Margie sits back on the sofa in the family room and rubs her feet. The digitized tones of Beethoven's Fifth tell her that she's got a phone call. She wedges her phone between her chin and shoulder and squeezes the remote to turn the volume down with her other hand.
"Oh hello, sweetie. No, it's not a bad time. The little ones are down for their nap and I'm just watching my stories."
On Margie's phone, a voice is questioning.
"They're not too bad. Not like those little monsters I had last year."
On the television, two men are having a discussion in a lavishly appointed office. The older man wears a tailored suit and holds a glass a of whiskey. The younger is in a flannel shirt and jeans. The studio lights on his cheekbones make his face look like a waxen mask.
"Eternal Days is on right now. It's not my favorite, but it's okay. I'm not sure about this new guy they've got playing Andrew's son. He's pretty enough, in a generic kind of a way, but his acting … he might as well be a piece of furniture."
Margie shifts her weight to her other buttock and swaps the phone to her other ear. On the television, Andrew turns his back to his son and starts in on a monologue. His son is smiling. He shouldn't be smiling.
"Anyway, it's just a way to pass the time. What's going on with you? Did your brother have the surgery?"
On the television, Andrew's son is weighing a marble paperweight in his hand. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
"Oh that's so good to hear, I know you were worried. It's never … oh good Lord! He just … he smashed his head right in!"
Margie is sitting on the edge of the sofa, her body leaning forward. On the television, Andrew's head is a red waterfall. His son pulls him onto the top of the desk and turns him over, still smiling.
"My God, Laurie! I didn't know you could do that on daytime."
Margie is barely listening. On the television, Andrew's son has a knife. It looks as old as the world, and is not sharp. It is sharp enough to pierce the tailored suit. It is sharp enough to pierce Andrew.
"Laurie! I don't believe this! He killed him! On daytime! He killed him with a knife!"
Andrew's son is looking at the camera. Margie is pressed against the back of the sofa. Andrew's son is looking at Margie.
On the television, someone is selling detergent.
"I'm sorry, hon. It was just the damndest thing!"
On Margie's phone, a voice is chattering.
"It must be sweeps week."