by Nigel Parr
Christiansen sipped her tea and smoothed the skirt
of her tailored, chambray dress. With a purpose in
mind, she smiled coyly and ran a perfectly manicured
red fingernail around the periphery of her tea cup.
Though barely beyond her teenage years, Amanda was
already taking on the corseted deportment and
presumptuous airs of a middle-aged matron. She glanced
across her parlor at her younger sister. "So, tell me,
Pamela, has your suitor proposed yet?"
"Not yet," said the teenager. "But he will."
"I see," teased Amanda. "So he believes a fine
woman is like a fine wine, then?"
Amanda beamed with delight. "Perhaps you should
wait, after all. For a different kind of man. Perhaps
you're more inclined towards..." Amanda admired her
enormous diamond ring. "...the beer hall type. A cheap
and brutish arm-chair tyrant! But I never thought you
were the kind to take orders, little sister. Not from
a man. What's happened to our impertinent little girl?
I think we both know that your Eddie will never muster
the temerity to propose."
"So what would you do?"
"I think you know very well what I would do."
Pam glared at her older sister, who shot back a
"Why not bring him over here for dinner?"
"I want to marry him, not have him skinned
Amanda laughed. "Little old me? A demure
housewife?" She primped her brunette chignon and gave
a mock fluttering of her eyes.
"You're anything but. We don't want to scare him
Amanda lit up a cigarette. "And here I thought you
knew all about the birds and the bees, sister. A queen
bee doesn't suffer her suitors. A queen bee prizes her
honey, and gives it out in dribbles to keep them
wanting. And a queen bee doesn't hesitate to sting
them, straight up the behind, when they -- "
"What about Henry?"
"What about him?"
"Will he be here?"
"Where else would he be? He'll be in the kitchen,
doing as he's told. I'll probably send him to bed --
after he does the dishes."
"Amanda. You won't go too far, will you?"
"All's fair in war and marriage, dear. The sooner
you learn that, the better." She stubbed out her
cigarette. "Friday night, then?"