Getting an Earful

And suddenly nothing. Nothing. Zip. Miranda Velositer wasn’t saying anything. Nada.

A typical hour with Miranda Velositer consisted of at least sixty-eight minutes— sometimes as much as eighty minutes—of monologue. Reggie Velositer would know. He has spent, by his own calculation, twenty-five million hours, give or take, with Miranda. Twenty-five million interminable hours, most of which were yak, yak, yak. From the minute they stepped from the alter and began greeting guests, until this morning, Miranda, even while sleeping, had displayed a huge capacity for extending time to ensure she had the last word. Well, as many words as she could, actually—which, come to think of it, usually came to the last word.

Even when she was ill, down flat on her back, Miranda managed to put in good sixty-eight, seventy minute hours. Reggie just lit her joint, which slowed her down a smidgen, and kept on nodding. But even weed didn’t slow her down much. Man, that woman did love to chatter.

But, this morning, the nothing. The nada; the Zip. Miranda was silent. There were sparrows in the willow outside the bedroom window. The wind whispered the fluttering leaves. Traffic murmured past out on 270. The refrigerator gurgled and hummed. The retro clock in the living room coughed a regular, tock-tock-tock.

But Miranda was silent. She lay on her pillow, silent mouth and eyes wide open, staring past ceiling, past roof, past stars, as if astonished at her nothing-to-say.

Miranda’s hand was cold and stiff. Reggie sat on the bed and held it for a while. Her hands danced like second tongues when she talked. He remembered that he’d often thought that as he watched her natter on.

“Well,” Reggie muttered, “I guess the angels are getting an earful.”

Then he called 911.

Then he waited with the horror of a most typical silence where an hour was only sixty infinitely eternal minutes and where only clocks, birds, automobiles, and fridges had anything to say.

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