Good evening from across the street from Mingle’s and Friendship Square in the Moscow towers that are A Word with you Press!
“In the beggar’s tin/a few thin copper coins/and this evening rain” – Issa
Beverly Lucey joins us once again.
Do recall that everyone is entitled to enter this contest three times, and each entry increases your chance of
1) winning five Franklins
2) impressing someone of your favorite or preferred gender
3) escorting someone of your favorite or preferred gender any place that five Franklins will take you.
Beverly’s story has a nice ring to it.
Here is Beverly’s second entry into our contest:
The Chosen Shulamite
by Beverly Lucey
Issa had many reasons to break off her engagement to Neal, but had been postponing telling anyone about it. After all, plans had been made. Caterers hired. She’d learned to smile whenever anyone in her family waxed on about ‘what a catch’ that boy was, and ‘no one ever thought she could land’ such a boy, and ‘it was so much fun to see the look on Pearl, Ida, and Esther’s faces when her mother got to tell them separately, tasting each announcement like a smidgeon of cake. That’s what her mother said it felt like, and who was Issa to take away such pleasure from someone. A mother, after all. It was too late.
Her father had been silent on the matter. He nodded when Issa first told him, but said nothing except, “It says here that Bell Telephone is a good stock to buy. I would buy that stock if I had any money.”
For weeks now, since Neal proposed, he had changed. Or perhaps Issa saw him through a different lens. His confidence felt like arrogance, and her opinions didn’t matter anymore. “After we get married we’ll have to…” Neal would say expecting no protests about where they would live. What kind of place they’d be looking for. What in her closet she should now throw away. Perfectly good clothes. Last week he told her the blue one with short sleeves made her look dumpy. “After we get married I’ll go shopping with you. I know what looks good.”
Wasn’t it only last month they’d had a rip roaring discussion about the bandits in the government, whether unions were a good or bad thing, and if television would ruin reading for the youngsters. Issa loved to argue. The good kind, when everyone yelled and no one got angry. Ideas would rise, float, hang around, and then everyone would go home. “No child of mine will be watching television,” he said. Issa was quite sure these would be children they would share. But now she thought, perhaps not. Perhaps it was not too late.
On this night, they were walking off dinner again at Vitor’s–a place she disliked. “Don’t be silly. They have a huge menu. You’ll find something you like. People try to get tables here but they cannot unless they come very early or very late. You notice we can always get a table? That is the taste of the good life, my dear Issa. You will learn to love it. Only in your neighborhood do people eat gray meat.”
Mist started to come down, looking like puffs of smoke as it drifted past the lamplights. Issa did not like to walk in this direction because almost every time they had to pass a man fallen on hard times. He had one leg. Half of his face was burned. This man would sit in a chair, in front of one of the triple deckers. He wore a sign around his neck that read, “I want to work.” In his hand, he held a crockery cup that he would shake as people passed. It sounded like the rattle of a couple of nickels.
“Ugh,” Neal said. “I keep forgetting until we turn the corner. Someone should stop him from clogging the cement where people walk.”
“He is not clogging. He is sitting. Tucked in next to the stoop.”
“Really, my love. You must stop contradicting everything I say. It is a very bad habit. We will have to work on that after we…”
“What do you think happened to him?”
“I don’t think anything happened to his leg. I think it’s a trick. Some special kind of chair. And his face? Probably he fell asleep when he was drunk one night. So, you see? It’s his own fault. Yet, people–silly, naive people–drop coins in his cup. He probably makes more doing this than taking a real job. Those kind of people always have money.”
She thought to herself, “I swear. It’s not too late.”
Neal was looking away, across the street toward a bakery that was still open, but he made sure his words were loud and uttered exactly when they passed the man.
As a result, he did not see Issa remove her ring, and drop it into the cup.
“What was that? Issa, did you give that fraud money? Tell me you didn’t.”
“ I didn’t.” But she was smiling as she removed her arm from his. “It was nothing.”