A Knife to Remember
Jane Jeffry threaded through all the parked cars on her street and pulled into her driveway, going very slowly and carefully to avoid falling into the pothole that was threatening to eat the whole driveway. She’d investigated the costs of a new driveway and decided the pothole would have to eat the whole block before she could afford such an extravagance.
“Wow!“ she said to herself, staring at the sight of a large truck easing its way between her house and her neighbor Shelley’s.
Shelley herself was standing on the little deck outside her kitchen door, likewise observing the strange phenomenon and looking ready and capable of stringing up the driver if he scraped her house. Jane pulled her ailing and ancient station wagon into her garage and went to join Shelley.
“Who’d have thought they’d start so early in the day?“ Jane said.
“And be so efficient!“ Shelley said. “Jane, you should have seen them take out the fence between our yards. They popped the posts out like a line of clothespins. And they’ve already got the dog runs set up.“
“Which Willard will probably be terrified of. What’s that particular truck for?“
“I don’t know.”
Jane shivered. It was only the first Tuesday in October, but there was a chill in the air and the station wagon’s heater had refused to work while she was driving her car pool. One more thing to start budgeting for! “Let’s go inside and watch from my back windows. Uh-oh,“ she added as the big battleship gray Lincoln wallowed into her driveway behind them.
There was a nasty, scraping sound as the Lincoln fell into the pothole.
Cringing, Jane called out, “Hi, Thelma,“ as her mother-in-law, frowning furiously, emerged from the car.
“ Jane! What’s happened here?“
“I’m outta here,“ Shelley murmured.
Jane grabbed her friend’s sleeve. “Don’t you dare desert me,“ she hissed. Then, dragging Shelley along, she headed for her own house. “Thelma, come in out of the cold!”
Thelma was still sputtering with vicarious indignation when they got into the kitchen. “They’re tearing up your whole yard! What happened to your fence? Have you called city hall?“
“Thelma, it’s all right,“ Jane assured the older woman, pouring each of them a cup of coffee. “They’re making a movie.”
Thelma scoffed. “In your backyard? Come now, Jane!”
Jane set the cups, along with cream and sugar on a tray and led the way to the living room, where the large back windows overlooked the scene of chaos behind the house. “Not in our yards, in the field behind us. They’re using our backyards for the equipment.“
“That terrible field!“ Thelma sniffed. “I’ve always said that was dangerous, all that open land.“
“I know you’ve said that,“ Jane responded. Almost every time you come here, she added mentally. “But we like the field, don’t we, Shelley? I’m glad the land developer went bankrupt before the division was finished and left that vacant land.”
Thelma had seated herself with her back to the window, but curiosity overcame her and she set her coffee aside to get up and look outside. “But a movie... why would somebody make a movie here, of all places?“
“It isn’t a whole movie,“ Shelley said. “Just a few scenes. They’ll only be here a few days. And they’re paying the homeowners very generously and installing brand-new fences for us when they’re done.”
She caught herself and gave Jane a quick, chagrined look as if to say, Why am I apologizing?
“ Well, I think it’s outrageous, disturbing your lives this way, just to make another film. Probably more of that Hollywood trash, anyway. There aren’t enough good movies being made anymore.”
While Thelma Jeffry finished her coffee, she continued to rumble about how the world had gone to the dogs, and things weren’t like that in her day, and how she feared for the next generation. She finished up her tirade with a bit about Madonna’s sex book, on which she seemed curiously well informed. Eventually she got to the point of the visit.
“I just dropped by to bring you your check, Jane. I’d best be on my way. I’m giving a talk at my club luncheon today and I need to refresh myself on my notes.“ She shrugged into her suit jacket and fished a large green check out of her purse to hand to Jane.
Jane’s late (and progressively less lamented) husband Steve had been a partner in the Jeffry family’s small chain of
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