DEEP CITY in Times Roman

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Searching for Facts

Lynette stood and ironed in the nude. Occasionally, she glanced at her reflection in the full-length mirror on the side of the laundry room. She inhaled deeply and noted her narrow rib cage. She guessed she was lucky that she hadn’t put on weight after she hit thirty as so many of her friends had done. Certainly, though, her body had begun to age. She put down the iron, pressed a hand under one breast, then the other, and wondered if she should check into getting a breast lift. Then she considered perhaps she should go back to wearing clothes while she worked. Perhaps this was too distracting. She’d never done housework in the nude until the reverend had transferred Francois to the publishing house. Now, she felt a sense of freedom from the Korean’s restraints by ironing and vacuuming in the buff. Just the same, she closed all the drapes and blinds, and stayed away from the windows. One time, however, she nearly forgot and opened the door when the old, white-haired postman, Mr. Gurley, knocked to inform her she had a package. So now, she deadlocked the doors when she cavorted unwrapped, just to remind herself to grab a towel before she opened them.

She still held her right breast when the phone rang.

“Hello,” a tinny, computer voice rattled. “We have a special offer for you, but all of our lines are busy now. So please hold until one of our representatives can help you.”

Perplexed, Lynette held onto the receiver. Although she’d received annoying computer phone calls, she’d never been put on hold by a computer. It intrigued her. Then, after a minute or so, the machine disconnected.

“Jerk!” She slammed the phone into its cradle. She was convinced the computer must have been the same one she’d hung up on a few days before. The strange machines had started developing personalities, she was sure. She pondered the phone call awhile, then a tiny fire tap-danced inside her brains just as it had fandango-ed when she received ideas for her sculptures. “Eureka!” she shouted to the mirror. She’d wire up a computer to phone-in the bomb threat. That way, everyone would leave the building. No one would get hurt. Only the building, the computers, the typesetting machines and printers would be destroyed. Then another spark waltzed in her head. She wasn’t sure how she could do it, but perhaps she could hide the explosives inside the publishing house’s computers.

The phone rang again. Lynette stared at the machine that now seemed to pulse and shoot out smells of burnt toast. She was unsure whether she wanted to answer it. The fiendish computer might be phoning again. After four rings, answering machine would take the call. She let it ring twice more, then on the third ring, she picked up the receiver.

“Hi Sweetheart.” Francois’s words rolled out like molasses.

Lynette’s heart seemed to hit against her naked rib cage. “It’s good to hear your voice,” she gushed.

“I was afraid you weren’t home.”

“I would’ve answered sooner, but a computer hung up on me. I was afraid it was calling back to do it again.”

Francois laughed. “How I miss you, my little bird.”

“When can we visit you?”

“Oh, my pigeon, my genet, I do not know.” She heard him sigh. “You are needed to help the Cause there, too.”

“I’m sick of working in the health food store. The customers are weird. Besides, the reverend knows I’m a potter, a sculptor. When will he let me use that for the Cause?”

“My love, you know he does not sense you are yet committed to the Cause.”

He’s right about that, Lynette thought but said, “How can I be when he keeps us apart? It’s so unfair.”

“We must sacrifice, my darling.” His voice grew lower till he spoke almost in a whisper. “For the reverend. For God.”

“But we’re married. God wants us together. I know.”

“Tsk, tsk. Do not question the reverend. He is so much closer to God than you and I will ever be. He has seen the Christ.”

Lynette held the receiver farther from her ear. “Yes, I know. Lord of the Second Advent.” She scowled. “We should be able to be, at least, affectionate.”

“Ah, but my love, if we touched, it would be far more difficult. Out chemicals would ignite fires in us.”

“My chemicals are dying from lack of combustion.”

Francois laughed. “Oh, my pigeon. You are so clever. Remember—our love will overcome it all.” She heard kissing sounds.

After she hung up, Lynette slid into a pair of red rayon-polyester slacks, snapped on her bra, and tugged on a striped tank top. Yes, certainly, their love would overcome it—once they could be together again. Lord of the Second Advent? When she saw the Reverend Yung Sung Ghoon talk to a burning bush—and heard the bush reply, then she’d believe he was close to God. Until then, she retained her right to be skeptical. She sighed. Sonya was at her mother’s, so now, it was time. She grabbed her purse and headed to the library on foot. She’d somehow avoid Miss Fieldspot. There had to be a way of keeping the librarian’s snoopy eyes away from the titles of any books she checked out.


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