Modern Assistance

Couple A:

The Newspaper says we are going to get bombed on Saturday, Hank says to his wife, Sue. They are eating breakfast and watching the television. The television doesn’t say anything about a bombing, Sue says and she stuffs egg and toast into her mouth. Usually she is more graceful, Hank thinks, it must be because of the bombing that is most certainly about to happen. I haven’t been all that reflective lately, Sue thinks, indeed I haven’t been thinking about anything at all. Sue and Hank were married in ’78, after the blizzard that closed the highway. The highway is open today though because there isn’t any snow. I hope I get out of work before five, Hank thinks while he drives to work. He likes it when he gets out of work early because he can go home and watch television. I like the television, Sue says to her friend, Barbara. The two women are knitting and sewing and making cookies and washing clothes. I like to gossip, Barbara says to Sue. Remember when Mary Beth stole the bag of cookies and ate them in the woods. Sue laughs and covers her mouth—and she got so fat, she whispers. She is still fat, Barbara says, I saw her at the grocery store last week. We didn’t sell so much last week, Bill says to Hank. We are going to have to really step it up this week. We need to sell a lot more than we did last week. Of course, Hank agrees. Anything I can do, he says and thinks, I am not going to get out of here early today. Hank counts the days on his calendar. Forty-five days until my next vacation, he mutters. We are going to go to Florida and visit my parents, Sue says. They are getting old and they have many aches and pains and life is very difficult for them. Sue is hanging clothes on the clothesline and Barbara is sitting on the deck and drinking lemonade. We made cookies for Sammy’s class today, Barbara says. We made oatmeal cookies because they are his favorite. Ben hates oatmeal cookies, Sue says. Oh, Barbara says. She made tuna fish salad again, Hank mutters. Didn’t you have tuna fish yesterday, Scott asks. Yes, Scott. She must have forgotten. Did she cut the crust off? No, Scott, she didn’t cut the crusts off. That is too bad, Scott says, it is always better without the crusts. I know, Scott. You know they are talking about a bombing here on Saturday, Barbara says. It is later in the afternoon but it is still not too cold outside. The newspaper said it would start at five in the morning. The television didn’t say anything about a bombing. I know, maybe it isn’t true. Well, Saturday isn’t a bad day for a bombing. I guess I’ll just stay in the house. Me too. My wife made ham and cheese, Scott says. I love ham and cheese. Me too, Hank says. I wish my wife would make me ham and cheese. That is one hour, Bill says, return to work and sell some units. Yes sir, Scott says. Yes sir, Hank says. That’s the spirit, Bill says. I hope Hank gets home early so we can watch television, Sue says. I know, Barbara agrees. I hope he does too. Barbara doesn’t have a television because her husband threw it out the second floor window. Donald was very angry, Barbara admits. Hank still hasn’t shown me how to turn on the television or we could watch it now, Sue says. She would watch television all day, Hank says to Scott. But she would make you ham and cheese sandwiches, Scott says. Really? I hope we don’t get bombed on Saturday, Hank says. Why can’t we get bombed on a work day, Scott says. I haven’t sold any units in two weeks, Hank says. Me neither, Scott says. Bill must be very angry.

I don’t know why you are upset, Stan says to Lucy. It isn’t like they have that much to live for anyway. I still don’t think we should kill them, Lucy says, maybe we should tell them to stop having babies instead. It isn’t like we are wiping out a political rival or an ideological rival. We are simply bombing a population that is too dull to know that they are getting bombed. It still doesn’t seem right, Lucy retorts. Of course it isn’t right, Stan says and smiles. But it’s not like I told them to stay in their homes.

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