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remembered the Amazon or the vast ocean of their play. “What if the stick was important?” Liam asked. “Do you know what those are for?” Mabel, eyes large and scared, looked at Liam for a long moment before whispering, “Was it the emergency-” Just then, a loud bang echoed through the house, followed by a crash and a window breaking. It sounded as if it came from the foyer, which created echoes of echoes because of its high ceilings and marble floors. Every head in the room snapped toward the noise. Uncle Marvin was the first to get up, mustache bristling and glasses askew after his six-inchhigh flinch. His small, round face was red with confusion and his caterpillar eyebrows met as one. “What the hell was that?” He appeared to be asking the noise itself, yelling toward it. He then blundered through the dining room, knocking Grandma’s hat rack to the floor. After Uncle Marvin’s reaction, the room realized they all were being incredibly rude and helped pick up Grandma’s hat rack. Each person grasped a piece; Aunt Lilly lifted from the top of the thin rod, Cousin Americus held fast to the dainty base, and the rest of the family lifted somewhere around the hat rack’s midsection. All hands were on deck as Grandma sat orchestrating the effort from her chair. After it was upright once again, the family returned to their seats at the large table. “Where has Marvin run off to?” Cousin Americus asked the room as he straightened the second fork in his row of silverware. Grandma’s guest, an old friend from charm school who wore pink glasses to match her pink tweed jacket, disapprovingly said, “He seems

apt to address such a disturbance.” She tsked the rude noise -- or maybe she was tsking Uncle Marvin. Uncle Marvin’s wife Aunt Lilly stood unnoticed by the hatrack, looking aghast at those seated at the table. She cried, “Well, does no one want to follow Marvin?” Silence followed, punctuated by her husband’s cries of “Unbelievable!” and “Shocking!” from the next room over. She flung her arms in the air before walking in the direction of what sounded like falling of rubble. The children sat staring at their family, each of whom were pressing their lips together into a thin line. For a moment, Mabel was entertained by thinking of a tightrope walker balancing across an invisible string that the family members were suspending with their offended lips. The pink-bespectacled guest opened her mouth, dropping the tightrope walker to his doom. She said, “I wouldn’t waste my time on matters that demand attention so impolitely. A bit like giving in to a child’s tantrum, don’t you think?” “Quite right indeed,” was the prompt consensus. The uncomfortable silence returned. Uncle Marvin ran back into the room, covered in sheet rock dust and with a car’s antenna in his hand. “May’s Volvo has just crashed into your home, Mother!” He said to Grandma. His glasses now hung comically off of one ear and he had a streak of sheet rock dust across his cheek. It looked like football paint. Grandma rose, then asked Grandpa to call the insurance agency. She addressed the rest of her guests and family. “We must’nt trouble ourselves. Let us continue into the den for cake, shall we?”


Miscellany Digital Edition, Spring 2014  
Miscellany Digital Edition, Spring 2014