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Betsy Block


A Dirty Short Story with a Clean Ending

A Dirty Short Story with a Clean Ending
If you live in the Boston area, here's a heads-up for a show that's even early enough for extra-tired mamas and papas. It's at 7:30 p.m., March 3, at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway in Somerville, Mass. Combining intelligent political humor with great "unpop" music in one festive event. Hope to see you there!

Chapter One: Car Wash
We begin with a Honda Odyssey (which our heroine despises because not only is it a minivan, which is bad enough, but the side doors constantly get stuck shut, constituting reprehensible negligence on Honda's part).

A Honda minivan, of course, is a bad way to start any story.

Then, we move onto something maybe one step above a Honda minivan, maybe not: Our heroine finds herself at a car wash pumping quarters into a do-it-yourself car vacuum machine. She needs to vacuum out her minivan. Does it get any worse than this? Unfortunately, the answer is: yes. It does get worse ...

Chapter Two: Jeans
Our heroine is wearing jeans that are slung low across her hips, not because she is fashionable, not because she is fly, but because she can't tolerate anything tight on her stomach anymore. She's comfortable in her low-cut jeans, and that's what matters most to a middle-aged mother of two.

Or so they say.

Chapter Three: The Man
There is always a frisson of excitement when the vacuum starts up because the quarters give her just a few minutes to suck it all up, and there's so very much to be sucked up. (If only she could direct it toward her thoughts sometimes.)

There is frenetic bending and twisting and reaching into back corners, and - she looks up and catches a man who works at the car wash leaning against a wall, watching her. He is middle-aged himself, balding, and has obviously been checking out her jeans as she bends, stretches, vacuums and vacuums.

She feels, as usual, a little disgusted and slightly amused, but also: simpatico.

She bets he didn't dream of growing up and getting a lousy job at a stinking car wash. Nor did she dream of reaching middle age (middle age!) only to bend over, in jeans that are riding slightly too low because her maternal stomach is sensitive, to clean out a filthy minivan that she hates. She shrugs, finishes up and leaves.

Chapter Four: Bad Milk
She had been on her way to the gourmet "farm store" when she had stopped to vacuum her car. She needs some fruit and milk for when guests stop by later in the day. In a store like this, she expects the milk (from a local farm, naturally) to be pure, but the milk doesn't say it's hormone-free, so she asks.

It isn't.

She looks carefully until she finds a small, drug-free container of milk. Then she spots some good cream and gets some of that, too, mostly because it looks so clean. Something clean sounds perfect right about now.

The End.

Strawberries 'n Cream

The only way to make this work on a day full of leering men and drugged milk and pesticide-laden fruit is to buy as clean as you can and try to start over again tomorrow.