The Funeral Party
Adolescence is a process few would care to repeat: a time in which we must define ourselves, a road we must travel alone.
Only her father had cried at the funeral. The rest of the family wore straight, sad faces, but displayed no other signs of grief. This had puzzled Anne, but she, too, had shed no tears. Now surrounded by cool, dark closet air, dank with the scent of cloves and oranges, it seemed clear. Granny wasn't really gone. She was still alive in her family, in her things.
Anne stroked the flowered house coat that hung on a nail in the back of the closet. It smelled of Granny: soap, powder, and milk of magnesia. She petted Granny's prized fur coat and pressed her face deep into its chilly pile, like she would when Granny hugged her. She half expected to hear Granny's raspy voice saying, "Don't do that, the oil from your face hurts the guard hairs."
Anne left her cheek in the soft fur and fingered the cashmere coat hanging next to it. It had been Big Joe's. Its secret inner pocket held a sterling flask that Granny had never known about, or at least that's what Granny had said when Anne had found it on one of her sleep-overs.
Laughter filtered through the back wall of the closet. Anne strained to hear what was being said.
"Oh, Bridget could be a pill."
"Remember the time she sued old man Jensen because she thought his dogs dug up her rose bush? And it turned out to be Big Joe playing a drunken trick on her?"
Anne pulled her arms tight around her. These people, many of whom Anne had never seen before, didn't know anything about her family, about Granny.
"She wasn't one for change. I remember her saying Vatican II would damn us all to hell."
Anne stepped out and forced the closet door back over the thick carpeting until it shut tight, blocking the voices. She didn't understand why these outsiders had to be invited to the funeral party. She leaned against the closet door and looked out the frost-trimmed windows at the sunlight playing on Granny's snow-covered yard. Two weeks before, when the heavy snow had first fallen, Granny had pressed her face on the same cold glass, forming a halo of mist. "Fresh snow makes me wish I was on the farm again," she'd said. "My brother and I would rush into the fresh powder and make dozens of snow angels. We'd decorate their heads with twigs and rocks and give them names, then spend the afternoon defending our armies of angels with snowballs."
Now the wind had mounded the snow into sharp frozen tufts, like smooth crust-covered meringue.
Anne turned as her skinny cousin Linda slipped through the door, balanced on one leg, and pushed with the other against the heavy door Granny'd had installed to keep out Big Joe's snoring. When she turned, Anne saw she held a big green tumbler full to the top with wine. Linda pushed the glass toward Anne. Anne hesitated; Linda rolled her eyes. "It'll make you feel better, I promise."
"What if someone comes in?" Anne pushed a mound of coats away from the edge of the bed and slid down, her back pressing against Granny's bright green dust ruffle, pulling her legs up near her chest so she'd fit in between the twin beds.
"Don't be such a dumbshit. If someone comes in, we'll just hide it under the bed." Linda took a gulp. "Besides, they're all bombed anyway." She wrinkled her nose, took another drink, then held out the tumbler. Linda always picked up on things that presented opportunity. Granny said she was a lot like her mother that way. Anne couldn't imagine Aunt Ellie being that sneaky, but she always did have a bit of the devil in her -- Anne's father's words.
Anne sniffed the wine like she'd seen her Dad do at dinner parties, and took a small sip. "God, it tastes like sour cough syrup!" She wiped her mouth with the edge of her sleeve and then remembered it was velvet. "Shoot!" She waved her arm in the air trying to dry the droplets while she took another big gulp. Her face flushed a peachy color.
"It's that plum stuff our Dads made. Give me some more."
A voice came close to the door. "I'm so glad you're here, dear. Don't let me forget to give you the things Granny had put away for you. We don't get to see you that often." The doorknob rattled with the weight of a hand being placed upon it. Anne looked at Linda and quickly hid the tumbler under the bed.
Party noises rushed the room as the door opened. "I just want to change out of this uniform, Aunt Ellie. I'll be right out." Maryjane, the girls's second cousin, shut the door, paused a moment, and then picked up the silver-framed, black and white wedding picture of Granny and Big Joe that sat on the vanity.
"Oh, hi," she said when she saw the girls reflected in the mirror. "What are you guys doing hiding in here anyway?" She opened Granny's jewelry box and held a pair of pearl earrings to her ears. "I wonder if Aunt Ellie will give me these?"
