In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Caramel Drizzle, and: Hands on the Wheel and: End of Phone Conversation with Verizon Adjustment Person, and: Second Drink
  • Lydia Davis (bio)

Caramel Drizzle

“Caramel syrup or caramel drizzle?”


“Caramel syrup or caramel drizzle?”

This is an overheard conversation. I look up: it is a tall, slim woman with a ponytail, buying the drink at a Starbucks counter. She is wearing a dark blue uniform. We are in an airport. She is probably a flight attendant.

Long pause for deliberation. She has not encountered this choice before.

“I’ll take the drizzle.”

Now I see her from behind, over there, with her blond ponytail and sticking-out ears, drinking her caramel drizzle.

While she stood at the counter and deliberated, I was deciding that the drizzle was a smaller amount of caramel than the syrup, even though surely syrup must be involved in the drizzle.

Later, she walks away with another airline employee, the empty cup in her hand, the caramel drizzle inside her.

And then she turns out to be the attendant on my flight—her name is Shannon. So, her caramel drizzle will also be going to Chicago with us. [End Page 38]

Hands on the Wheel

I thought the booklet said hands at ten and two on the wheel. But maybe that’s because I like to drive with my hands at ten and two. But the booklet actually says: hands at nine and three. Well, my husband usually drives with his hands at eleven and one, which makes me nervous. And sometimes—even worse—at seven and five. Or, when he’s really relaxed, just at five. [End Page 39]

End of Phone Conversation with Verizon Adjustment Person

I say: “I guess I’d better take your name…”   She says: “It’s Shelley…as in Byron, Keats, and Shelley.”   “Hah!…I’m glad you like them too!” I say.   “Oh, yes,” says Shelley.   “I wish my name were Keats, but it’s not…” I add.   “I do too!” she responds. “Thank you for choosing Verizon Wireless.” [End Page 40]

Second Drink

She knows the alcohol is kicking in when she thinks, wistfully, “Dear old Shakespeare!” [End Page 41]

Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis is the author of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009), a translation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary (Viking Penguin, 2010), a chapbook entitled The Cows (Sarabande Press, 2011), and a poem entitled “Our Village” in Two American Scenes (New Directions, 2013). In 2013, she was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction, and her most recent collection of stories Can't and Won't was published in 2014 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.



Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 38-41
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.