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Home: The Toast

MURDER BY DEATH, Truman Capote, 1976

Previously in this series: How To Tell If You’re In a Dostoevsky Novel.

You and your husband are having separate affairs and it’s very pragmatic.

Your parents were really hoping for a son instead of a daughter, which is why they named you Brucey.

All of your meals are carried on trays.

Most of your days are spent going uptown. Uptown from where is inconsequential, but that is always where you are going.

A young girl comes over frequently and she insists you buy her raisin cakes.

Your best friend is decades older than you and mildly forlorn.

Your wardrobe is made entirely out of silk, especially your shoes.

All of your lapels are velvet and withering.

You were going to say goodbye, but language seemed fraudulent.

You are so over your new husband.

Every yawn is unrealized.

In her spare time, your downstairs neighbor visits prisoners and plays squash.

You are in a kitchen and you are divorced.

Everything consequential happened the year of the drought.

For the first time in your life, you’re not rich and it feels utterly exotic.

The thought of a jacket without a waist belt is abhorrent.

Your sister is homely and it pleases you.

Your new cherry-stained oak floors remind you of that summer with Barry.

Sometimes you visit your neighbor by climbing onto the roof of their house and knocking on their kitchen skylight. This is completely routine.

Your mother has been planning this party for the last decade and for that you will ruin it.

You remove your jacket with brooding ambivalence.

You’ve just taken a swig of vermouth and beckoned your upstairs neighbor.

You live in a home that suggests you are married.

Your appetite is less frugal when it comes to sherry. 

You live with a teenage girl your family has taken in, and she is absolutely thrilled with electric light bulbs. She calls all light bulbs “electric light bulbs.”

You’re bunking with your friend’s roommate and you’ve noticed that her strong haunches are excellent.

You are either in New York City or Louisiana, but not Brooklyn. You are never in Brooklyn.

The one time you went to Brooklyn, you walked for about half a block then promptly turned back to the subway, wondering what in God’s name you were doing.

You are in midtown Manhattan and you are bored out of your mind.

You receive a telegram that an old friend is coming to visit. You suspect it’s out of spite, and sneeze voluptuously.

Doing anything before noon is 1000% uncouth.

Your younger neighbor is drunk and advising you to marry for money.

You pretend to speak French and enjoy cooking, but you’re terrible at both.

You are in a country home in Connecticut where you summer, and your cook has just finished washing the supper dishes.

You are a young man imagining what it must be like to have somewhat less money. What a gauche notion.

Waistcoats can be vulgar.

If you don’t do all your shopping at Bergdorf Goodman’s, then it’s probably done at the dime store.

You’re sitting in a dank living room waiting for a telephone call. When it finally rings, it’s the valet from Thursday evening. You talk to him for forty-five minutes.

During your last birthday you spent it in the front yard with your aunt who, using her hands to frame you sitting on the porch, said she sees God as she sees today. Then she died.

Every night sky is blue and scattered with gold and green. Sometimes it’s silky and harrowing.

Most things resemble silk.

You comb your hair publicly.

Seeing the tailor’s tawny hands touch your new velvet dress seemed improper – not immorally, aesthetically.

There is a woman in your B&B that is amusing, but not by intent. Her body is folded over, like a broken horse, and her face a wrinkled doily. She tells you that some people were born old, and you wonder what attracts people to New Orleans.

You are aboard a train in Soviet Russia and someone in a rabbit fur coat refuses to share their hot water with you.

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Becky Brown is a comedy writer living in NYC. She once bought a Train album, and her work has appeared on Reductress.

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