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Everything’s Rosy Susanna Baird Mrs. Jablowski finds nothing poetic about the body. She considers feet particularly prosaic. Heels bear vulgar cracks. The largest toes resemble the thumbs of a thick man. The stubbiest toes remind her of the fat grubs Mr. Jablowski digs out of his vegetable garden. Mr. Jablowski’s feet are especially troublesome, with hard yellowing nails and far too much fuzz, like the feet of those little Hobbits in the movies she took her grandson to. Unlike Mr. Jablowski’s, their feet were cute.

children together 30 years ago and have remained tight. For the sake of the banties she actually likes, Mrs. Jablowski has mostly mastered the art of tolerating Mrs. Orly. Today the banties are visiting the new Walmart instead of attending their usual matinee. Mrs. Jablowski loves movies and Twizzlers and never thought much of the old Walmart, but has to admit this one seems to have everything, even a cute little nail salon snuggled neat between the shopping cart corral and Customer Service.

Aside from the small pale whiskers she shaves off her big toes every summer, Mrs. Jablowski’s own feet aren’t especially offensive. Still, they’re feet. That’s reason enough for her to keep them covered until the red-hot center of summer, when she dabs a little polish on each nail and dons her opentoed huaraches.

“Lay-dee-ees!” Mrs. Orly exclaims as soon she spots the salon. Mrs. Jablowski cringes every time Mrs. Orly speaks, but especially when she utters her three-syllable call to action. “Lay-dee-ees! I think we need a little pampering. I think we need pedis!” Mrs. Jablowski is so agitated by the word “pedis” that she doesn’t object until she hears the other ladies give the receptionist her name. She’s just beginning to protest — “I saw some Legos back there for Charlie … “ — when Mrs. Orly swings towards her, driving the steamroller that is her will.

Today is not summer. Today is November in Rhode Island, which is why Mrs. Jablowski finds it absurd to be sitting high in a pedicure chair with an Asian man, Mrs. Jablowski isn’t sure what kind, snapping his gum and preparing to man-handle her feet before applying two coats of a calm pink polish called Everything’s Rosy. Which it most certainly is not.

“Mrs. J, Mrs. J, Mrs. Jaaay-aaaay!” Mrs. Orly is the only person on planet Earth who calls Mrs. Jablowski Mrs. J.

It’s all Mrs. Orly’s fault. Mrs. Orly is one of the group Mr. Jablowski calls “the banties,” five women who raised

“You are a giver, Mrs. J. A force de la vie. You are forever chasing after that

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Spring 2017 | Issue 12  
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