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BABY GRAND


By Jim ALexAnDer


Her mail is once delivered to Elliot’s apartment by mistake, so he also knows her as Cascade J. Parrish, Mrs. Robert Parrish, and Cassie Ciznerrick. The latter name is on a letter with the return address heading: San Marcos High School, Class of 1982. Elliot likes the name Cassie Ciznerrick best, but has yet to greet her by any name. Once, about eight months ago, shortly after 3C


S


moves in, they say good morning to one another: she coming up from the laundry room, Elliot going down to the trash. Excluding that morning, only nods and pass- ing smiles are exchanged.


Elliot knows 3C is older than his 34 years, but he is


he’s knoWn as “the Woman in 3c” to everyone Living at carPinteria PaLms, excePt eLLiot broDy, Who is aLmost as anonymous, anD is oFten reFerreD to as “the man in 2c.”


unsure of the degree of disparity—some days she looks a few years older, other times a few decades. Elliot swears that he can tell 3C’s mood by any of four clues. Her hair is the first tip-off. On contented days it is sable-like with silver highlights. On sad days the gray overtakes her dulled locks, and it looks as brittle as chaff. Her eyes are the second hint. On sable-hair days they are green and clear, but on gray hair days they are colorless and vacant, as though she has just witnessed an execu- tion. The third clue is her gait. Elliot has watched her scale the steps two at a time while humming an obscure tune, but he has also seen her struggle up each flight like


110 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE


fiction


ARCHBOLD


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