Bloody Hell
,Joyce Daniels

"You can't do that, bloody hell!"

Ellie tosses Timothy a look. "Oh, yeah."

"Ah, you're such an American."

"And you are so British. Good God, you live in a fuckin` box!"

Timothy Ferguson sniffs and adjusts his wool cap. "Do you have any idea how many times Americans use that term? It's bloody disgusting."

Ellie bristles. "Do you have any idea how many times you say the word bloody?"

Timothy frowns.

Ellie turns her head. She glances up at Big Ben, then bends down and continues her work.

A black taxi cab pulls up to the curb. A horn honks. The chalk presses into her thumb and forefinger.

Timothy waves the cab away, bends down and speaks in a soft, soothing voice. "Please, love, rub out that bloody x-shaped cross. A priest will walk out and catch you and you'll be arrested for vandalism. Look on that corner. There's a bobby."

Adjusting her body so all he can see is her back, Ellie pushes the chalk down harder into the cement. "There, I'm done."

They stand.

Ellie gazes at her work. "The Catholic cross is askew--damaged. It's now an x--a symbol that marks the spot of " Her voice waivers. "of..." She makes a squeaking noise and sways.

Timothy reaches over and grabs her. "Ellie, Ralphie will be all right. He's seeing a therapist. They've got the priest."

She catches a sob.

Tightening his grip, Timothy touches her head with his.

First published: November, 2006
comments to the writer: Knob'