Spilt Tea This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "That's it, Myrna," announced Erving Lobotowitz, "I'm changing our grave plots."

The aluminum screen door creaked behind him as it eased into its frame. Myrna was sitting at the linoleum kitchen table, a half-finished cup of tea in front of her, completing a Wonderword puzzle that was in the paper. She was wearing an old house dress with orange cats that had green whiskers printed on a white background. The buttons on the dress were alternately orange and green and were complimented by the green athletic socks she wore with her white Reeboks. Myrna looked up at him, adjusted the lemon yellow kerchief which bound curlers to her head, and asked, "What now, Erving?"

Erving pulled out a chair and slapped his considerable bulk onto the gold-flecked vinyl chairs. "I was over at the yard today and what did I see? Who had the audacity to buy the plot right next to ours? Who, who!?" With this, he smooth-ed over the single hair left on his head with an excited, shaking hand.

Myrna looked at him for a minute, her gray eyes magnified greatly by bifocals. He was always becoming incensed about something. A fly buzzed lazily over and landed on her tea saucer. She picked up the yellow swatter and attacked the vermin. As the death fell began to swoop, the fly ambled on its way and Myrna was successful only in knocking her tea onto the table. While she heaved herself up towards the sink to get a dish rag to absorb the mess, Erving yelled across the room, "I'm waiting!"

Myrna sighed; Erving always had been impatient. When he had proposed to her, he had wanted to go to the Golden Memories Chapel on Franklin Street and get married right away. "I can't see the use of a long engagement," he mumbled. "All people do is look at you and wonder how your kids'll turn out."

"I can't guess, Erving. Go ahead, tell me, I know you will anyway," she muttered the last part so Erving's Miracle Ear wouldn't pick it up as she pushed around the cold tea with the even colder rag.

Erving's face began to turn purple at the thought of the slanderous individual whom he was about to mention. The transformation was quite incredible. At first, the entire surface turned from its normal pink into a passionate purple, then a blue. The final transformation to purple began from his single hair on the top of his head and spread downwards until it reached the first of his three chins. Only his head was the majestic shade of purple; from his middle chin down he was still his normal, pink self. Erving's voice, as well as his chins, trembled as he spoke, "Arnie Krimsky."

"You mean the sweet man who lives next door?"

"SWEET MAN! Lord, Myrna, the man's a Communist, a bleeding Red!" his eyes turned heavenward. "Help me, Father," he pleaded to the ceiling. "My wife of forty years has been snowed over by the enemy."

"Erving, there's nothing to worry about. The Berlin Wall's down, you know," she said this over her shoulder while wringing the tea into the sink.

"AHA! That's what they'd LIKE you to think, Myrna. But it's false, every last bit of it."

"Then what about the film they showed on the news last December and the parts of the wall they're selling over at Woolworth's..."

"PROP-pa-ganda, every last bit of it. The Russians want us to think that we're the same and everything is hunky-dory, but mark my words, Myrna, mark my words, one of these days you'll open the paper and the Wonderword will be in Russian."

"You told me yesterday it'd be in Japanese after the Fujiyamas moved into the Spencer's old house."

"That too, there'll be TWO Wonderwords, TWO newspapers, TWO languages worldwide, TWO ..."

"Yes dear," Myrna sighed, picked up her pen, and finished her puzzle. n




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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