Summer 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 3 FictionJuly 1, 2008 |

Wasps

When things became less predictable, Richard arranged for a transfer to the middle of the country. We bought a fortress on a hill, a Victorian brick mansion that overlooked the city. Only the baby's room was unfinished. The crib, of rare wood with hand carvings, was in pieces in a box propped against the wall. A yellow wall, for either sex. We didn't want to know what we were getting. I often went to the baby's room to examine the clothing, bedding, and toys I'd bought through catalogs. I was sitting by the window watching wasps float from the roof line and listening to a noise, a sort of scratching, coming through the ceiling, faint but unmistakable, when Inez knocked. It was three, the time she usually left. I said, "Come in," and she opened the door. She said, "I need to…" "Ssh, Inez, listen! Do you hear it? That noise I told you about?" She stood very still for a moment. "I think I hear it." Inez had excellent bone structure and a shiny black ponytail.

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