Saturday, November 25, 2006


Candice was sitting in a deck chair at the edge of the pool. Though humid, it was slightly too cold to be swimming, and she had draped a pale yellow zippered thing of some sort over her middle section in response to a slight breeze. The deck chair had recently been dragged closer to the pool--presumably by Candice's younger sister Alice--from its place closer in by the house, where it had sat, unused, for quite some time. The metal legs of the chair had left two rust-colored stains on the concrete. Candice's posture could best be described as deflated, and she would have described her demeanor at that precise moment exactly that way as well. She had just finished watching Badlands, and as usual, she could not shake the image of the two murderous teens leaving a phonograph recording of their dastardly deeds behind at the burning house as they fled in their Studebaker. Two deck chairs down, Alice sat cross-legged in stocking feet. She held a much-handled spiral notebook in her lap, which was folded open to a blank, lined page. She was tapping the page furiously with a cheap ballpoint pen, likely stolen from Hennessy's on the corner.
"When do you use affected and when do you use effected?" Alice asked.
Candice did not respond for a long time. Not because she didn't know the answer, of course, but because she was thinking about that phonograph. She sighed heavily--unnecessarily--to the point that an outside observer could tell by the size of her small body that a sigh of that magnitude likely took more stress and energy to produce that it was able to relieve.
"To affect is to actually do the thing. To cause the change. The effect is the thing that happens."
Alice placed the pen to her mouth and rapidly rattled it around, clacking the plastic against her teeth.
"Stop that," said Candice, closing her eyes.
Alice sat forward and heaved the pen into the pool, which made a small plop before drifting to the bottom.

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