A Good deal: selected short stories from The Massachusetts by Mary Heath

By Mary Heath

Chosen tales from the Massachusetts evaluate.

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As we move down the floors, sinking so hard our stomachs rise up into our chests and Josh says "Gulp" out loud, she looks at us, smiling, and then, apologetically at her aluminum contraption and shakes her head. " After she's gonewe politely wait for her to drag herself out and disappear around the elevators toward the gift shopmy father says "So who asked her? " Jane opens her mouth and closes it; so do I. We are going to berate him for his lack of generosity but instead we berate ourselves: the same impatience that bit her into speech bit him into anger.

If she was going to finish his sentences, she could invent her own questions. After a moment's silence, she cleared her throat. He did not turn around. " she asked. "That big oak. " For a long time she looked past him through the window. " "Yep. " She let out a pent-up breath. "I want to do it because it needs to be done, Mr. Willit. I don't have young children, so it's not a protection motive. I'm not militant about anything. I'm just a schoolteacher from Pilotville who wants to do something definite, something to put things in order.

Then I went downstairs and told Jane he had finally said something surprising. And so we were ready to meet Frieda the next day. "Is Frieda grandpa's fiancée" Timmy asked, saying the words as if he were holding a fishbone by its repulsive tip. I said I didn't know. My father had asked my advice but I hadn't given any. Usually he was seated just inside the front door of the hotel so that he could jump up anxiously at the sight of every clump of people who approached. This time, confirming my understanding that all his routines had changed, there was no one waiting for us.

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