is to fly away, but maybe she wishes she was the pelican.

Ow.

A bite, a fly, she spots it immediately and slaps it down. It crashes down onto the kitchen counter; lies there.

Why not, she asks, and she picks it up, crushes it up finely in her hand, and sprinkles it on the bird; it soaks into the meat, passes through the blood and stuffing and directly into the bone, encasing it, protecting it, part of its skeleton now more than anything else.

She washes her hands before she takes the bird to the dining room.

Soap, suds, each bubble explodes and tickles her skin.

She giggles.





Bite.

Chew.

Swallow.

“This! It’s fantastic!”

“Yes, I was about to say, my girl, kudos on the broccoli and the bird," Mr. Danvers adds. "Quite delicious.”

“I would have to agree."

“What did you do to it?”

“Oh, well,” she ducks her head, “an old family recipe. Basil.” She smiles carefully.

“Well, you must give me the recipe, young lady, very impressive work,” and Mrs. Gallaway nods triumphantly.

"Oh my god, the taste of her cooking could make me fall to the ground and kiss her feet."

“Mmm. Mmmmmm.”

"This is quality, my dear, and I don't say that often." Mrs. Gallaway rocks the table with her chuckle.

"Yes, the bird is just perfectly cooked, my girl!"

“Dear girl, you really have outdone yourself with this meal.”

“Ta ta!” Mrs. Jessup raises her glass. “To the food!”

The other two join in on the hurrah, glasses clink, hers sits untouched.

She is a corpse.

She must excuse herself now.

She must.

“Oh, where you are going, dear girl?”

She mutters something under her breath, and Mrs. Gallaway calls out after her, “Oh, I’d love some krill!”

She is a corpse. She is not a fisherman.

The door to the kitchen swing swing swings behind her.

She grabs a glass, water, drinks it all, fills it up, drinks it all. This is it. She clutches the counter. She holds still.

When she opens her eyes, her hand is next to the spot where the fly fell dead, and it is not there anymore, no, but in its place, a tiny drawing of a dead fly, and she smears it off, it was done in pencil, but it’s gone, the fly, the drawing of the fly.

More water.

She comes back into the dining room and sits at her place. Now, she is eating the broccoli. Now, she is taking the first sip of her wine.

They all look at her, dazed.

Mr. Danvers is loosening his tie.

Mrs. Jessup squeaks and holds the table. She grips her stomach. "What's-- what's..." and she collapses on the floor.

The other two have similar looks on their faces, dead looks, dying looks, and whether they are ill or afraid, or both, is unclear.

She holds it in for a second, but it’s too funny, and she giggles, then laughs; panic runs the room.

"Adjust your insides!” she exclaims.

“What? This-- this isn’t--” Mrs. Gallaway’s voice swallows itself, and she joins Mrs. Jessup on the floor.

She’s in an uproar now, her fists pound the table.

“That's all you gotta do! C'mon, ladies and gent! Adjust your insides!"

She laughs more, and it sounds like cackling but it isn't, she shakes the thought from her head, laughs more, jumping, clapping, laugh and jump and clap!

"Adjust your insides!" with her nose right up at Mrs. Jessup's, and giggles at her last breath.

"Adjust your insides!" with her cheek pressed up to Mr. Danver's, and giggles when his pulse stops.

"Adjust your insides!" with her sitting on Mrs. Gallaway's fat stomach, and giggles when she has her last spasm.

She dances around the three bodies, dances, prances, a joyous jig, for hours; but now, she is tired, and she is lying down among them, to rest, for there are dishes to be done in the morning, clothes to be washed in the afternoon, and another book club to be held in the evening.
top