October 29, 2009

There Be Circles (part 2 - by Margaret Ullrich)

One story - oh, it couldn't be more than a local urban legend - is that Sally, a young woman new to the north end, met Bethany from the cul de sac, when they were both out walking their dogs. The dogs, both healthy puppies, took to each other and started playing together. Well, you know how it is. The pups were on their leashes so while the dogs played, the women chatted. They were both about the same age, so they had a few things in common. They'd walk and chat about work, husbands, kids, the usual stuff.

Well, as sometimes happens, the economy took a downturn and Sally's husband lost his job. Bethany offered Sally the usual tea and sympathy and said she'd pray for them. Sally didn't think the prayers would make much difference but she thanked Bethany and didn't give it another thought. Within a few days Sally's husband got a job at twice his former pay. Well, Sally was thrilled and phoned Bethany to tell her the good news.

Now, here's where the story gets a bit hazy. It seems Bethany told Sally that she had to do certain things. Sally was a Catholic and she was used to things like saying a rosary or publishing a notice of thanksgiving to St. Jude. But, what Bethany said struck Sally as being, well, a little odd. Sally said sure, no problem, she'd do them. But she didn't. Sally couldn't take what Bethany said - things like retribution - seriously.

A month went by. Sally felt a little funny when she bumped into Bethany. She had the oddest feeling that Bethany knew she hadn't done any of those things. Well, Sally couldn't really trust her feelings. She'd just found out she was pregnant and you know what that can do to a woman's perceptions.

Then things started going wrong. First Sally's freezer went off. It was the strangest thing. Sally opened the lid and the stench nearly knocked her out. All the meat had gone bad. Yet the other food was fine and the freezer was cold. None of the clocks were flashing 12, so Sally knew it wasn't a blackout. The repairman said there was nothing wrong. Sally figured it was just one of those things and bought fresh meat.

A few days later, Sally's husband was downsized out his job. Well, the economy was a roller coaster. Then Sally's puppy was found dead under a bush. The vet couldn't explain how a healthy puppy could die like that. No poison, it hadn't been sick, no explanation. Then Sally miscarried. The doctor reassured her. It happens all the time, probably for the best, Sally was still young, nothing's wrong, probably stress.

Sally was distracted and almost didn't recognize Bethany when she bumped into her on the way to the market. Sally told her about how things had taken a turn for the worst.

Bethany listened without comment. After a long pause, Bethany gave Sally a cold stare and said, "What did you expect? You didn't do as you were told."

And, with that, Bethany just walked away.


Have a great weekend. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

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