Oyster Boy Review 07  
  September 1997
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» Levee 67


Things To Do Today

Lucy Harrison

  1. Wake up.

  2. Shower.

  3. Take 4 aspirin and drink a large glass of grapefruit juice.

  4. Look at the hole in your living room wall.

  5. Call Roy.

  6. Hang up on the third ring.

  7. Watch the weather channel. Look outside, where the rain is drip drip dripping off the black skeleton branches, wet and cold and dull.

  8. Drive to work.

  9. Forget your umbrella.

  10. Finish up the Schorr account. Try to finish it. Sit at the computer, staring at the screen, watching the cursor blink and blink and blink.

  11. Nothing and nothing and nothing.

  12. Call Roy.

  13. Hang up when his taped voice comes on the machine.

  14. Tell your boss, when he asks, that there is nothing wrong at all. Watch him fiddle with his necktie, his broad blunt-fingered hands tightening and untightening the knot. Say: "Nothing. I'm fine."

  15. Take the Kleenex he offers you. Blow your nose. Say you're sorry.

  16. Turn off the computer. Don't save the current file or document.

  17. Call Roy.

  18. Leave a message. Explain that it was all a terrible mistake. Explain that you've never done anything like that ever before. Hang up before you start to cry.

  19. Go to lunch with Carrie and Joan from data processing. Let them pick the restaurant. It doesn't matter.

  20. Order the grilled mahi-mahi sandwich, no dressing, pickle on the side, the way Roy likes it.

  21. Stare at it when it comes. Push it around your plate with the knife. Don't eat it.

  22. Smoke a cigarette in the restaurant bathroom.

  23. Look at the payphone on the wall of the bathroom. Tell yourself you're not going to call.

  24. You're not.

  25. Call Roy. Hang up.

  26. Brush your hair and splash some cold water on your face. Try to breathe normally.

  27. Tell Joan, when she comes in to the bathroom, that there is nothing wrong at all. Say: "Nothing. I'm fine."

  28. Divide the check 3 ways.

  29. Remember to leave a tip. Roy always tips at least 20%. Tell Joan and Carrie that.

  30. Turn on the computer in your office. Watch the cursor blink and blink.

  31. Put your fingers on the keyboard. Type: "Screw it screw it screw him."

  32. Stare at it awhile, then delete.

  33. Answer the phone.

  34. Tell Tom that it was all a terrible mistake.

  35. Tell him not to call you again.

  36. Tell him you don't usually drink like that.

  37. Tell him you definitely don't want to see him tonight.

  38. Tell him you're insane.

  39. Call Roy.

  40. When he answers, say: "It's me, don't hang up."

  41. Listen to the empty line crackling and hissing at you when he hangs up.

  42. Open up the Schorr account's spreadsheet.

  43. When you see the empty rows and columns, try it again.

  44. And again.

  45. Tell your boss you're sorry.

  46. Tell him you don't know how this could have happened.

  47. Watch him tightening his necktie.

  48. Tell him nothing like this has happened before.

  49. Tell him you're having some personal problems.

  50. Drive home.

  51. Stop off at the liquor store to buy some bourbon.

  52. After all, it can't hurt now.

  53. Look at the hole in your living room wall.

  54. Read the note your landlord has written, in red, on an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper and taped over the hole: "Some people think they're pretty funny, but they won't be laughing so hard when they get the bill."

  55. Call Roy.

  56. Hang up when his machine comes on.

  57. Look up "Jezebel" in your collegiate dictionary. Read the definition.

  58. Look up "scheming."

  59. Look up "evil."

  60. Look up "woman."

  61. Cook spaghetti. Forget to put water in the pot, so the house fills up with smoke.

  62. Have a bourbon and coke.

  63. Or, if you forgot the coke, have a bourbon and water.

  64. Call Roy.

  65. Tell his machine that he's just lost the best thing he ever had.

  66. Tell his machine that he's a fine one to be talking, anyways.

  67. Tell his machine that Jezebel was a Phoenician princess of the 9th century BC, and a queen of Israel, and that you are proud to be compared with her and that you wouldn't take him back now if he came crawling on his knees.

  68. Watch the weather channel.

  69. Look at the big red cloud hanging over your area.

  70. Wonder if maybe it's raining outside and you just can't see it in the darkness.

  71. Have a bourbon. Forget the water.

  72. Look up "forgiveness." Decide there is no hope.

  73. Look up "hope." Decide there is no God.

  74. Look up "God."

  75. Call Roy.

  76. Tell his machine that you are sorry. You are so sorry. Please.

  77. Hang up.

  78. Throw the phone at the living room wall, so it leaves a black mark next to the hole.

  79. Some people think they're pretty funny, but they won't be laughing so hard when they get the bill.

  80. Realize the phone is off the hook.

  81. Realize that Roy might be calling you now.

  82. Right now.

  83. Run and put the receiver back on the hook.

  84. Pick up the phone on the first ring.

  85. Say: "Hello?"

  86. Say: "Oh."

  87. Say: "Oh, it's you."

  88. Say: "No, I'm not drunk."

  89. Say: "Yes. All right. All right."

  90. Say: "Fine, Tom, come over then."

  91. Hang up.

  92. Have another bourbon.

  93. Turn on the outside porch light.

  94. Watch the rain washing down the window.

  95. Watch a moth, trapped between the screen door and the glass, frantically bumping back and forth, trying to get to the light, or failing that, at least away from the dark.

  96. Finish off your bourbon. Tilt the glass back.

  97. Oh, you say.

  98. Screw it.

  99. Screw it.

  100. Screw it all.