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Ray and Shirley
by Monty McDannald
Ray and Shirley are having their morning coffee.
RAY: Boy, our IRA took a big hit yesterday!
SHIRLEY: I told you I donít want to talk about that. It makes me very nervous.
RAY: What do you want to discuss?
SHIRLEY: I would say politics, but that makes me sick at my stomach. I would have to take an anti-anxiety pill afterwards. Maybe my struggles with my family farm, but I know youíre tired of hearing about this obsessively.
RAY: Youíre so right. How about we talk about the COVID19 virus situation? I read there have been a lot more cases in America. We need to plan for the worst.
SHIRLEY: I read that those over 60 years of age, like us, are more susceptible especially those that have had pneumonia or a compromised immune system. I think the odds are that one of us wonít make it, I think that would probably be me.
RAY: Thatís ridiculous. Iím 10 years older than you and have had manymore health issues.
SHIRLEY: But I have really dogged my body, and I worry a lot more than you do.
RAY: Honey, can we talk about something else?
SHIRLEY: I want you to promise if the worst happens you wonít give away my things to the first person that you take up with after my funeral. The idea that someone else might be wearing my dresses, shoes, purses, or jewelry makes me angry. I want my sisters, and a few select friends to get these items.
RAY: You know your sisters arenít that close to you, and, anyway, they donít wear your size. You wonít be here, so líll have to do whatever I thinkís best. Also, a man my age would have trouble meeting women and a few gifts might help in my search.
Can we quit talking about this?
SHIRLEY: Sweetheart, you are still nice looking and have plenty of money, so youíd have no trouble meeting women. They would be lined up outside your door with food and other enticements.
RAY: I sure hope this doesnít happen. Iíve always felt I would die first. Our planwas for you to take care of me in my old age.
SHIRLEY: One more thing while weíre on this subject. After my cremation, I want to have my ashes sprinkled on a tree planted in my honor in a park in some low- income area where the residents can enjoy it.
RAY: Thatís crazy! I agree about a tree and maybe even a nice park bench andplaque in your honor, but I want to have it near where I live. I hope to sit there reminiscing about our love and the great times weíve had together without worrying about getting mugged. And, who will water the tree?
SHIRLEY: I guess you will have to install a sprinkler system. I like the idea ofchildren running through the spray, frolicking like in a water park.
RAY: This has gotten too complicated. Why donít I just put a plaque on the ground and throw your ashes on top.
SHIRLEY: Forget it! Bring me another cup of coffee and change the subject.
Ray and Shirley are hunkered down in isolation at their house due to Covid19.
SHIRLEY: Ray, weíve been here only 8 weeks, and Iím already climbing the walls. Weíre all over each other. I feel like I need some space to myself.
RAY: Youíve always said that you wanted me to work more at home. Now, you have your wish.
SHIRLEY: I didnít think you would shadow me around 24 hours a day with all those helpful suggestions like Ďworkout more and eat lessí. And what about when you walk around the house snacking without a saucer and drop crumbs everywhere, leaving me to clean up after you?
RAY: I think thatís unfair. I do help on daily chores a lot more than I didbefore and even cook some.
SHIRLEY: Thatís true, now that I think about it. However, talking about unfair, letís discuss the TV remote control. Iíve been asking you for years to teach me how to use it so I can watch some shows I like. This has gotten more important during Covid19 because we watch so much more TV now. Iím only asking for equal rights.
RAY: Remember a few years ago, I had to go out of town, and left you detailed written instructions on the proper use of the remote? When I got home, the TV was so messed up, we had to call the repair man to fix it. Letís try again this weekend.
SHIRLEY: Maybe we would feel better if we dressed up more instead of wearing our pajamas all day. We could have dress up days where I would put on full makeup and a pretty dress, and you could shave, put on some nice clothes, and top it off with a splash of cologne. I think this would spice up our marriage during these tough times.
RAY: But whatís the sense of dressing up? We canít go out to restaurants or have friends over as weíre all quarantined. I think Covid19 might be around for a while.
SHIRLEY: I see your point, but we need to keep the romance alive and adapt to this new environment as best we can. You know, sometimes I feel like that character in the famous art piece ĎThe Screamí. I canít remember theartistís name.
RAY: Letís think positive, pleasant thoughts and relax so we can pass this isolation in relative peace? We have to take it one day at a time.
SHIRLEY: OK. Iíll meet you on the balcony this afternoon for happy hour.
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