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Zeala had never been known for her silence. On the contrary, she loved to talk. Loved to spin a yarn and have a good laugh. She filled a room with her chatter, and when there was no one to talk to, she filled the room with sound. The radio. The record player. The TV. There was always something running in the background. A comfortable cushion of sound. What Zeala feared was the silence. To be silenced and have no voice.

She remembered as a little girl, the agonizing hours spent at Sunday school, praying in silence. The seconds and minutes had been a torture, a little slice of hell. And she had often wondered if Sunday school, was in fact hell on earth, designed to torture the life out of little children. Or perhaps it was to prepare them for the inevitable dullness of the after life. She wondered lots of things, sometimes out loud, and it frequently got her in trouble.
Like the time she wondered if young Robby Brasket would be rather good looking if he weren’t so round. He had not taken that well. Or the time she had informed the paster that his pate tasted like cat food and wasn’t fit for human consumption. She still had a mark on her bottom from that, and it happened more than 50 years ago.

No, being quiet was not for Zeala. Silence was torture. Sound was a heaven. So she sang, she chattered, she let her opinion fly like a whip across the uninitiated. And on the fateful day in question, she let it fly at that doctor who dared to tell her to be quiet, while he told her the facts of death.

“Young man,” she said, “I have seen the likes of you come and go from when I worked as a nurse during the war, through 5 snot nosed little children, and let me tell you. You don’t know shit. You can take your diagnosis, and your puffed up self-importance and stick it where the sun don’t shine. Nobody tells me to be quiet.”
“Mrs Bain, I’m only asking you to listen.”
“To what? the doom and gloom. The inevitable fact of my terminal condition. I know perfectly what this means. I’ve held enough hands in the last minutes to understand. what you can do is write me a script from some damn fine pain medications, the good stuff mind you, and get the hell out of my way.” She snatched the piece of paper from his hands and stormed out the room. He had wanted her to weep, to beg for answer. She knew the type. So full of their own brilliance they want the world to bow at their feet. Schooling was not an indication of intelligence, it was an indication of opportunity.

No, she knew exactly what this meant. It meant she should ring up Robby and tell him his kid was a moron and had a little too much weight on his frame.


Ha! Zeala is so funny. What a great character.

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