A.S. Morgan


She rests the silver tea tray exactly upon the table. She has placed sugar, cream, crumpets on a blue china plate. She has arranged pods of black tea like archive papers. A library of scrolls of cinnamon and tiny bookmarks of clove.

She sits, holding a lace handkerchief, pink polished fingers folded with precision. Her hair is black, fastened, lacquered to match the table linens. A platinum and porcelain ring glints on a finger of her left hand.

Her husband grasps four sugar cubes in his purple hands. He sucks and licks and sucks again, as though his tongue is twin. His slurps cover the table until the napkins go slippery with water and saliva.

She says "I want the necklace you gave me for our wedding."

She pours herself tea from an iron kettle shaped like a dog's head. Steam pours from the nostrils and mouth as though the dog is sick, breathing lung pus.

"I want it back," she says.

Her husband waves hands covered with suction cups. His mouth undulates with extra sacs, with an artery pulsing like a second brain. He was not a plastic octopus when she married him. He has changed.

"And I want the keys to the Chevrolet." She adds cream, no sugar.

He pours tea with long cartilaginous toes. The muscles of his distended nose dilate as he sips, as flaps along his neck open and close, leaking watery brine. His salt has stained the teacups a dull yellow.

She crumbles the last of the crumpets between her fingers with a librarian sound. Her handkerchief drops from her fingers, resting in the saliva puddle as the door closes quietly behind her.