Wednesday 31 October 2018

Let's Not Pretend

by Iris Green

hot Earl Grey

"I get to be the hostess this time," the sister whined. "My name shall be Euphraise, but you will be my guest, so you can call me Euphy."

"Oh you sly one," the other sister scolded. "You have managed to steal the good name again, and here I sit, not being able to think of a thing."

Euphy finished brushing her long dark hair and checked herself in the bathroom mirror. Her reflection was slightly distorted where she had brushed away the condensation from the steam. She looked younger than she felt. Her baby face looked back at her like an impish child looking through a window.

"Well then you just stay here until something comes to mind," Euphy said. "I'll go tend to my hostess duties." Euphy left her sister in the bedroom. She went downstairs to prepare tea. She wore an old,
long, cotton, summer dress that had once belonged to her mother. It was white and loose and flowed around her as she descended the stairs. In the kitchen, Euphy began to prepare the tea. She opened a small box of cookies while the tea was brewing, and brought out her mother's old china.

When she left her sister upstairs, the girl was wearing only a long thick terry cloth robe. And her hair was still drying from the shower. Euphy lit a candelabra the decorated the dining room table. It was a
nice added touch to the table setting. Plus, the sun was going down soon, and they would need the light.

"My name is Natasha," Euphy's Sister announced as she entered the room. "I'm so grateful to have you invite me to tea." Natasha was still wearing her bathrobe, but she decorated it with a string of her
mother's pearls, and a huge, straw, wide brimmed, gardening hat. The last, and most noticeable part of her ensemble, was the dark pair of Raybans covering her eyes. Her face was framed with the same color of damp dark hair as Euphy’s

"Oooohhhh!" Euphy exclaimed, "it's so good to have you here for tea. You just sit yourself down at the table. It's almost ready." She exited the dining room, but Natasha could still hear her carrying on
as she readied the tea.

"You know," she said loudly, to be heard in the next room, "my electricity has been shut off. I still have gas though. I just lost my electric bill, and it never got paid."

"Perhaps you could call them," Natasha offered.

"Perhaps I could," Euphy said, sounding a bit winded as she entered the dining room. She carried a large silver tea set. Natasha could smell the tea in the pot. It smelled of an exotic blend of herbs and
teas. "I have candles though, and the gas is still on. They won't shutthat off because it's so cold outside, what with it being winter and all. But those pesky health agents keep coming to the door. I talked to them before. All they kept saying was silly stuff about mental health and sanitariums. I don't answer the door anymore. I just get too afraid that it's going to be one of them."

"So you don't mind the darkness?" Natasha just had to know.

"It's kind of fun actually," Euphy said in her best mischievous, little girl voice. "I like the shadows, and the eerie way the candle light dances around the room. It's almost like living in a haunted house."

"I'm afraid that I would miss television too much. I love television.I would rather have the gas shut off. I can always wrap myself up in blankets and watch television."

Euphy poured the tea thoughtfully. Natasha help herself to a cookie. She placed it on her plate and waited for the tea to be served.

"You have such a lovely tea service," Natasha observed.

"I hope you can see all right. The sun is starting to go down you know."

"I love the candle light," Natasha reassured. "Everything is just so lovely."

"I too miss television," Euphy admitted. "I miss my shows. The nights seem so empty, and it's hard to read by the oil lamps."

"And those lamps give off such a horrid smell. I think we should go downtown tomorrow morning and see about getting your electricity back."

"A sleepover?" Euphy asked excitedly.

Natasha took off her sunglasses due to the ever increasing darkness in the dining room. She took a sip of the tea. "Scrummy."

"It will be so cozy having you here tonight," Euphy said.

"I'll tell you what, let's think up a television show of our own, and act it out tonight."

"Like a play?" Euphy asked, excited again. "Oh yes Miss Natasha! That sounds so fun. I'm so lucky that you stopped by today. And a sleepover. Why, I haven't had a sleepover since my mother and father went away. Seems like no one comes to my door anymore, except those pesky health people."

"That's it!" Natasha exclaimed wide-eyed. "That's our show!"

"What! What! Oh, do tell me!"

"Okay," Natasha began, "you know how your basement is. There's the dirt floor and all. What we'll do is get a shovel from your garage, and then we will lure the health agents to the basement. Let them in the house and kinda make noises and stuff so they will come down the stairs. And then..."

Just then came a knock on the door.

"Health department!" a voice shouted from the other side.

"Oh pooh!" Euphy whispered with exasperation. She blew out the candelabra. "Just when we were about to play such a nice game!"

"We can still play," Natasha whispered excitedly in the darkness."Sneak out to the garage and get the shovel. I'll meet you downstairs."

The knocking increased at the door.

"What are we going to do?" Euphy whispered with a scared frown. Natasha put her Raybans back on and smiled sweetly.

"You just get that shovel downstairs. I'll handle the rest."

"Oh Natasha." Euphy said before leaving the room, "I love you. I just adore you. Sleeping over is such fun."

About the author

Iris' history of publications includes Slice Magazine, Foliate Oak  Literary Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, Downstate Story, Bluffs Literary Magazine, and CafeLit. She is an English/Literature major at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and hopes to use her learned skills to enhance her writing ability. Iris lives in an empty nest in the same town as her university with wife Bonz, five dogs, and three exotic, though unwieldy, birds. Her novel “Redemption Story” Published by Czykmate Productions is currently available at Amazon.

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