a taste


“Mrs. Catchprice, do you know why I’m here?”

“You mean, am I really ga-ga?” said Mrs. Catchprice, butting her Salem out in an ugly yellow Venetian glass ashtray.

“No,” Maria said, “I did not mean that at all.”

“You are a Tax Inspector?”

“Yes. And I’ll need an office to begin doing my audit.”

“They’re up to something, all right.”

Maria cocked her head, not understanding.

“You met her?” Mrs. Catchprice said.

“Your daughter?”

“And her husband. I don’t like him. . . .”

“And you feel they are up to something?”

“There’s something fishy going on there. You’ll see. . . .”

Maria felt tired.

“People always expect car dealers to be crooks, but you try buying a car from a classified ad. . . . We always worked in with the law. . . . A bottle of sparkling burgundy for the sergeant and beer for the constables. . . .”

“Mrs. Catchprice . . . you weren’t bribing the police?”

“It was a small town. We always supported the police.”

“And now you’re supporting the Taxation Office.”

“I wonder where that boy is with the milk.”

“Mrs. Catchprice. Are you Mrs. F. Catchprice?”

“Frieda,” said Mrs. Catchprice. “I’ve got the same name as the woman who was involved with D. H. Lawrence. She was a nasty piece of work.”

“There’s no other Mrs. F. Catchprice in your family?”

“One’s enough,” she laughed. “You ask the kids.” From “The Tax Inspector.”

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