by Kenneth Pobo

Content Warnings: None

Lenny and Keith don’t go out much since it’s expensive, and it’s more fun to stay at home watching any one of eighty Bette Davis movies. They know many of the lines by heart. Lenny’s favourite is The Little Foxes, where Bette watches her husband die. Keith’s favourite is Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, where Bette pushes a planter onto the heads of her two tormentors. 

While they enjoy their martinis – Keith’s with an olive, Lenny’s totally plain – they overhear a spirited conversation in the booth behind them. 

‘I hear that Eleanor Roosevelt served grim dinners at the White House,’ a woman says, rapping the table. ‘Mrs. Hoover served great dinners, but that Eleanor, well, well, well.’ A man responds that he never liked Eleanor but barely remembers Mrs. Hoover.

Lenny thinks about the last argument he and Keith had – over whether it’s better to clip coupons or not. It escalated. Unpleasant things got said. After an hour of the silent treatment, it ended. Like a pop-up summer storm that the weather people hadn’t foreseen. 

The couple behind them leave. They look like rowboats about to tip over. Lenny tells Keith he hopes the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt is resting easy and eating whatever she likes in whatever heaven she prefers. Keith plays footsie under the table until the main course comes – roast duck, something at which Eleanor would flinch if she saw it. 

Kenneth Pobo: 

Kenneth Pobo has a chapbook of micro-fiction from Deadly Chaps called Tiny Torn Maps. His work has appeared in: Ink, Sweat & Tears, Brittle Star, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.