Anne squeezed her knees close to her chest. If Granny knew anyone was digging through her personal things, she would have thrown a fit. She believed in privacy.
Maryjane tossed the earrings back in the velvet-lined box without bothering to hook them together. "So what are you guys doing anyway?"
"Just talking. I hate these things." Linda jumped up, pulling at her thick black tights. "When did you get here, Maryjane? Mom said you weren't coming."
"Seniors got excused early. God! I would have been here for the funeral except I had tests." She half-smiled her lip at Linda, then tossed a plastic shopping bag on the bed.
"Yeah, right," Anne said under her breath, crossing her legs, Indian fashion, even though ladies aren't supposed to sit like that.
"Guard the door, will you?" Maryjane asked Linda.
Linda raised her eyebrows and leaned against the door while Maryjane unbuttoned her uniform blouse. Maryjane undressed like it was nothing, like she was nearly naked in front of people all the time. Anne and Linda were best friends, but even they turned away from each other when they changed. Maryjane wore a sheer, glossy, lace-trimmed bra with a little blue flower in the center. Her thin bikini underwear matched.
Maryjane lifted her arm, sniffing it. "Ugh... I stink of smoke. Do you know where Auntie keeps her pit perfume?"
Linda shrugged. Anne concentrated on picking little balls of fuzz from the cream-colored carpet.
"Oh, well." Maryjane tilted her head to the side and studied her mostly naked body in the mirror. "Did I tell you I might be going to France?"
"No." Anne grew more uncomfortable watching her, and crossed her arms over her chest. Her Mom had been telling her for a while that she needed a bra, but she'd put her off. She didn't want one until Linda got one. She looked at Linda and decided it might be a long wait.
"What was the funeral like?" Maryjane opened her bag and slipped a white ruffled blouse over her head. "Sad? Everybody carrying on?"
"It was okay," Linda said. "Pretty much like Big Joe's, only more old people." Linda popped two pieces of Trident into her mouth and spoke around them. "Mom said Granny would have liked it -- lots of expensive flowers and ceremony. You know."
Maryjane pulled an opened pack of Kools and a makeup bag from her purse. The two cousins watched as she reapplied gobs of pink blush and mascara. Neither Linda nor Anne were allowed to wear makeup yet. "Who all was there? Was Jack?"
"The policeman? Yeah." As Linda began to list names, Anne thought about the limousine ride to the church. Her two younger brothers had hardly talked of anything else for two days before the funeral. Even though she was shocked by Granny's sudden death, she rather liked the thought of all her schoolmates on the playground staring with admiration and sympathy at her family filing out of the long black car into the church.
But Anne had to ride in her parent's rented car, alone in front with the driver, while her brothers rode with Linda and the other cousins in the limo. They'd made faces at her through the back windows.
In the back, her mother and father had talked in low voices. "We never had a chance to talk about how things were. About Dad and his drinking." Anne had tried not to listen as her father wiped his swollen eyes. Her mother squeezed his hand and stared out at the cold Minneapolis day. An acidy feeling crept up Anne's throat.
"We all got to throw flowers on her coffin," Linda continued. "It was freezing, though -- Michael had frozen snot all over his face!" She laughed and stepped away from the door, walking between the twin beds. "And then Molly punched him."
A clink, a muffled thump, and the sickly-sweet plum smell made Anne's heart pound.
"Shit." Linda scowled at Anne, lifted the bed skirt, and turned the green tumbler upright. "God, go get a rag."
"You knocked it over! Why don't you...."
"Damn it, you're such a baby. Good thing Granny's not here." She pushed Anne out of the way and stomped out of the room, leaving the door open. The red liquid crept across the carpet, turning it a dusty pink.
"What are you guys hiding?" Maryjane asked.
"Oh, Linda just kicked over her pop." Anne tried to cover the spill with her hands, hoping the sour smell wouldn't carry. Linda rushed back in with an sopping dish rag. Anne reached for it, but Linda knocked her arm away and began blotting the spill.
Maryjane stood over the girls, hands resting on her hips. "That's not pop." She walked back to the vanity and examined her face close-up, wiping away a black smudge under her eye. "You don't have to sneak around, you know. I can get you guys some wine."
Linda's foot pawed the floor. "Yeah, right. They're hardly going to give you any wine, so how are you going to get some for us?"
