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ONGCHOMA/Ryan Harty LYNN IS TAKING her mother to the plastic surgeon's office In Scottsdale, driving west on McKellips, past industrial lots and fields of dry weeds. Her mother, a smaU, pretty woman in an owl-print blouse, folds and unfolds a handkerchief in her lap as she stares out the window. Terrence, Lynn's roommate, sits in the backseat, leafing through a brochure on plastic surgery. "Rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, a little lipo," Terrence says, catching Lynn's eye Ui the rearview mirror. "In and out for only forty-five hundred bucks." "Don't even thuik about it," Lynn says. "Nothing major. Just touch-ups," he says. "I owe it to those I care for." Terrence is thirty-seven and slender, with a straight, long nose and the kind of dark, curling eyelashes Lynn wishes she had. He's threequarters Hopi and teaches Native American studies at Arizona State, where Lynn is an associate professor of comparative literature. He has come along today because he had a fight with his boyfriend, Cale, last night and wants to be with people. Cale, twenty-six, a kickboxing instructor, stopped by at two in the morning, drunk and antagonistic, and after a heated argument he hit Terrence three times just below the right temple. Lynn heard it all from her bedroom. She phoned the poUce, but by the time they arrived Cale was long gone, and Terrence wouldn't say anything about what had happened. Lynn stayed up with him until four in the morning, drinking Cuba Libres, watching Hedy Lamarr on the Movie Channel. By the time the sun brightened the windows, Terrence was laughing and seemed to have forgotten the fight completely. They pass several dozen cement trucks now, all of them lined up inside a chain-link enclosure. Behind them, a team of bulldozers raises a cloud of dust. "So what are they building out there anyway?" Terrence asks, staring out the window. "It looks tike the tenth circle of Hell." "It's a gravel quarry," Lynn says. "For cement, I think. It's been like that since I was a kid." "God," he says. She can remember a miniature golf course near here—the brightly painted windmill, and her brother, Nicky, slicing a putter through the The Missouri Review · 33 air like a saber. She pictures her father scowling behind his aviator sunglasses. She has been thinking about her father aU morning, partly because he would nothave approved ofwhathermother is aboutto do. There would have been no discussion of the matter, except for a few shouted injunctions . Lynn doesn't miss the man's mititary style or his occasional violent outbursts, but she does find something lacking Ui her life without him—his predictability, perhaps. After finishing her dissertation at Brown, Lynn took a position atArizona State, and since then everything m her life has gone a little out of focus. She's abandoned a book on The Decameron, making her hopes for tenure thin at best. She can hardly remember a time when she was interested in Italian titerature, or anything else, for that matter. Lately she's even begun to drink Uke one of her students—tequUa poppers and Jaegermeister shots—serious bulges that run deep Ulto the evenings, so that her mornings are lost to a painful , protective haze. Terrence is usuaUy her partner Ui crime, though she drinks alone as well, in their house when he's away or at a local bar among working-class men, some of whom she has gone home with for the thrtil ofit. It's a way offinding thebottom, she thinks, having done it once before, Ui coUege. She fears she may have already become an alcoholic . With the faU semester only a few days away, she dreads having to get back to work. She's not even sure she'll be able to do it. On the left is the Salt River Canal, streams of beige water gushing out of its floodgates. After turning north on Rural Road, they ease into Tempe, the streets flanked by car dealerships and hamburger stands. The Moose lodge sits at the back of an oyster-sheU lot. Beside it is the Elks...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 33-49
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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