FRESNO TIMES CHAPTER TWO Jane Snitly: Working Mom By Matthew Carlson

“Buzz, buzz, buzz” went the clock radio and then Captain and Tenile began singing something about clouds in their coffee. Then the weather report announced heavy fog. Joanie turned over on her back, stretched out her arms, wiggled her toes and sat up on the side of the bed. Karen Carpenter was now singing about “moon dust in your hair and golden star light in your eyes of blue” while her brother played the piano. Jane wondered who had jilted her. A wave of yawns followed, she scratched her head, stood up, put on her robe & slippers (it felt quite chilly) and went into the kitchen to put the percolator on. The boys were all sound asleep in their beds; she loved that quiet moment of knowing her babies were all snug, sleeping safely (though they were far from being babies nowadays). It was still dark out, though through the large bayroom window in the living room as she passed it on the way to the kitchen, she could just barely see a shadow of light through the blanket of black heavy fog which enveloped the house. In five minutes the darkness would be light grey. She took a deep breath, trying to will her tiredness somewhere else, her body yawning again in response.
She was ready for her first cigarette and while the coffee percolator did its’ thing: a kind of long inhaling noise, followed by regular gurgling, she sat out on the back entry hall of white and blue, partially facing the garage, and the back yard and huffed and puffed on a Saratoga Light. The silence was incedible, except for the percolator, and the sound of her lungs mixed with smoke and air; a kind of numbing silence, a flatness of no sound surrounding her tiny world.
The many details of what lay ahead began to take shape in her mind: driving to work at the Sheraton Inn in the fog with low beams, how dangerous it was, and then parking the car, dealing with the asshole General Manager. Though she was the Controller, responsable for all financial aspects of daily and monthly accounting, she still had to answer to the General Manager, or at least have regular contact with him. The rest of the team was great, she got along with everybody, her charm and easy accepting nature attracted people to her. Oh and there was lunch with her friend Ellie today: Mexicain food! She smiled to herself.
The yard was completly lost in a now visible shroud of fog, something out of a science fiction film, she thought as she stubbed out her cigarette in an ashtray. While looking out at the outlined shadows of the trees; an image of singing came to mind. Her youth and all those singing lessons, being on stage, the joy of it all. She began to cough, a kind of raking deep sound. The cilia on her tongue burned away from smoking, allowing salivi to slide back down her throat. A slight discomfort was felt in her lungs too, which she easily dismissed with a glass of water. Then she poured herself a cup of coffee in her favorite mug, made of shiney brown clay by her son Gelledge. The immense nose kept you from drinking on that side, so she had to hold the cup with her left hand. A gift of love, she thought as she smiled and went off to take a shower and get dressed for work. She hoped that she would be safe while driving in this weather, she loved fog, the romantic idea of it, but didn’t like driving in it.
The everyday reving of a car engine outside her bedroom window was the sign that Mr. Hernandez was awake too, her mexicain neighbour. He would warm up his car quite a long time before leaving. She made sure her window was closed. She wondered if the crazy Aunt, who only spoke Spanish was already sweeping the driveway or not…


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