Short Fiction for Guests of the WordFeeder
Friday, September 12, 2008
Printable version… Dialogue PDF

“God, I love Sunday mornings. …Richard?”


“Could you at least not read the paper until we get there? You can’t walk and unfold the paper at the same time. You’re just smooshing it all up. You know I like it crisp, the way it was when we bought it.”

“Fine, fine. I’ll wait.”

“Com’on. What’s not to enjoy? …Watch it, that guy’s turning. Let’s wait for the light.”

“I’m waiting.”

“Waiting for what?”

“For the light. You just asked me to wait for the light, didn’t you?”

“Could you get back on the curb?”

“But I like the idea of being married to a taller woman. ..Com’on. We have 24 seconds to cross the street.”

“It’s perfect. We sleep late, slop on some clothes, pick up the paper, and take as much time as we want reading it cover to cover over some fresh coffee and a toasted bagel with extra-saturated fat, mmmm, mmm declicious walnut cream cheese. …Life is good.”


“Richard, you promised.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll put it away, but you’re getting breakfast.”

“Deal. Now hold my hand and pretend like we actually enjoy hanging out together. It’s the one day we both have off. …There, isn’t that better?”

“You just want to remind your friends that we’re the only marriage they know that isn’t on the rocks, and that’s just because, in four years, we’ve only spent one day a week together. What’s that, 108 days, roughly three months? No wonder we’re still happy.”

“208 days. Four times 52 is 208. Seven months.”

“Whatever. Technically, we’re still newlyweds. At this rate our marriage could last forever.”

“But we have great sex, don’t we?”

“Confirming my theory that it’s best if only one of us is awake at a time. …I need to write a paper on that.”

“Hey, any time you want to move to the suburbs, we can both stop working 12 hour days.”

“What, and not eat out every meal?”

“We could save some money. That would be… Brenda!”

“Jesus, stop waiving. She’ll want to join us.”

“Try smiling. She’s got a morning session with her trainer, and please don’t say anything. I already know what you’re thinking.”

“I am trying to smile. This is the best I can do.”

“Alright, kill the smile. You’re beginning to scare people.”

“There, the table on the end. The one by the ficus with the squirrel pooping in the pot.”

“How do you know it’s a ficus?”

“I don’t. It’s the only potted tree name I know. Besides, I like the way it sounds. ‘Ficus.’ If we ever have children, I want to name it ‘Ficus.’”

“It? …Would you mind if we took this chair? …Thanks.”

“Boy. Girl. Who cares? Ficus is one of those names, like ‘Dana,” that works either way. .Have you got money?”

“I do. It’s in my sock. …Don’t ask.”

“I won’t.”

“I’m too young for a fanny pack.”

“Did you notice, I didn’t ask. Just make sure my croissant is perfect. And make sure, actually tell him not to slice it. I like tearing my croissants apart.”

“I’m going.”

“I mean it! Don’t take it if he.. slices it. She can’t hear me. I’m just talking to myself.”

“Hey, Richard.”

“Oh, hey, Brenda. You don’t mind if I don’t get up, do you? Lisa insisted that we walk, and I’m exhausted.”

“Richard, you only live 8 minutes from here.”

“Well, it seemed like 10. Besides, if I stop reading, I’ll forget where I was and have to start over again.”

“Aren’t those the comics?”

“This one has more words than usual.”

“Your chair’s wobbling.”

“True, but it’s wobbling less than the other chairs. …Lisa’s inside getting food.”

“No, I’m right here. There was no one in line. Serge actually seemed glad to see me. Hi, honey.”

“I thought I was ‘honey’.”

“No, you’re ‘sweet cheeks’. I’ll make you name tag when I get back. Brenda and I need to chat for a second. I’ll be right back.”

“You really think my cheeks are sweet?”

“ Read the paper.”

“I thought we were going to read the.. paper together. Apparently not.”

“You were right.”

“That was quick. Right about what?”

“About Jeffrey. Hand me the ‘Arts & Leisure’ section.”

“Who’s ‘Jeffrey’? Here.”

“Her trainer. I think he’s 12, but Brenda says he has the maturity of a 15 year old. …Oh my God! I can’t believe you dog eared one of the pages. Have you learned nothing living with me??”

“Just read the review of Bob’s play. You can thank me later.”

“Richard, there’s a pigeon on the table.”

“None of my friends are pigeons. It must be one of yours.”

“Do I have poppy seeds in my teeth?’


“Richard, put the paper down and tell me if I have poppy seeds in my teeth.”

“No, but your teeth seem unusually large today.”

“By the way, I meant to tell you…”

“Tell me what?”

“Hey, will you try not to dip the corner of the paper in my cream cheese the next time you turn the page. It has the perfect number of walnuts.”

“That’s what you wanted to tell me?”

“No. …I’m expecting.”


“I said, ‘I’m expecting…”

“Expecting what?”

“…a ficus.”

“We’ll put it on the balcony. It’ll be fine. …Did you take the financial section?”





“We don’t have a balcony.”


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