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Fiction: 1950s

Fiction of the Day

Guests

By Mary Terrier

The month after our mother died, our father began bringing women home. It felt like a behind-her-back kind of operation. “I’m going to have a guest over tonight,” is what he would say. 

David and I stayed out in the living room, turned up cartoons, burned toast, kicked our feet up over our heads. I worked long division. At some point a woman would emerge to drink a glass of water or fix her hair in the kitchen window’s dark reflection.

The guests left behind nubs of lipstick in gold tubes and leftover food, paper pouches of cold french fries, chicken legs in clamshell Styrofoam boxes. They left tampons blooming through toilet paper in the trash can, like tiny mice they’d killed, the cotton tails pink with blood.

 

The McCabes

By William Styron

It all came about like this. Poppy, whose religious activity had been intense all through the Lenten season (at times Cass had thought that if she brought one more fish into the house he would throttle her), reached a kind of peak of fervour during Holy Week; unremittingly, she had addressed herself to all sorts of complicated rites and offices, in pouring rain dashing out to see the various Stations—whatever that meant—and it was at one of these, Cass knew not where—at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, perhaps, or that other one, with the Giotto fresco, San Giovanni in Laterano—that she encountered an American couple, the McCabes.