Maryjane threw her head towards her knees and brushed her hair. When she stood up and shook her hair out, Anne noticed how much she and Maryjane looked alike: brown wavy hair, round cheeks, almond-shaped eyes. Even her body resembled Maryjane's -- not as full, but not far from it either.
"So you each want your own glass?" Maryjane half-smiled and teased her bangs a little before she walked out the door.
As soon as the door shut Linda said, "Can you believe her? She thinks she's so cool just because she's a senior." She threw down the bed skirt, tossed the wine-soaked rag into Granny's hamper, and jumped, backwards onto the bed. A few coats fell to the floor.
Anne picked them up. "Did you see how big her boobs were?"
"They were pretty hard to miss. She thinks she's such hot shit. Do you think anybody'd care if I took that thing?" She pointed to a small satin ball covered with ribbon, beads and sequins hanging from the ceiling light. "Me and Granny made that thing. Do you think anybody would care?"
Anne shrugged. "What do you think they'll do with all her stuff?" Anne picked up Granny's silver-handled brush and pulled out a few short gray hairs.
"Sell it, I guess. Divide the money, give it to the church or leave it with you guys and the house. Who knows?" She shut her eyes and pulled a scarf over her face.
Anne stared into the mirror. If Linda had heard that Anne's family was moving into Granny's house, it must be true. Three nights before, when she had heard her mother and father bickering late at night over how cramped the five of them were in their two bedroom house, she'd imagined she'd been dreaming. Anne wanted Granny's house to remain unchanged, with its tended gardens and the ceramics workshop in the basement. Her mother and brother's sloppy habits would make that impossible.
"I bet Mom hits the roof when Maryjane asks her for wine," Linda said, pulling the scarf from her face.
Anne held up her fingers and crossed them, her feelings suddenly soothed, perhaps by Linda's seeming acceptance of the house situation, but more likely by the wine. She brushed her bangs, trying to brush away a wash of guilt. She had promised Granny she'd never drink.
Maryjane came back into the room, pushing the door open with her butt. "Aunt Ellie said you could each have one." She handed the girls each a clear, long-stemmed wineglass. "I told you guys there wouldn't be a problem. Nobody gives a shit what you do." She raised her eyebrows, flashing herself a smile in the mirror. "I'm going to see if there's anyone interesting here."
Cigarette smoke accosted Anne as she stepped into the dining room. Granny had never allowed smoking in the house. Even Big Joe had puffed his fat, pungent cigars on the wooden back porch. Anne gulped her wine, but set her glass down when she saw her father sitting on the piano bench talking with a dark-haired, bronzed man.
"Anne!" Her father held his arm out. Anne flipped her hair over her shoulder and tried to look casual as she walked toward him.
The dark-haired man pulled at his white fitted shirt and smoothed his gray tie. "Last time I saw her she was just a kid. She's grown into a fine young lady."
"You remember my cousin Jack, the cop, don't you?" Her Dad winked and put his arm around Anne's shoulder. She was surprised. He hardly ever touched her.
"Sure," Anne lied. Her Dad's cousins weren't around much, except for stuff like this, when they had to come. There had been a falling out, a divorce, money problems. Anne had heard that Jack's mother used to be black and blue all the time, and she remembered when she was about five Granny and Big Joe had taken Jack and his sisters in for several months. Jack was cute, though, in an older person's sort of way. He had nice eyes and smelled musky -- different from her father's Irish Spring soap. Anne saw Linda walk over and stand behind Jack, still holding her wine.
"So what grade are you in now?" Jack set his beer on Granny's handmade rag rug, took a pack of cigarettes from his top pocket and flipped one in his mouth like he was in a cigarette commercial.
"She's in the sixth grade," her Dad smiled, squeezing her shoulder again, his head bobbing slightly when he talked.
"No I'm not, I'm in seventh. God."
Linda snickered and snuck away while she still had the chance. Anne slipped her Dad's arm off her shoulder and looked toward her mother nestled, grinning, in between Ellie and a bunch of smiling women. Ellie laughed with them but held her body straight and stiff, and carried the glass in her hand to her mouth with sharp movements. She swayed a little when she reached out, encircling Linda's waist with her deceptively strong, thin arm, which greatly resembled Granny's. Suddenly Anne wanted to talk to her aunt.
