Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Female Residence"


“Ah, gee, Betsy,” said Thad. “I wish I could come up for a while. Just for a cup of coffee.”

“You know Mrs. Jamieson doesn’t permit us to bring gentleman visitors to our rooms.”

“Yeah, I know, Betsy, but gee.”

“Anyway I never drink coffee this late at night.”

“We wouldn’t have to drink coffee,” said Thad.

“What do you mean by that.”

“Well, we could drink soda pop.”

“Goodnight, Thad.”

“Goodnight, Betsy. What about tomorrow night? There’s that new Cocteau film at the Thalia. It’s supposed to be quite artistic. What do you think?”

“Pardon me?”

“Tomorrow night?”

“Yes?”

“Cocteau film? At the Thalia?”

“What about it?”

“I was just asking if you, uh --”

Betsy yawned, deeply.

“Oh, excuse me,” she said. “I’m just all in. Goodnight, Brad.”

“Thad.”

“Thad I mean. Goodnight.”

Thad swiftly got the door and opened it for her.

“Goodnight, Betsy!”

Yawning again, patting her mouth with her white-gloved hand, Betsy walked through the door and into the lobby.

“I’ll ring you tomorrow,” called Thad, hopefully, as the door closed.

Mrs. Slivotitz was behind the desk, and a slender girl in grey sat with her legs crossed on the most comfy armchair, smoking a cigarette and reading a movie magazine. As Betsy walked past her on the way to the elevator the girl spoke without looking up from her magazine.

“What a drip!”

“Pardon me?” said Betsy, stopping, trying to stifle another yawn.

“I said what a drip,” said the girl, looking up from her magazine.

“Who?”

“Your boyfriend out there.”

“Oh,” said Betsy, and she held in yet another yawn, blinking her thick dark eyelashes. “Brad.”


Female Residence, by “Horatia P. Stevenson” (Horace P. Sternwall); a Pyramid paperback original, 1952.

(Scroll down the right-hand column of this page to find a listing of links to the opening passages of some other fine but sadly out-of-print novels by Horace P. Sternwall.)

1 comment:

kathleenmaher said...

People yawn mostly because they're bored, not tired (so says I.) It's a contagious act--I've see that in church. One person yawns and it ripples along down one pew after another.