The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Abigail Thomas: Good Evening (memoir)


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I lived in New Orleans for several years when I was a kid, on the campus of Tulane. I went to the R.M. Lusher School. My address was 51A Macalester Place. I loved it there. Now I live in Woodstock NY. I write memoir most of the time.

Good Evening

Standing here in front of you tonight I would like to report that I am not afraid of spiders anymore and those little gray things I see out the corner of my eye no longer make me want to pee, although I always raise my feet above the rug. Also, I find it fascinating that the white walls in my house are covered with rows of bright red dots that don’t exist. This has to do with a sudden obsession with knitting, a lot of crimson wool, and my occipital lobe. Last Wednesday a series of phantoms sat next to my bed. They stretched their arms out to me but when I reached back they dissolved. I was not afraid I’d lost my mind because at 75 you no longer feel the need to understand what you don’t understand.  It is true that my breathing wakes me up when it sounds like someone screaming or an orchestra playing. I have put in two calls to a pulmonologist but have yet to hear back. I do like a popular doctor. I am also improving my diet of blueberry crumble gelato and coffee by eating sardines on toast with ketchup and butter three times a day. As for my spare time, I watch only movies with zombies in them. I am certain zombies will arrive at some point. It is too bad that even death doesn’t set you free because you come back as a zombie no matter what and are doomed to stumble around in filthy clothes with your mouth hanging open and no lips so your teeth and gums show until someone chops off your head off or sticks something sharp through your eye.  But so far all we have to contend with is the terrible news, and one 75 year old woman can do dick about it. Speaking of dick, did you know that impotence is not a pre-existing condition? But being a battered wife is. Go figure. Speaking again of dick, should anyone among you have connections to the president, I believe I would make a desirable dinner guest at the White House. Put in a good word for me. Mention that I appear perfectly harmless and can feign a fawning attitude. I promise to wear a different dress. I haven’t taken this green one off for a week, because of the compliments I’ve received, although I have had several showers. The fact is that I have in my possession my grandmother’s sequined bag which contains not only a fifty-year-old bottle of Pyrinate 200 because you never know and once you have had crabs you always think you have them again, but also a small revolver with silver bullets.  I can guarantee success if I am seated to his left where his heart ought to be. No worries, my life has been long and full. Any assistance in this matter would be appreciated. My children, some of whom are here tonight, can answer any further questions you might have. Thank you all for coming, cookies and coffee are being served in the next room.