Willet Thomas

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“Shorondra Reynolds” or “The Siditty Clerk Typist in B-3”

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Tuesday feeling too typical? Check out Baltimore writer Willet Thomas’s highy readable stream-of-consciousness story of a fat baby named Shorondra Reynolds, who won’t budge from our narrator’s rich memory-scape.

When Shorondra Reynolds was a baby we lived in a Baltimore brownstone on the edge of Pigtown. Just me and my mother, when there were no single mothers, just Adele’s mother or Mary’s mama, or Kiki’s madear, and their like. It was a time when a five year-old, like the one I was, could be led by Mr. Mackey, the custodian, to the basement dark spot where kids older than my five years played nasty under stairwells. A time when all that was needed to see a fly go its way and me mine was a penny toffee and a flashlight held close to my ear.

1902 Hollis was a building where everyone knew everyone. We knew Miss Reynolds because Miss Carol in A-2 watched Miss Reynolds’s brother’s kids on weekends, and though big, hardheaded boys, if you were short a nickel, they’d give you one, because their daddy was a mechanic and he was rich. Just like Miss Reynolds knew my mother and which apartment was ours, not only because of the bronze mailbox’s name slot, but because 1902 was a noisy place, what my mother mistakenly called nosey. If mothers hollered children’s given names, this told of impending punishments, just as raucousness coming from Miss Reynolds’s Saturday evenings told everyone her one-dollar-to-play, 50-cents-to-gawk Bid Whist game was underway.

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