The Wind Among the Reeds

In The Wind Among the Reeds, two characters from the Pendragon cycle, Molly Rainey, 63, and her husband Cletis, 67, are having breakfast in the kitchen.  It is summer and Cletis is talking to a parakeet in a bird cage, explaining to Molly that he is trying to teach the bird to talk.  He asks if there is any meat loaf left and is told by Molly that what he ate was dog food, not meat loaf.  Molly is bored and is worried about their son, Billy, who lives in a trailer, plays the tuba, and talks to his weiner dogs.  Cletis defends Billy, suggesting that he may be a misunderstood genius, but Molly says Billy is a moron, that her life is a failure, and she wants a divorce.  She starts taking clothes out of the dresser to put in a suitcase, saying that she needs some culture in her life and that Cletis has never taken her anywhere.  Cletis reminds her that he took her to a vaudeville show at the Palace Theatre in Canton, and he goes on to describe a French performer who did a whole program of fart impressions, concluding by putting a tube up his ass, sticking on ocarina on the end of the tube and playing the 1812 Overture.  When Molly says that she always wanted to be an opera singer, Cletis tells her that she sounds like a moose with his balls caught in a wood chopper.  Molly closes the suitcase, leaves, then comes back, asking Cletis what he is going to do without her since he can’t see, drive, or cook.  Cletis says he’ll be fine and wants to know what happened to set her off.  She says that Lewis, her sister Lizzy’s husband, is going to die and then she asks Cletis if he tried to kiss her sister Jessie in the barn almost fifty years earlier.  Cletis protests that they were all teenagers back then and wonders why Molly didn’t marry somebody else.  She says that Lizzy and Lewis really love each other and that she is running away because she doesn’t want to watch Cletis get old and die.  Cletis tells her that you can love something and stick with until one of you dies or you can run off and die alone.  Molly starts unpacking her clothes and tells Cletis that maybe she’ll make meat loaf for lunch.  Cletis starts talking to the bird again and the lights fade and  go out.

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