Myrtle Beet was done making a cardboard violin.
Nobody was there to ask her about it, the long hours it
took to construct and paint and string. While it rested
like an elegant duck on her counter top, she could admire
it and breathe all the satisfaction she needed. What a
marvelous and perfect imitation, she had even detailed
the wood grain, she knew anybody looking at it would
never know. She smiled then at that. Yes, there was one
who would know. Soon enough.
She reached and pulled the heavy black telephone
across closer to her. A trembling finger found the numbers
and dialed them. It hadn’t been easy keeping arthritis and
old age at bay while she built the violin.
“Hello,” she said when the ring turned into him.
“Hello Leonard, it’s Myrtle Beet. How are you dear?” In
the pause, the clock in the kitchen wall tocked. “Well,” she
said, “Why don’t you come over here. I have a present
for you.” She smiled. “Yes, alright. See you soon.” She
hung up and watched the violin, pleased with herself.
In a minute, the apartment door started to scratch
into a couple of knocks.
Myrtle stood up slow, straightened her dress and
the apron she wore. She glanced at the violin again, she
could almost hear it already.
She put her hand around the glass diamond door
knob and turned.
The man who spent all of his time in the apartment
next door stood there. He was frail and gray from lack
of sun and wind and rain, he was Leonard the cardboard
Bird Dog Publishing, 2009