Jan and her complicated date Lloyd Brentridge join Jan's parents for stonecakes and vine at the dining room table. Jan sits next to her mother helping to poke through clumps caught in her swollen and keratinous gum line. Mrs. Jansdaad swallows infrequently but with large gulps that are visible in her neck as they go down her throat.
Lloyd: Mrs. Jansdaad it's lovely to see you recovering. Your husband has done an admirable job at the griddle in your place.
Mrs. Jansdaad lowers her face in Lloyd's direction, exposing a small parietal eye in her scalp. She stares, unblinking.
Lloyd: May I help you clear the table, Jan?
Mr. Jansdaad, jumping up: Why yes, why... please grab that syrup.
Lloyd and Mr. Jansdaad find themselves alone in the kitchen. Jan turns around and finds Mr. Brentridge standing there, very close to him. There are just a few inches between them and not much room to maneuver there between the countertop and the fridge.
Jan: Oh. Sorry Lloyd. Just let me
Lloyd does not move. He is staring into Mr. Jansdaad's eyes. Jan Jansdaad looks back at him without letting out a breath.
Jan: Is there
Lloyd: Shh. I just want one thing. And that's the truth.
Jan can hear his daughter setting out dessert dishes from the glass cabinet as well as his wife's pebbly cough from the other room.
Lloyd's voice is hushed and stern, and his breath is hot.
Lloyd: That's quite a case of shingles you have going on in there.
Jan: Yes, it's just-- Pharmsupply wouldn't cover the
Lloyd: Don't say Pharmsupply to me. I work for Pharmsupply. I am their agent in Dubbahberah Chank.
Jan: I'll get you the records. She had a preexisting inclination. But you're dating my
Lloyd takes Jan's wrist and squeezes it tight. Jan loses control of his fingers and drops a vine glass on the floor.
Lloyd: Don't you ever say your daughter's name to me again. Unless you are ready to take her place.
Jan: She doesn't know anything. Don't worry. She
Lloyd [squeezing Jan's wrist harder, and twisting]: I need samples of her Mrs. Jansdaad's pyncofibers. By tomorrow morning. In my law office.
Jan [straining]: Yes. I'll get the pyncos. Whatever you want. My daughter is a good person. I won't... I won't say her name.
Lloyd, tucking in his shirt and stepping back into the dining room: Jan, get in there and help your father would you. With the cleanup. And then we'll go.