by Carol Novack
Hello, mother. Is that you? Of course, you only had one of me. Who else would I be? You could be what's her name. But my name is the same as it's always been. Samantha. Same as? Sam? Whatever you like. No what did you say? I said SAME AS. No I mean what did you say your name is the same as? I told you. Don't yell at me. You're so impatient. But you don't hear me. What?
Forget it. It's unimportant. A portent of what? No, I said FORGET IT! Say it again, slowly and louder. You never use your hearing aid. My what? I abuse my earring? No. I didn't say that. Say it again, slowly and louder. Say what? Say what you were saying about same as your name. Slowly. Alright.
S-a-m-e-a -s-a-l-w-a-y-s. All in the family? No. Forget it. It's unimportant. What portent? No. Tell me what you did today. Same as always. I forget. I lost a tooth and went to the dentist. Waited hours. There are rain clouds gathering. The weather is difficult. I lost another tooth. You just said that. I did? That was last week, mother. Oh. So what's new with you? Same, no news. Here too, the clouds are clotting the sky. They're doing what to the eye? The eye's going to have a stroke. What joke? I said a STROKE. Spell it. S as in stinky, T as in torture, R as in rancid, O as in obfuscate, K as in kleptomaniac and E as in eggplant. Oh. As in sun or heat stroke? Right. Rain stroke, stroke of bad luck. Terrible luck. Tragic, in fact. I don't understand. I was being metaphorical. Forget it. Oracle? No. Unimportant. Say it again. I forget what I said now. Makes no difference. Was anyone there today? Nobody was here today, same as always since he died. Alone in all ways, nowadays the same, no news, nobody. Are you sure? Yes, I'm sure. I thought maybe …. What's her name maybe. Yes, wasn't she there? Right, she was here. But I want to be alone. What did you do? We took a walk, always the same block. But the weather was troublesome. Storm clouds conspired like gangrene. A sign. The mother of all tsunami's is coming. Who told you that? Who’s an old bat? No. WHO? Oh I forget where I heard it. Somewhere. Maybe PBS? Guess? I can't guess. People say a lot of things you can't believe. But the icebergs are melting. What? Mice are melting? No.. ICE BERGS. Oh. No need to shout. Why do you always question? Everything I say you question, question, question. What's the question? I asked why you question me. Always question me. But I didn't. I asked for a source. Remorse? Yes, remorse. I'm sorry. Never again. The tsunami is coming. Salami? No. Forget it. Say it again. Louder. SALAMI! The salami is coming. Oh. Yes. What did you eat today? I forgot to ask. I don't remember. Maybe same as yesterday. Pastrami? No, bad for the heart. I think linguini with clam sauce, no butter, same as yesterday. Olive oil. Say it again. Say what again? I forget what I said. I forget what you said. Same as what you said before? No, same as what I said before you said I said it. What? What? Say it again. I ate linguini. I think. Same as always. The food is bland. I have no interest. Today, you asked? No. I don't think so. Nobody cooks for me. I'm all alone. Doesn't what's her name? Oh yes, sometimes. I'm sorry I can't cook for you. Too much work. What did you say? Jerk? No, I said sorry I can't. I know you're busy. Yes, busy. Same as always.