Women Hold the Cards

1950's KitchenCarol balanced the thick slice of chocolate cake on a spatula waiting for Phyllis to hold up the plate.

“You think she wants ice cream with this?”

“Of course,” Phyllis said, clenching her cigarette between her teeth.

Blanche backed in through the swinging door with an empty platter in her hands.

“Fred is loosing his shirt out there.”

“I hope Bob cleans him out,” Carol said.

“That’s real nice, Carol,” Blanche turned and set platter in the sink full of suds.

“He promised me one of those televisions. You know, in the walnut console, like in Tipton’s window.”

“So you get a TV and I get to listen to more of Fred’s squawking?” Blanche asked crossing her arms in front of her.

“You come over whenever you like. Bring your ironing and we could watch soap operas while the men are at work,” Carol said.

Blanche pulled out a chair and sat down next to Phyllis at the Formica table. She ran her manicured finger across the chrome trim.

“Bob’s been buying you a lot of new things lately.”

“Has he been a bad boy again?” Phyllis asked. She looked in Carol’s eyes, raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips.

They got nothing, but Carol’s best poker face in return.

Blanche dug her fork into the cake. “Mmm.”

“I told her you’d want ice cream.” Phyllis scooped a round ball of vanilla and dropped it beside the slice with a dull thud.

“Sure. Who doesn’t want ice cream with chocolate cake?” Blanche said.

“Did you notice the new fella working at Tipton’s?” Phyllis asked.

“He’s from Milwaukee. Been in town less than a month,” Carol said, sipping her coffee.

“You sure know a lot about him.” Phyllis said, taking another drag on her cigarette.

“He’s been showing me the console,” she said, her red lips turning up at the ends.




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