Chris Dickle is in a pickle. Sullivan Clark wants to get pickled. Monroe Dobbs hides beneath a table. Lenore St. Cyr makes a dash to the grave. The stories of these characters and more are told in Greenville: Where Longing Meets Loss. Written as a series of linked short -stories, Greenville reveals how the emotions-associated with longing and loss affect the lives of some of the fictional town's -inhabitants. -Threaded throughout each -story, Greenville's -resident town character, the Tin Man, makes his appearance.
A knot of breathlessness perched atop her diaphragm, leaving her expectant, fearful. She was in a strange position, lying face down with her left arm crooked over her head, her fingers twined through and pulling her hair. She felt the knot against the mattress, like the princess’s pea from the fairytale that her mother used to read to her. As she rolled over and opened her eyes, sunlight erased fragments of fitful dreams. The knot wanted to work its way to her throat, where she was sure it would release and bring relief, but it was trapped and her chest ached with its mass.
Lenore sat up and propped her pillows against the head-board. She leaned back to lengthen her stomach and slowly inhaled. On the out breath she hissed through her teeth. The knot remained. “What is wrong with me?” she said aloud to her bedroom walls. She felt silly, like a whisper was wiser, even though the house was hers alone.
Maybe if I get moving, go do something, I can shake this, she thought. She rose, decided to skip a shower, but washed her face, armpits and hands, applied extra deodorant and deftly inserted contacts. She pulled a soft gray track suit from her dresser drawer. The color matched her mood, although the white stripes along the sides were pushing the edge of cheerfulness. While dressing, Lenore opted for a gray tank top instead of a bra. The bra would just constrict the knot in her chest. Even though she would be out in public, she had no fear of men ogling her breasts. She had a shapely figure, average pretty face, and medium-length, dark coppery hair, but Lenore knew that her personality didn’t bubble in a way that caused people, especially men, to notice her.
Over a breakfast of orange juice and corn flakes, Lenore scanned the morning paper. Perhaps there was something interesting going on in Greenville today that could lift her out of her funk. She was not likely to participate, however. During her Wednesdays off, she followed a routine that varied little from week to week. If she had errands, she ran them in the morning. Without a car, this could take some time because she either walked or had to wait for the bus. She preferred to walk, but this generally caused her obligations to stretch into the afternoon. A bag lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit, sweet snack, and bottled water went with her for this eventuality. When she completed her “must do” list, Lenore spent the rest of the day wander-ing about town.
Today was a good Wednesday, or should have been had she not had a sticky knot to untangle. There were no errands; the day was free, which meant she could visit the monkeys at the Greenville Zoo. They never failed to raise her spirits.
Lenore finished her breakfast, pulled on tennis shoes, stuffed her lunch and water into a tote, safety-pinned a house key to her waistband, and stepped out her front door. She drew in another long breath on the stoop and sniffed the earthy spring air. It was simply delicious. She imagined that munching on wet dirt was one benefit of being a worm. With no tongue, a worm didn’t have to deal with the gritty texture that repulsed human beings.