"Excuse me, I'm--"
Her father grabbed her sleeve. "Anne, how would you like to get me another glass of wine?" He held out his empty glass, and said to Jack, "Mom would have liked it that we're drinking the plum wine. It was her favorite."
Anne shrugged. Granny hardly ever drank, only on special occasions, and then only one glass of wine. Jack winked at her, nodded and stood. His aroma glided over her. Anne felt her face flush like it had with her first drink.
In the kitchen, two overweight women Anne didn't know were filling Granny's good dishes with food. "Well, if she's wherever Joe's gone, let's hope they're getting along now," one said, pushing a piece of ham into her mouth. "Remember that horrible fight they had in Gorley's market over the price of a roast? Joe screaming because she didn't know the value of a dollar, and her yelling back about him drinking up all his money? And in front of the kids!"
The other woman shook her head. "I always knew it was a mistake for her to move into the other bedroom. Just doesn't seem natural. Even if Joe drank too much a husband needs certain.... Hello! You're Anne, aren't you?"
Anne just glared at them, wanting to tell the old biddies to shut up. What did they know about her family? Granny and Big Joe had loved each other -- they just weren't mushy about it like other people. Anne remembered how Granny always prepared Big Joe's favorite meal on Sundays -- fried chicken and mashed potatoes -- and how she'd wait dinner on him even if he was late or drunk. She never complained.
Anne marched to the counter and the women went back to their work. Just as she lifted the heavy wine bottle, her mother came through the swinging door. "And just what is it you think you're doing?" she demanded, dumping several paper plates into the garbage.
"Dad wanted me to get him some wine." Anne pushed her half- empty glass toward some dirty dishes and set the heavy bottle down, carefully, so she didn't scratch Granny's ceramic tile counter. "Twenty years now and not a scratch," she'd said every time she'd polished it.
"Just what he needs, more wine. He's already made a fool of himself." Anne's mother picked at a bit of ham, then rinsed some forks and piled them on a dish towel. "I hope he's able to deal with things better tomorrow. Heaven knows we've got enough to do around here." She opened a cabinet and ran her finger over a shelf of cookbooks, all neatly alphabetized. "So much stuff to get rid of," she sighed, then turned back to Anne. "I'm leaving in a few minutes. Your father's going to walk home later. You want to go with him or me?"
Anne had to think about it a minute. She only lived five blocks away, but it was winter. Linda walked into the kitchen, still carrying her wine glass. "Are you going to stay?" Anne asked her.
Linda looked confused. "Yeah, I guess so."
"Whose is that?" Anne's mother pointed to Linda's wineglass.
"Oh, my Mom said I could have it." Linda took another sip and smiled a smile just like the one Anne's father used. It was his Cheshire Cat look, Granny used to say.
Anne's mother put her hands on her hips and glared at the two of them. "I don't care what any of you do. You can all make asses of yourselves. I'm going home." She turned toward Granny's room to fetch coats. "Call the boys up from the basement, would you?"
Linda leaned over to Anne after Anne's mother had left the kitchen. "Man, that Jack guy's funny. Kinda reminds me of Ricky Johnson." Linda's cheeks blotched red as she poured more wine for herself and swaggered back to the living room, leaving Anne nibbling on some scalloped potatoes. Jack was no Ricky Johnson, Anne thought, but she and Linda didn't have the same taste.
"Oh, I can't believe you're giving me those, Aunt Ellie." Maryjane swung open the two-way door. "I remember Auntie serving me tea in that set for my seventh birthday. And we had those little cakes, petite fores." She stood in front of the cabinets as Ellie slid the glass door to one side, handing her a shinny orange, yellow and gold teacup.
"I remember when Mom made this set, just before Linda was born. You'll be in your own place next year.... Go see if there's a box and some newspapers in the garage."
Anne wanted to protest, to tell Ellie that Granny had promised that tea set to her, to give to her own little girl. "Your Dad's wondering where his wine is," Maryjane said to Anne as she slipped through the kitchen to the back door.
"Granny made these so you girls could all come over for tea," Ellie was saying. "She wanted granddaughters so much. Granny understood girls, she used to say." Ellie smiled sadly and held up a teacup, making the light reflect off the porcelain inside. "They were so much easier to get on with."
Anne took a long drink of wine. "Aunt Ellie, I..."
The door flew open and Maryjane poked her head around the door. "Can't find the boxes. Any suggestions?" Her cheeks were pink from just a few moments in the garage, or maybe it was wine.
