Excerpts from a Friday Night Conversation on Miss Williams’ Porch.

Miss Williams!

Mr. Russell! Your present, Mr. Russell!

I love it! I love. This summer: terrariums and Cornell boxes, then!

(And alleyways. And Whitman. And Wilde. But no more Bosies. Bosies are bad for business.)

I brought you a few copies of the literary magazine to have with dinner.

You said you wanted to have a beer that tasted like London and butterflies. I tried my best, Mr. Russell.

It’s perfect, Miss Williams.

Who’s that pulling up in front? Why, it’s Helen Mirren!

Helen? –– Oh, Linda! It’s Linda!

Hello.

Hello.

Hello.

I hope I’m not intruding.

Never, Linda, never. Come sit with us. Come sit.

I hear it’s almost your birthday.

Yes.

(I met you when you were sixteen.)

(When I was fourteen, Linda. A freshman.)

(Ohgoodness. Fourteen!)

Linda, let me show you the plan for my garden. I’m planning a front-yard garden. Herbs. Lettuce. Kale. Some radishes. Perhaps an eggplant or two.

Yes, this will be perfect for it.

I have always wanted to be a landscape architect.

(Ever since you were fourteen?)

(Maybe even since then, Linda; yes.)

Look, here comes Uncle Bob! Hello, Uncle Bob! Hello!

Hello, Uncle Bob!

I don’t think I’ve met Uncle Bob.

Uncle Bob, you remember Mr. Russell. And this is Linda Prady.

This evening. Could you imagine a more perfect one?

I could not, Uncle Bob.

(If only we could enclose it in a terrarium to preserve. And somehow grow Karen’s radishes in it, too. Can you grow radishes in a terrarium, Linda?)

(I don’t think you can. Radishes need fresh air. They need room, you know. Not “a room of one’s own.” Just room.)

I need to go check on mom –– on your aunt across the street. But I’ll be back.

Goodbye, Uncle Bob!

Goodbye!

And I’m going to leave you two to your evening now.

Goodbye, Linda!

Goodbye, Linda!

Goodbye!

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