If you’d like to read “The Quiet Ones, Part 8” click the title.
She thought about calling Hank or Larry, but her conversations with them had become awkward and disappointing. They loved her. She knew that, but they were successful men who had chosen to leave the world of their childhood for places and lifestyles that were as alien to her as mars.
Her older son, Hank, had traded his homey moniker for the more formal “Henry,” which better suited his life as an Ivy League professor. He seemed to have forgotten that she was the one who introduced him to the world of politics, now his self avowed intellectual turf, and he annoyed her relentlessly with his unnecessary explanations of what she saw as simple and obvious truisms of the sciences of government and economics.
“You seem agitated today, Hank,” she’d noted during their last conversation.
“Mom, please, I prefer Henry. Hank’s the name of a fictional ranch dog.”
“There have also been many fine humans named Hank: Hank Aaron, Hank Williams, Hank Stram…”
“I know, you meant well when you chose my name, but it’s just a little too…casual for me.”
“Fine, Henry, what’s got your panties in a wad today, son?”
There ensued a silence, during which she could have sworn she could actually see her son rolling his eyes all the way from Boston.
“It’s a little bit tough to explain, Mom. It goes a bit beyond garden parties and gallery openings.”
“I’ll remind you that I was once a regular visitor to the oval office.”
“Yes, but that was a long time ago, Mom. Things have changed, and you may be just a bit rusty when it comes to current events.”
“Well you see, the President wants to give out these tax rebates to everybody – absolutely everyone who pays taxes.”
“Mmmm huh, believe it or not that one’s actually made the news here in Austin, too.”
“But the federal government is spending more than it takes in this year…”
“Deficit spending and tax breaks do make strange bed fellows.”
“Yes, well if you had a business, you certainly wouldn’t pay your employees more, when you’re operating in the red.”
“Of course not.”
“You know, technically he didn’t win the first election. Some people would say he’s trying to buy reelection. When it comes time to vote, people will remember him as the guy who sent them a check for $800.”
“That’s very frustrating, but isn’t he a republican? The way the deficit’s growing, his opponents can make a very effective case that he’s spending like a liberal. Nothing makes a republican less appealing to his tribe than a reputation as a big spender of other people’s money.”
“True enough, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch him buying votes with our money.”
Nope, she was definitely not in the mood for another round of “Gawd, how can people not see what a self serving prick the president is,” with Hank. Sometimes she wished they could just talk about garden parties and gallery openings – not that she attended either anymore.
Her younger son, Larry – aka Lawrence Anthony – had adopted the more hip sounding Tony. Tony, at least would still be awake at this hour, although he probably wouldn’t be home. He’d either be deeply engrossed in finishing a script for one of his TV shows or out at some Hollywood soiree, doing things she was sure she didn’t want to know about.
Jean was desperate to talk to another human being, one who knew her, but didn’t have so much history with her that they automatically fell into the well worn ruts of issues and conversations past. There was only one person who fit the bill. She’d found a fitting companion among her indigent relatives, one rational and bright child among a passel of dullards.
Jean’s sister, Katharine, had a daughter who was a mentally ill and drug addicted mess. This daughter, Sharon, had eight children by five different men. It was the youngest girl who’d become Jean’s friend and sometimes personal assistant. The child had turned out miraculously normal. She hardly knew her mother – having been raised first by her father, then by an older sister after his death. Sharon spent those years in and out of various institutions. The girl was lucky her mother hadn’t been a part of her life.
Jean dialed the number. “Hello! You’ve reached Kari. Your call is important to me, so please leave a message at the tone…”
If you’d like to read “The Quiet Ones, Part 10” click the title.
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