"Look in the closet near the big door. She probably broke them down for storage. God knows, she'd never have anything unsightly or out of place." She opened a bottom cupboard and picked out a few table linens. "Mom was a real pack rat. Look at this, she must have thirty tablecloths here. What she needed all this when for when her own kids were hard up, I'll never know."
Anne noticed that some of the shelves in the side board had been emptied of Granny's silver and hand-painted porcelain. She decided to ask her father about it.
One of the fat ladies from the kitchen was seated next to Anne's father on the piano bench. Anne searched the room for Linda, sure she would also be outraged by the disappearance of Granny's things.
Linda was draped over the back of Jack's chair, the light-colored one that kids weren't even supposed to get near. Linda acted as if she'd never heard the rules though, as if she could do anything because she was drinking.
"Linda, you know you're not supposed to be on that chair." Anne heard her grandmother in her own voice.
"Oh right. I forgot. This is going to be your chair and your house, isn't it?" Linda glared at Anne like she might want to start a fist fight.
"Why don't you tell me about yourself?" Jack patted the big chair's footstool for Anne to sit down. "You girls are drinking?" He smiled, a kind of cocky, crooked smile.
"Yeah," Linda said, shifting positions so she could challenge him head on. "What are you going to do about it, Mister Policeman? Arrest us?" Her head wobbled a little as she talked.
"Well, I could, I suppose. If I wanted to." He grinned at Linda, and then at Anne.
Anne turned away. "You can't arrest us. Our parents said we could have it."
"It's still not legal. Drinking gets girls like you in trouble." He reached out and touched Anne's cheek. "You know what I mean?"
Anne didn't. But Maryjane must have because she started laughing and pulled her chair closer to Jack.
"Remember that time you caught me, in that car?" Maryjane rubbed his shoulder. "That was pretty embarrassing."
Jack tugged on her hair, but not the way a brother or a cousin pulls hair. "Well, you stay out of back seats from now on."
"Yeah," Linda laughed at herself, a kind of donkey laugh. "You shouldn't be drinking in cars."
Maryjane giggled and twisted her hair. "That's not all you shouldn't be doing in cars."
Anne blushed and her stomach churned. Jack leaned over to her. "You know what we're talking about, don't you?" His fermented breath rippled through her hair with his whispering voice. Maryjane laughed louder. Linda continued honking.
Anne felt sick to her stomach. "I have to go to the bathroom."
Anne sat at Granny's bathroom counter staring at herself in the mirror. She didn't care if Linda was her friend, or if Jack was cute. She hated these people. They didn't care about anything. They acted like Granny had never existed.
She opened Granny's makeup drawer. It was still arranged just so: hairpins in a plastic jar; bright red rouge; face powder in another slot; and lipsticks all with the labels facing so you could read them. Anne played with the lipsticks, letting them slide through her fingers one at a time.
"What will they do with your things?" she said out loud. "It won't be like when Big Joe died and they just boxed up his stuff." She tried to imagine herself living in Granny's house, getting ready every day in this bathroom. She would probably get Granny's room. She wondered if she would behave like Granny did after Big Joe died, always hearing things, seeing things. Anne thought about the time she'd woken up at 3:30 in the morning to find her grandmother standing in the bedroom doorway crying. Anne had held her as Granny said she thought she'd heard Big Joe snoring in the next room. That was the only time Anne had thought of her grandmother as frail. Even in her coffin she'd looked strong and solid.
"Let me in, Anne." Linda pounded on the door.
Anne opened the door and Linda ran in, pulling her tights down around her knees well before she got to the toilet. Anne closed the door. "I've never had to pee so bad in my life. You know what? I'm drunk. Can you believe it? And nobody even cares!"
Anne looked into the big plate-glass mirror. "I think I'm going home."
"Why? We're just starting to have fun. Jack's going to teach us to play poker." She wadded up a huge piece of toilet paper. "He's great-looking, isn't he?"
Anne wanted to say he gave her the creeps, that they were all creeps, but she didn't. "I've got to do my Spanish homework. We have a test tomorrow."
Anne left Linda on the pot, closing the door behind her, and went to find her father in the living room. He was at the piano bench, sipping wine. "Can we go home?" Anne asked.
