Page 38 - WTP VOl. VIII #7
P. 38

 The Overburdened Woman’s Stain
Many years backward, some fast rushing woman left the far market, gripping three overpacked grocery bags. She started out toward her place as three blocks out, two friends sat on a green bench, debating.
I’m ready to give up, said the first, slapping a thigh— there’s no one doesn’t think me a liar.
No, wait, sighed the second. That’s not true. And even if it was—it’s easily corrected.
The first’s head tilted wisely as he pondered the best answer—just as the woman cleared the curb two blocks away, and hiked the slipping bags higher in her grip.
The second answered, Just stop acting like a liar. What do you expect to happen if you make it plain you’re a liar?
Huh? What do you mean—if it’s plain I’m a liar? I’m not a liar.
The second man swept his arm across from back to side to front, thrusting the first man silent, saying, Hey, what about last night at Andre’s? If you weren’t a liar, you did a great job acting like one.
A block and a half out, she snagged a heel on a rough crack that caught her breath, but thank God, she did not fall. Though slowing, she was closing on clearing the sec- ond block, and would be home soon.
What do you mean, acting like one? barked the first man—are you trying to piss me off?
Of course not. I’m kind of half joking. Hey man, listen. Calm down.
No, wait, said the first—I think I sort of get it. Is what you’re saying like, is that something might be true or not might be or not might whatever, or not—could be refer- ring to a million things, of which in the case of what we’ve tabled down before us now, which is; the truth or not truth of, of telling the truth or, not telling the truth eh, no no no, eh; the word if makes it so—you were not saying I’m not telling the truth really, right, eh?
That’s right, that’s right. That’s true. But, hey—
Wait, hold! Which also means you weren’t calling me a liar. That’s a bit nastier phrase for someone not telling the truth, eh eh?
Yes, it is, replied the second man—but let’s get back to the point I was getting at, that—
No no no, no, not yet, waved the first sharply—which also
means you weren’t calling me a cheat. That’s another nastier word for one not telling the truth, eh eh eh?
The woman, sure that she would make it home now, breathed easily enough to take in her surroundings, which included the faint voices of the two men up ahead.
Right. Okay—but that does lead me back to what I was going to say. That’s—
Again, no, wait! This whole thing also means you weren’t calling me a con artist, either. That’s another way to de- scribe someone not telling the truth, eh eh eh eh?
The second man’s hand cut down sidewise, as he said, Right! True! I see you got it—but let’s back up a bit. Slow down, calm down, and listen. I—
No! I bet that also meant you weren’t calling me a per- jurer! That’s another way to describe someone not telling the truth, eh eh eh eh, eh—though it’s a more, staid, you might say—legalistic way to say one’s not truthful. That true?
Great. True. But let me finish—here’s the bottom line. See, you—
No! I am not through speaking! This all leads on into that you also weren’t calling me a phony! That’s yet another way to describe someone not telling the truth, eh eh eh eh eh, eh—though it could refer to the whole a per- son—not just saying false words, but speaking, dressing, acting, seeming, to be an all overall and top-to-bottom walking lie through and through. Okay.
The men’s voices grew sharper, as the men came them- selves came into view of the approaching woman, who was still some yards away, but quickly bearing down.
Great—so, you done now? Are you done?
Yes, I think so, said the first man, brightly.
Okay—so. Hold it, let me get my bearings. Okay—what I was trying to say before you switched us down that sid- ing, was this. The bottom line I think for you is—
The first man’s face twisted slightly.
Wait! he half-shouted. What? Siding? What siding? I see no siding! Plus, you seemed to be, the moment you said that, well. Your entire visage radiated around what I looked into the glowing heart of—heart of you I am say- ing yes, I am, yes, I dare—I look in you and—I guess that means I’m calling you a storyteller. Which is yet another way to describe someone not telling the truth eh eh eh eh, eh eh—Okay?
Jim meiRoSe

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