John rejoins the ladies. Bonnie has made tea.
Emma crosses her stockinged legs and nervously tugs at a single huge earring.
So, do you want to watch television? She eyes them suspiciously. I can only get one station.
Emma picks up the remote control and clicks on the huge set thats showing KTLA News. See, this contraption doesnt work. She repeatedly pushes the remotes VCR button, trying to change channels.
Its okay, Mom. We watch Channel 5 all the time.
A reporter stands on the sidewalk outside a 1930s-style California bungalow. The
camera pans to the houses gable roof where angry orange flames roar through a
gaping hole. The woman talks into a silver microphone.
source of the fire is still under investigation by El Monte officials. But weve been told the likely cause is a gas leak and explosion. Luckily, no one was home at the time. The blast scattered burning shingles into neighboring yards. One house caught fire but the flames were quickly extinguished.
Those poor people, Emma says, her lips trembling. What are they going to do? Their home is a mess and December rains are comin.
Mom, theyll be okay. But when was the last time you had your lines checked?
I dont know. I think Jack had the gas company out last year, or maybe it was the year before.
Weve got to get them inspected, John says, his voice soft but firm.
Oh dear, thatll be such a bother. Ill have to clean the house and set out something nice, and
Dont worry, Mom. Bonnie and I will take care of everything.
Bonnie looks angrily at John. Then her face softens and she flashes a knowing smile.
Emma stares at the TV and the rapid-fire exposé of Southland crime. Her whole body quivers. But the news ends, a favorite soap opera comes on, and she gets lost in The Young and the Restless.
Read on to Page 3