He stared at her. "I have to help Ellie clean up." He took a long drink of his wine, wiped his mouth and looked around the living room. "Mom would have liked this party. Yep, it would have made her feel real good." He tinkled the piano keys.
Anne let out an exasperated sigh and went to Granny's room for her coat. There weren't as many as before, but hers was way at the bottom.
She smelled Jack's musky cigarette smell before she realized he had followed her into the room. Anne turned. Jack leaned on Granny's vanity, rubbing his fingers across the silver picture frame. "Are you leaving?" he asked, moving closer.
"Yes," Anne said. She turned away from him, pulling her coat from the pile.
"Do you want a ride home? I'll drive you. It's awful cold." He touched her hair the way he'd touched Maryjane's. Anne looked to the window. Frost now covered the whole thing. "No, I'll walk," she said.
Jack took the coat from Anne's hand, slipped it over her shoulders, pushed her bangs from her face, and let his hands drift across her chest. He craned his neck down to kiss her, but Anne turned her cheek, her nose filled with waves of his cologne. Nausea crept up her throat. Anne wasn't sure it had even happened until Jack said, "I just want to make you feel better. You looked so sad, like you needed a hug. Let me drive you home."
Anne moved away from him and his cigarette-and-beer breath. She felt angry, so angry she wanted to hit him or scream but she couldn't. She was overcome by confusion. Who were these people, this family? Why didn't anything make any sense? Anne left the room. She wished she had died with Granny.
Linda stood in the hallway. "You're really leaving?" She held out her glass to Anne. "You want some?"
Anne shook her head.
"Come on. Don't be such a baby."
Anne glowered toward Jack in the bedroom doorway, still feeling the pressure of his hands on her breasts. The light of sunset filtered through the frosty bedroom windows made him look like he was standing in a cloud. He smiled.
"Come on." Linda grabbed Anne's arm, pulling her toward the living room. "Hey, have you been crying?" She leaned close to Anne's face. "You look kind of funny."
Anne's father was still at the piano bench talking with two old ladies. He sipped his wine, apparently ready to stay the rest of the night. Maryjane sat at Granny's dining room table. She'd moved the big crystal bowl that usually sat in the center to a corner of the floor. She was shuffling cards and hitting them against the waxed wood to stack them. She hadn't even put down a table pad. Granny would have killed her. Aunt Ellie shuffled through the corner cabinet for chips.
"I've got pennies. Please stay!" Linda's fingers tightened around Anne's arm.
"Yes, why don't you stay?" Jack put his hand on her shoulder as he walked by. "I'll teach you a few card tricks." He went to where Maryjane was sitting.
"No." Anne pulled her arm from Linda's hand. "No. I've got to go."
"Come on..." Maryjane motioned.
Linda shrugged and nearly skipped to the living room.
Anne checked her pockets for mittens. They must have fallen out in the coat pile. She hesitated, then quickly went back to Granny's bedroom to get them. She took one last look at the room, at its essence. Soon this would be gone. The last bit of sunset made diamond reflections like the inside of the teacup bounce off the Christmas ball Linda and Granny had made. She didn't want any of these people, any of this family, taking or selling Granny's things. She stepped up onto one of the beds, on the pile of coats, and yanked the satin ball down. She hid it in her pocket. I'll keep it in my desk, she thought. Linda will never see it there.
Outside, the winter night bit her face with a mist of tiny flakes. Her breath smoked in the blackness.
As she passed the kitchen window, she looked back into what had been Granny's home. Through the open swinging door, she saw her father standing at the dining room table leaning over Linda. Jack held up a fan of cards and Maryjane picked one. The light from Granny's chandelier formed a circle around them.
Anne turned and walked a few feet with her back against the wind, her patent-leather shoes squeaking as they hit the frozen snow. The people in the window grew smaller every step she took.
She turned and ran to the long sloping hill that faced Granny's house, then tossed her body backwards through the thick crust of snow. She scissored her arms and legs together and apart through the untouched snow, shaping an angel, the angel she could imagine inside of herself right now, flying away into the darkness.
Connie Baron (email@example.com) Writes and teaches in Ames, Iowa, where she lives with her husband, dog, cat, and two birds. (Biography last updated in 1995.)
InterText Copyright © 1991-1999 Jason Snell. This story may only be distributed as part of the collected whole of Volume 5, Number 1 of InterText. This story Copyright © 1995 Connie Baron.