1. If you had to choose between being wealthy and being attractive…

2. We watch the puppet show to see the strings

3. Look what you made me do


If I ever have to choose between wealth and beauty, there’ll be no argument at all—I choose intelligence. Okay, that wasn’t on the list, but I figure I’m smart enough to add it. So there.

Sure, I’d like to have a little more money. I was saying so to Mrs. Monahan just the other day.

“I’d really, really like to have one of those new gadgets that the kids are all carrying around these days. I don’t know what you call ’em but it seems like they can do everything from design your grocery list to find you a husband. But they’re outside my budget, that’s for sure.

Mrs. Monahan kept right on crocheting even though that afghan would have covered her bedroom floor with a little left over. She glanced up at me for a moment and turned her eyes right back to the yellow yarn.

“I don’t know what you’d do with another husband, Mabel,” she growled. The growl wasn’t nasty, it was just forty some years of cigarettes.

I never smoked, myself, but two of my husbands did. Killed ’em both in one way or another. One got the emphysema and the other one got mugged on his way to the liquor store to buy his Lucky Strikes. Neither one of ’em left me a bit of money, either.

“I ain’t really lookin’.” I told Mrs. Monahan. “It’d be nice, though, to know there was someplace other than Ezekiel Baptist Church that might offer some suitable specimen if I was lookin’. I hear you can find pictures and all on that little TV screen on those machines.

Mrs. Monahan shook her head as she swatted at a fly. We were sittin’ out on her porch, because of the smelly smoke inside her trailer, just her and me and that old puny dog she calls Princess. Sugar cookies and lemonade sat on a plastic table between us.

“Well,” she said, “I figure I’ve done fine for eighty some years without the help of those things. I have my Bible and my dog and a place to lay down my head at night. What more do I need? What more do you, come to that?” She gave Princess a little bit of affection with her left foot; the dog responded with a yelp all out of proportion to her size and jumped sideways at me.

Before I knew it I had lemonade all down my legs.