Mary Jane, the secretary to a New York executive named Mr. Weyinburg, has most of the day off as a result of her employer’s illness but has promised to drop his mail off and take some dictation every afternoon for the duration of his illness. At three o’clock (two hours late for the lunch that her hostess had prepared), she stops to see her friend Eloise at her home in suburban Connecticut. Later she plans to drive on to Larchmont, New York, with Mr. Weyinburg’s mail. Eloise, in her camel-hair coat, greets her in front of the house.
Eloise is comfortably well-off, with an attractive house, a husband who commutes to New York, a young daughter named Ramona, and a black maid named Grace. Mary Jane is single but about the same age as Eloise, who has been married for about ten years.
The two women gossip as they drink highballs in Eloise’s living room. Much of the talk becomes nostalgic as the two women continue to drink. Mary Jane carelessly spills her drink while Eloise’s conversation becomes more outspoken and her expressions more vulgar, referring to Grace as “sitting on her big black butt” in the kitchen.
Ramona appears. In the stilted conversation that ensues between Ramona and Mary Jane, it is obvious that Ramona is not taken in by Mary Jane’s feigned enthusiasm (“Oh, what a pretty dress!”). Mary Jane questions Ramona about her imaginary companion, Jimmy Jimmereeno. Significantly, Jimmy is an orphan and has...
(The entire section is 550 words.)