Borders & Boundaries
Featuring stories by Erin Smith, Karen Levey, Maisy Card, and Joseph Salvatore; performed by Michael Petrocelli, Amber Bogdewiecz, Frances Uku, and Michaela Morton. Hosted by Andrew Lloyd-Jones and Nancy Hightower at KGB Bar on 1st June 2016.
“Oh, guess who burned to death?”
She said it at the end of the conversation, almost as an afterthought. I couldn’t see the expression on her face, couldn’t read anything into the monotone of her voice, didn’t quite know how to answer such a question—Jesus, didn’t know how someone could formulate such a question—so I closed my eyes and said, “I don’t know.”
Irene decided not to mention her mother’s death to Betty when she went into work that morning. For one thing, Betty already had no regard for professional boundaries, as Irene had learned over the past year, while working as her home health aide. And for another, Betty was obsessed with the dead; she had undergone past life regression therapy on a weekly basis for ten years. The old woman was scheduled for a session that day, and Irene was afraid that if she mentioned her mother, Betty would insist on conducting a séance or putting her into a hypnotic trance, so she could speak to her mother’s ghost. As soon as Irene heard Dr. Ingram’s car pull into the driveway, she told Betty she needed to go up to the attic to dust.
First it was problems with the brakes, then the spark plugs with this new car. She didn’t like going to the mechanic for any reason because she felt belittled there and taken advantage of. It was a place for men. But when her boyfriend’s buddy opened Jose’s Car Repair, she felt more comfortable when her fan belt went loose and when the check engine light came on.
Circles, overlapping circles, circles intersecting with other circles, like the slow closing interstice of moon crossing over soon-to-be-eclipsed sun, circles overlapping with small shaded areas of geometry, not the geometry of Lobachevsky or Gauss or Euclid, but the geometry of Jennifer, the geometry of Jennifer Hampton, small-boned, green-eyed, pale- faced, goth-girl, theatre major at the state college in Salem, Massachusetts, a women’s studies minor currently on academic probation, for the fall semester of 1995, for failing Introduction to Geometry last spring, a writer of poetry and nude dancer at Shelby’s Slink Factory on Route One, where Jennifer sticks out her pierced tongue and makes contact with her pierced nipple raised by hand up to her black-lipsticked mouth, Jennifer, Jennifer Hampton, the geometry thereof...