James is lying on the couch, watching a movie dubbed in Spanish. Hola Butch. Hola Sundance.
Paula sits at the kitchen table, reviewing and sorting a stack of mail. She is armed with a sterling silver letter opener with a handle cast in the image of a snake swallowing its tail, probably a wedding gift, since no one would ever buy one like that for themselves.
Paula rips open an envelope, shredding the paper with the dull not quite tarnished but slightly discolored blade, then dumps the envelope in the recycling bin next to her. She fans out a stack of coupons like a deck of cards, then chooses one.
“Here’s a coupon from that place.”
She waves the coupon in the air like a flag of truce.
James doesn’t move.
“I thought we didn’t like that place.”
“No, that's that other place. This is the place that had that good...”
“Oh, that place. That had those little...”
“Right. Anyway, I’m putting it in the coupon drawer.”
Paula sets it in one of several piles of coupons. James emits his trademark snortlaugh.
“Future generations will thank you,” he says.
Paula turns, lifting an eyebrow. After all, it is James who insists on letting his life choices be driven by random postal discounts.
“What does that mean?”
James sighs, but manages to elevate off the couch. He crosses to the coupon drawer and pulls out two handfuls of old coupons.
“In ten million years, an alien archaeologist is going to open this drawer and find coupon fossils. It will conclude that we foraged on these during the winter.”
He is suddenly curious.
He tastes one.
It's not bad.
“What do you suggest?” Paula asked.
He grabs the latest coupon from the pile.
“I suggest we use it now. I’m still hungry.”
James goes to the phone and attempts to dial while holding the coupon three inches from his face. He succeeds, having had much practice because he can’t find any of the twelve pairs of reading glasses he has placed carefully throughout the apartment.
Paula slices open another envelope, surgically extracts another coupon, and makes another contribution to the recycling bin.
“Hey look, we either won a new Cadillac, a microwave oven, or a genuine cubic zirconium ring.”
“Oh, I hope it’s the ring,” James says while nodding his head to the on-hold rhythm. He is shocked into awareness by a voice.
“Yes hum uh hum we’d like to order yes I can hold.”
Paula deposits the coupon in an alternate yet carefully chosen pile.
“Do you think all zirconium is cubic?”
“I mean, where would we park it?”
“No, the yes we’d like to order 555-2424.”
Paula rips another envelope.
“Couldn’t there be triangular zirconium?”
Paula examines the phone bill.
“Wilson, yes. How’d you know that?” James asks.
He covers the phone and whispers to Paula.
“How’d they know that?”
Paula places the phone bill in the bill pile. The envelope flutters down into the bin.
“Yes, we’d like to order one of those good...”
She opens another one.
“You knew that too?”
He covers the phone again.
“I think I called the Psychic Pizza Network.”
He uncovers the phone.
“And make sure it has lots of those little...”
She tears the envelope in half and releases it into the bin.
“You’re not listening to me.”
“I’m experiencing the miracle of modern technology.”
“When eternity just isn’t enough.”
“That’s a long time.”
She tears the picture up and tosses it in the bin.
“It is with someone who doesn’t listen.”
“No it’s fine. Thank you.”
He hangs up.
“I could make it myself in less time than that.”
She rips opens another envelope.
“But then it wouldn’t have those little...”
The envelope flutters into the bin.
“True,” he concedes.