CHAPTER 3 of The Island Country
Eunice Smith, “Burner of Roasts”, five-foot-four and weighing under a hundred pounds, acorn hairdo, fast-talker, sometimes frozen in place and other times zipping around the house like the old Chaplin pictures, burst into the house and began going in and out of rooms, looking under beds, searching the basement, lifting couch cushions, until finally locating the rusted Maxwell House coffee can on the kitchen counter.
She removed the lid, revealing a rainbow of pills prescribed by Dr. Peterson to treat her “condition”. She scooped a handful and dropped them on the counter, then separated them by color. The few violets and indigos she combined into a pile of purples. There were plenty of reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and a few blues.
She separated two of each color and moved them into a single pile, then scooped the excess from the counter and dropped them back into the can and replaced the lid.
She opened the refrigerator and removed the bottle of Tropicana orange juice and placed it on the counter.
“Eunice,” said the girl on the label, Tropic-Ana, shaking her grass skirt, causing an orange to fall from the bowl atop her head, “drinking glasses are dangerous. You should drink straight from the bottle.”
“Oh-kay!” Eunice said, then twisted off the lid. She scooped the pills from the formica and looked at them in her palm.
“You can do it, Eunice!” Tropic-Ana cheered, swinging her fist.
“Oh-kay!” Eunice said, then threw the pills into her mouth and gulped them down with the juice, some dribbling down her chin.
“Now put me back, please,” Tropic-Ana said.
After putting the bottle back in the fridge, she picked up the Maxwell House can and brought it into the living room. She stuffed it between two couch cushions, looked around, pulled it out, brought it back into the kitchen, and placed it in the exact spot on the counter it had been. She then turned and headed out the front door.
She climbed into the Buick and, for the next three hours, sat motionless with both hands on the steering wheel.
She then burst into the house and began going in and out of rooms, looking under beds, searching the basement, and lifting couch cushions, until finally locating the rusted Maxwell House coffee can on the kitchen counter. ▪