excerpt from "Read My Lipstick" by Joyce Oroz

... I finally took pity on Sarah and carried one of her bags upstairs. I was sure she could manage the last one. After all, she had invited herself to stay at my house. Years ago I discovered a surefire way to keep guests from staying too long. I simply kept the old, lumpy, coil-spring twin-size bed I inherited from my grandmother. It was the only extra bed in the house.
“Thank you, Josephine. Don’t bother with the last suitcase. I’ll get it.” I knew she would get it because I certainly wasn’t going to. I hustled down the stairs and began planning a dinner for two. It was only five-thirty, but I wanted to get dinner out of the way. Peanut butter on toasted rye with coleslaw-simple, but wholesome.
Sarah was still breathing hard when she entered the kitchen.
“What can I do to help?” she asked. I handed her a couple plates, forks and napkins. She set the table, I flipped on the TV and we settled down for the evening meal. I had just taken a bite of melted peanut butter when I saw myself being interviewed on the five o’clock news. The peanut butter refused to go down as I stared in stunned silence at the news reporter who talked about my plan to stop urban sprawl.
“Look, Josephine. It’s Steve and me and Jasmine and look … it’s Mr. Snow with his wife and four boys.” She was so tickled to see herself and her friends marching round and round she almost fell off her chair. At least one of us was having fun.
“Oh, my God! Did you see that?” I shouted. Sarah laughed again when the camera captured Steve cracking his cardboard sign over the kisser of one of the three bronze dolphins featured in a fountain statue in the center of the Civic Center plaza. He had missed the pesky councilman and whacked the bronze dolphin by mistake.
“Sarah, why isn’t anyone else mentioned? Just me?”
“We all knew it was your idea, and we didn’t want to take any of the credit away from you.” She smiled wide as if she had done me a great favor.
“Actually, I’m not entirely into ….”
“That’s OK, Josephine. We don’t mind giving you the credit. Have any wine to go with dinner?”


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