Fall 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 4 FictionOctober 1, 2004 |

Seven Remedies

Positive Thinking There should be more fuss, some bold stroke by which the gods announce their interference. But every day begins the same way. One of the guys on the construction crew rings the bell at 7:30 A.M., when Laurel is still in her robe, and she has to run to the bedroom to get dressed. By the time Laurel or Sam coaxes their two daughters out the door to school, with Rachel swearing and slamming doors, as reluctant as her mother to face the day, the workers are already pounding at the massive beams that hold up the house, the exposed wood like blackened onionskin, soft and flaked by rot. The dismantling of the back wall has cracked what little Sheetrock remains, so the rooms look as if they've been bombed, their walls pocked with holes and seamed by zigzagging cracks, the air itself chalked by dust, visible, swarming each time a hammer bangs the wall. Their new routine dictates that if Sam takes the girls to school, Laurel stays behind to exchange questions with th

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