By Thoms Demijohn (Thomas Disch and John Sladek)

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After all, one was bound to get a disease in the long run. Feeling a little better with this matter decided, he leaned back and rested his hot cheek against the wallpaper, where clumps of red and yellow roses wound around a trellis up to the warped mouldings. Across from him above the green sofa was a portrait of Robert E. Lee. Three seniors came downstairs and went out to the cars to drink more gin and exchange lies. Three juniors went up the stairs. Robert E. Lee winked at Roderick. Roderick went into the kitchen.

I'm pale as a white rose, she thought. A single, delicate vein showed upon her ivory brow like an ornament. A hairdresser came in once a week to rinse lavender into Delphinia's long, greying hair and do it up exactly as it had to be done. It was worth the effort—everyone said her hair was like a work of art. She had the pale grey eyes of a Duquesne, but hers seemed to have taken on the delicate lavender tint of her hair, or of the vein in her forehead. Or of the vivid purple shadows beneath her eyes?

That money is my money. It belongs to me. And it's your fault that I don't have it. If I'd married a decent man—if you hadn't lied to me—Daddy would not have cut me out of the will. ' 'It's nobody's fault but your father's. ' 'I do! It is her fault! What does she need all my money for? Why does she need a full-time personal servant, who costs I don't know how many thousands for the three months of the summer, when I lay here at death's door with no one to look after me? Who's the sick one—me or Alice?

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Black Alice by Thoms Demijohn (Thomas Disch and John Sladek)


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