A woman in a flowery dress sat down on the bench with the
country-club woman. She had very dark, tightly wrinkled skin and
wore enormous green high-heeled pumps. The country-club
woman’s cigarette, on the bench between them, waved up a little
boundary line of smoke.
“He said there would be papers to sign for the divorce,” Lou
“So what’s the problem, exactly?” I didn’t mean to be unkind.
I really didn’t know.
“Well, what am I going to do?”
“Well, to be honest, I don’t think it much matters what you
do. It probably doesn’t make any difference what kind of a
divorce you get, or even if you get one at all. The man is gone,
honey. If he stops sending checks I don’t imagine there’s anything
to be done, not if he’s out riding the range in God’s country. I
guess you’ll have to look for a job, sooner or later.”
Lou Ann started sobbing again. “Who would want to hire me?
I can’t do anything.”
“You don’t necessarily have to know how to do something to
get a job,” I reasoned. “I’d never made a french fry in my life
before I got hired at the Burger Derby.” She blew her nose again.
“So how’d she get born pregnant?” the green-shoes woman
asked the woman with the newspaper.
“It was twins, a boy and a girl,” the woman told her. “They had
sexual intercourse in the womb. Doctors say the chances against
it are a million to one.”
“Yeah,” the green-shoes woman said in a tired way. She bent
over and shuffled through a large paper shopping bag, which was
printed with a bright paisley pattern and had sturdy-looking green
handles. All three of us waited for her to say something more, or
to produce some wonderful answer out of her bag, but she didn’t.
Lou Ann said to me, in a quieter voice, “You know, the worst
thing about it is that he wouldn’t ask me to come with him.”
“Well, how in the world could you go with him? What about
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