“Really Minnie, how can you complain about handprints on the windows
at Arby’s when you live in this pigsty?” queries Annette McQuilkin,
Clutter suffuses everywhere; no space is left unused. Paper of
flamboyant hues is stacked around the one room apartment like mini
towers of Pisa. A pile of black and white hangers sprawls out in the
corner. Bananas and oranges are scattered about on the stove,
television, and nightstand. An array of Barbies stand in a tight
Roman marching formation on the bookshelf—blondes in purple,
brunettes in pink, redheads in blue.
Minnie Talbuert tucks a strand of hair escaping from her chignon
back behind her ear. She is too preoccupied with sampling the basil
spaghetti sauce to offer a retort. Satisfied she drops the spoon back
into the pot.
“I would like to buy a bird,” she declares while dipping a large
helping of noodles.
“You say that every day; why don’t you do it?” Annette sharply
responds as she splatters sauce in frustration.
“Who would care for it while I am at conferences? I doubt they would
allow me to take it with me. I would have to clean its cage. I wonder
how birds smell; I really cannot stand animal smells. Finally, I
would get attached to it and then it would die.”
The phone rings, the business one with the shrill wail. Minnie
glides to answer, lifting the receiver in one smooth motion.
“Minnie Talbuert. . . .—Annette, please hand me the seventeenth
sheet from the top of the green stack.— Yes, that does seem like a
valuable proposal. . . . I say go with it. . . . If they have done
their research. . . . Do it. . . . All right, good-bye.”
“It took you three days to decide on that proposal. You’ve been
stressing over buying a bird for the last two months.” Annette sighs.