Friday, January 29, 2010

Fragment No. 6

Lucy squinted at the pacifier. It lay on a small, marble-topped table right inside the front door. It was made of translucent plastic and rubber, clear as glass and sleek as a bullet. It even had a protective cover that snapped over the nipple to keep it clean. Lucy had never seen one of those before. In her house, pacifiers had come in pastel pinks or blues or greens or yellows, whatever was in the pack. When one fell on the floor, mom would rinse it off in the sink. Or tell the dog to fetch if she was in a humorous mood.

Ms. Myers came around the corner, fussing with an earring, her three-inch heels clacking against the travertine as she strode. "Dating," Lucy heard her mutter, "is so inefficient." Then Ms. Myers looked up and saw her and said, "Ah, good, you're here. And early, too. Now, I know Cindy Teitsworth said you were the best babysitter she'd ever had. But I am not Cindy. I have certain standards. I've left Tommy's vital statistics, schedule and nutrition chart in the kitchen. If he varies from any of them at all -- and I mean at all -- I want you to call. Do you understand?"

Lucy nodded slowly.

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