The Big C

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Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
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Consider the Lobster

"Sometimes kids just need a swift kick in the pants," Marlene opines. Does she have children? Did she have? She has Thomas. Hopefully that's all; she's already weathered one death, she's preparing herself for at least one more. Cathy nods, though; she's caged herself in with this dilemma, now that she has no time left. It was a glass cage she didn't even see, until it was too late: All she wants to do is delight in her son, teach him to be a strong enough person to survive her, and all she sees is screaming and slamming doors.

Marlene loves nothing more than to kick people in the pants, swiftly. The delivery men arrive, with a cherry-red convertible on a truck; Marlene is sort of horrified, but Cathy is delighted. She sits outside in it, imagining Amanda Montgomery. What she is up to these days. She found a look and stayed with it, effortlessly; she fell apart over the years, hanging desperately on, like Rugby Slut; she found the glass walls had always been around her, she felt trapped; she was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma; she wasn't diagnosed with anything; she hated her husband; she loves her husband and their three blonde children; she became uninteresting; she was never that interesting.

Cathy's brother Sean, sweating and wild-eyed, approaches her in her reverie: Sitting in it, smelling its scent, she sees her brother Sean, carrying her recycling away. She's done it wrong again; she can't stop smiling at him.

"Things don't get recycled because you feel guilty throwing them in the trash!"

Cathy apologizes, she smiles, and Sean finally notices her car. "Oh, my sweet Satan. Is this weapon yours?" She can't believe it herself: She walked onto the lot, she bought it, they delivered it. He calls her "gas whore," again and again, interrupting her narrative as she tries to explain the part of it he'll understand. Just behind the car, just on the other side of it where he can't see, she's becoming more like him. She's coming home to him.

"I wanted to do something impulsive. Do you understand? This is the first major purchase that I have made without consulting Consumer Reports for three months beforehand, and then agonizing that I'd made a mistake for three months afterwards."

He doesn't hear a word. She winds down. But wait, though. Wild-eyed, and sweating. "Wait a minute, why are you here? In my neighborhood? You've never recycled my recyclables. Did you come here to see me?" She beams; she readjusts her tone from joy to a sardonic tease, so he won't turn on her: "Are you in need of a sis fix?"

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The Big C

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