B was for Beatrice until the bigwigs showed up. Came
straight from the beauty shop in their bouffants, in
their barrettes. “Like a burglary,” the humans would
later say. “Like coiffed heads of broccoli,” joked Walter
B. “Believe you me,” said Beatrice, “this is serious.”
“Shouldn’t have let them in,” said Walter B. Said Walter.
“Too late to set up the booby trap,” said Beatrice. “And
besides, they bustled up the balcony so beautifully I
thought at fi rst they were the birds.” “Eat rice,” barked
the bigwigs. Beatrice buckled. They baffled her breeze.
“Shut up you behemoths,” shouted Walter B. Shouted
Walter. He’d have put up his dukes, but there were so
many of them. Seven on the balustrade, and four in the
bathtub. Walter checked the barometer. It didn’t look
good. The bases were loaded, and the bigwigs were
winning. Twelve were in the kitchen doing a bang-up
job of browning Beatrice’s butter. One buried every
balloon in the house. More showed up with barrels
and barrels of rice. “Bon Voyage, Beatrice. Bye. Bye,”
But someone testified somewhere. But someone
somewhere turned a knob on the bigwigs’ bamboozle.
“B is for Beatrice,” someone somewhere testified.
A stranger who barely knew of Beatrice, or of the
bigwigs, or even Walter B. A stranger who wore
a brooch, and dreamed at night of lambs. Someone
testified somewhere and his testimony was strong and
the humans listened. For thirty days and thirty nights
the humans slouched east, like a thick old finger,
as if through their listening they too were pointing
something out. Something the bigwigs might never
see. Something beautiful and real. Something like
Walter B. wiping Beatrice’s tears away with a thick
slice of bread.