Virgie Mae's Viewpoint of the Dinner Part

The neighbor lady next door, I believe her name is Louise or Lou Ann or something like that, had called and asked me if she could use my portable television. I had told her yes, that she could borrow it. After all, it’s not like Edna could watch it. And what would I do with it? I don’t know what happened to her television, though.

I remember that she used to have one. In the evenings, I always could look out my bedroom window, which looked right into her living room complete with a nice-sized television, and see her and that one-legged husband of hers sitting down acting like the other didn’t exist. Or at least, that’s what it looked like. Well, anyways, Enda and I were sitting in the front room, waiting for the neighbor lady to come get the television. I was getting rather annoyed because it was getting late and she still hadn’t come gotten the television.

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About fifteen minutes later than the time she had wanted the television, the phone rang. It was the neighbor lady, who said her name was in fact Loud Ann, wanting to know where we were. I told her we were right at home waiting for her to come get the television, like we were supposed to. After about ten minutes and four phone calls, we established that Enda and I were invited to dinner at her house and to come over with the television. I led Edna, who was dressed in red like always and carrying the television, to Lou Ann’s house.

A young girl named Taylor who apparently lives with Lou Ann answered the door. Taylor had long, black hair which was parted on one side. She looked almost elegant in her black satin dress. However, it was way too tight in my opinion. I guess there was still some confusion about what was supposed to happen, because Lou Ann had left the house to meet us at our house and bring us over.

Taylor brought Edna and I into the living room. The room was much too small for all the chaos that was going on. I tried to lead Edna to safe spot to sit down. There was Lou Ann’s baby boy, Dwayne Ray, laying on the floor. The baby was crying but no one seemed to notice. A little Indian child sat near him.

I was revolted to see that she was naked, wearing only a diaper. Taylor was rushing around, trying to hook up the television. To make matters worse, she didn’t even look like she knew what she was doing. It was about 6:30, the six o’clock news half over, by the time Taylor finally found the right channel. A kind-looking lady’s face appeared in black and white on the screen. She said something about people’s lives being in danger and then something else about illegal immigrants and dope peddlers.

An important looking man with a tie and microphone interviewed her. I didn’t really listen to this nonsense-I was telling anyone who’d listen that I needed a good chair or else my back would go out. They were all so rude, no one getting up and getting me a good chair. The sound of the back door interrupted my monologue about my back. Lou Ann, looking rather frantic, called out saying how we weren’t home.

I told her we were right here in her own house. I don’t understand how she could have been so confused about these things after four phone calls in ten minutes. Edna, always the polite one, asked about this program they wished to see and apologized for coming late. I don’t see why she apologized, it was their own fault for not getting the details of tonight down ahead of time. Taylor said that little thirty-second interview was what they brought us over for.

She mentioned something about a friend of theirs. I told everyone who would listen that I could only make out something about illegal aliens and dope peddlers. I also demanded that someone got me a pillow for my back. I noticed Lou Ann’s cat squatting in the other room as a dirty smell drifted toward me. “Your cat just made dirt in the other room,” I told Lou Ann. Lou Ann rushed to put the cat out and Taylor ran to get me a cushion.

As Taylor handed me the cushion, she drew my attention to an Indian looking couple I hadn’t noticed before. She introduced them as Steven and Hope. I asked about the naked Indian child. I assumed she was theirs, as they both looked like Indians. Steven told me that they hadn’t any children and the child ended up being Taylor’s. Who would have guessed? Taylor also gave me a little lip and said that the child was in fact a wild Indian.

Well, that is what I said, isn’t it? Taylor left to go get dinner ready. Hope followed soon after. A little while later, and we were all settled down in the kitchen ready for dinner. Steven had brought us all chopsticks. “A gift for the dishwasher,” he said.

I looked at Edna, wondering how she’d take this new obstacle. She handled it politely, as Edna always does, thanking Steven for the gift but saying that she’d rather stick with what she knows, the fork. I mentioned that I wasn’t one for such foolishness either. Edna corrected me, saying that she didn’t call it foolishness. Well, I still believe it is foolishness.

Everyone else tried to use their chopsticks. They were like children trying to catch a toad; the food just kept getting out of the chopsticks’ grasp. Steven, the chopstick expert, demonstrated on the correct way to use the foreign tools. Steven told us how he was the dishwasher for a Chinese restaurant. Apparently, the five-year old girl was the only one in the entire family who spoke English; the rest spoke only Chinese. Such a disgrace.

“Before you know it the whole world will be here jibbering and jabbering till we won’t know it’s America,” I made my opinion known. Edna told me to mind my manners. “Well, it’s the truth. They ought to stay put in their own dirt, not come here taking up jobs,” I said to them all. A sudden movement drew my eyes across the table to Taylor. She looked as if she was struggling with herself.

Hope brought everyone’s attention to the Indian child who had a piece of pineapple trapped in her chopsticks, making its way to her mouth. Suddenly, it flew out of the chopsticks and out of her reach. Steven took the crying child into his lap. He told us an Indian story about heaven and hell. Basically, he said there was a room with a lot of food.

Heaven and hell both have that room. The difference is that in heaven they are fat, or just well-fed, and in hell they are starving. It made absolutely no sense. Stupid Indian stories. He then took his chopsticks and gave the wild Indian a piece of pineapple.

I wonder if he’s all there..