Too Late

This is a work in progress. This work has been in progress for about seven years now. Cynthia kept asking to read it and I kept saying things like, "Frank Peebles just went through it and made suggestions that I'd like to incorporate. John just did another edit. Bruce Serafin gave me an idea for the plot, how I can glue the stories together to make more sense."

Now it is too late for Cynthia to read it. But I will finish it as a dedication to her, my first publisher.

The setting is winter in Winnipeg. The heroine, a laboratory technologist, is trying, with her sibling, a lineman for the telephone company, to construct an obituary for their mother to give to the newspaper. Janice is a sibling, crippled and emotionally unstable.


"Okay," Brett says to Connie when he finally gets off the phone. "We need an obituary. I've gotta call the office and then the kids' coaches. We need it today."

He passes her some paper and a pen.

Brett and Denise like to take part in their children's activities. Besides working at the school occasionally, they help run the Little League baseball teams. Brett especially likes to be the boss. Before the embezzlement charge, they ran the hockey too. It was a phony charge Brett had explained. They wanted him out so that someone else could take over.

As Connie writes, Denise opens a bottle of mineral water and pours some for the three of them. She sighs, standing behind Connie. Brett dials another number.

"You're starting to get gray hair," she says to Connie. "You should use a rinse."

"I couldn't be bothered," Connie answers. "Besides, there's mercury in rinses. The metal would get into my brain and my brain's all I've got left."

Connie continues writing and doesn't look up from her paper until she's finished. Then she reads, solemnly, quietly.

"Born in Hyas, Saskatchewan, (Carol) C-a-r-o-l - was the last surviving child of Adam and Pauline Kwizak, sister of Michael and twin sister of Karen."

"You've got it wrong," Brett interjects, phone receiver glued to his ear waiting for an answer on the other end. Brett's a multi tasker. "It should be (Coral) C-o-r-a-l."

"A stupid name. A polyp that swims around for a while and then turns to stone."

"That's her name," Brett says with determination.

"It goes better with Lansdowne than Carol," Denise offers in a tone that suggests that she was told this by Coral.

"Coral, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War ll and in 1951 she married Gordon Lansdowne, a post war immigrant."

"You can't put that in," Brett frowns. He has just dialed another number and after pushing numbers on cue, is again waiting.

"Okay, a fucking immigrant," Connie says, correcting her written work. "That's how Old Gord would put it. Fucking immigrant. But listen until I'm finished. She was the proud mother of three surviving children; Connie, prize-winning fecal-fat tester, Brett, lineman who climbed too high, and Janice, rape and suicide specialist."

Brett moans and puts down the telephone before there is an answer. Denise smirks. Connie continues, "Internment will be in July when the ground thaws. In lieu of flowers, Coral requested donations be made to the Free Smoker's Society."

Denise laughs for the first time since Connie has arrived. "Let's send it in," she says.