Sylvia sits around a table of women. All are playing cards and talking. It is a modest but nice home. Sylvia herself seems to be orchestrating the conversation. As the women talk Joseph Lavery walks in and kisses the hostess on the head, greeting her.
“Hello Mother.” Addressing the others, avoiding eye contact with Sylvia. “Ladies.”
The ladies greet Joseph in an affectionate chorus, “Oh yes Joseph, hello!” And so on
Taking her turn, Sylvia glances at Joseph from the corner of her eye, yet continuing to speak to her hostess…Josephs mother. “Isn’t it kind Anna!”
Anna, replying enthusiastically, “Oh yes! Joseph, you make your mother proud son! Kindness before all things…well done son!”
Joseph in vague agreement, unaware that he has walked into a trap. “ Yes mother, the highest of virtues, kindness.
Anna, to the other ladies at the table. “My boys furniture moving business has been doing awfully well lately. Hasn’t it Joseph?
“Why yes mother it has!” Replies Joseph.
Anna, continuing on. “You boys seem to have been making quite a few trips to Anacortes haven’t you?”
“It must be a nice place to live. How many families would you say have employed the services of the moving company in the past year Joseph?”
Joseph, modest and careful not to divulge too much about the family trade. “ Oh mother it’s difficult to say really.”
“Well, all I know is you boys seem to be up to Anacortes and back again nearly once or twice a month.”
Sylvia, having orchestrated the whole conversation plays the fool to all but Joseph. “My goodness! With the amount of money people pay these days for a full service moving company to move their furniture, you boys must be making out like bandits!”
Looking at Joseph, she cocks her head to one side as if she has trumped him… and that she has.
Anna, unaware and continuing on, “Well son, you do right to the family name, helping Sylvia with her business venture. Heavens knows we can all use any extra help we can get in times like these. Am I right ladies?” To which they all agree with “here, here” and “lords truth”.
“I have a good mind to make the trip with you myself. A bit of work in Apple country this fall sounds wonderful. I do hear Whidbey is lovely this time of year. I’m afraid my health is not what used to be. But I assure you that you and… Anne? Is that her name?”
Sylvia nods, looking at Joseph as the realization comes over him
“Yes well, you will both be in good hands with my boys. Isn’t that right Joseph?”
Joseph, suspecting just what Sylvia has been up to here,
“ Oh yes, Dan and I can handle a pair like those two.”
He scowls at Sylvia as she plays her turn confidently, announcing “Jin.”
She winks at him and smiles. He shakes his head, half smiling. He is both completely put out by her and in awe of her