"That would be nice, wouldn't it? For time to stand still?"
They stand, still and unmoving, looking down upon the pool. Salt water, like an ocean.
Marlene sees the police car arrive at Cathy's house, and heads outside. A young cop has Adam by the arm, but his parents aren't home. "He got caught trying to shoplift a video game system from Walmart. It's his first offense so the store's not pressing charges."
This is a fictional story; in truth, Walmart is one of the most litigious stores there is, petty crimes and employment theft especially. It has to be, given the circumstances. Given class. "Thank you, officer. I'll deal with him. I'm his grandma." Adam protests, and she shuts him up, steely enough that the cop accedes: "I'm as embarrassed to say it as you are to hear it," she says, grabbing at his arms and dragging him home.
Adam's confused by this, but Marlene is straight with him, as ever: "I'm saving your mom from having to put up with her pain-in-the-ass son again." Their alliance, now, will be a secret. Call it blackmail, call it what you want, but Marlene is taking on Cathy's burdens for the first time in a long time. Adam needs a summer job, Adam needs a savior. Adam needs a swift kick. Marlene needs somebody to kick. Marlene loves Cathy Jamison.
"I expect you at my house every day. Mowing, trimming, painting. I'll pay you a fair wage, you'll stay out of trouble, and maybe you can buy that video game you thought was important enough to steal." And if he declines, she glints? "Don't make me call the cops back here and tell 'em you pushed an old lady. I'm onto your crap."
Amanda Montgomery makes her way to the salt-water pool in the backyard, but it's Cathy that drops the lobster in the water. It's a warm day, but not boiling; he sinks slowly and she wonders if and how he can survive. Down to the bottom, every hope riding on this moment at this moment, down through the glassy water and all the way to the bottom. She can't blink, for a moment, watching him for movement. And the lobster begins to crawl, across the floor, searching out his new home.
Vivian, in a black-piped pink suit, well-tailored, shows Dr. Miller into the fabulous master bedroom, with its amazing view of the pool. In which, she's shocked to explain, Amanda Montgomery is now floating, feeling everything and nothing, dressed to the nines in a look that is classic and elegant, that transitions easily from day to night but less easily amphibious. She can't see the lobster, from this angle. The way he dances.