See That Dress? A Sister’s Birthday Celebration Story

See that dress over yonder? The one hangin’ over the door? My sister made that dress outta four chicken-feed sacks; from a pattern in Butterick’s, Number 1129. I ‘member ‘cause that was my sister’s birthday: November 29. She said it was her birthday dress – blue bachelor buttons, an’ yellow triangles with vampire-eye red dots in the center.

I saw my sister last week. She was sittin’ on the sofa when I went in; sittin’ in her room starin’ into space. I said, “Clodah, what ya doin’?”

“Oh, nothin’, Chaos,” she said. Our parents had a penchant for exotic names that began with “C” – Clodah and Chaos. . . .

“Why aren’t’cha watching TV?” I asked her.

“Don’t work,” she said.

“Don’t work?”

“Don’t work, uh uh.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Just don’t come on.”

“How long for?” I asked.

“Two weeks er so,” she said.

I pulled the TV from the wall, an’ there on the floor I saw the plug.

“Plug’s pulled outta the wall,” I said.

”Plug’s outta the wall?”

“Pulled out.”

“Oh, how?”

I pushed the plug in and the TV turned right on; the six o’clock news.

“All this time ya coulda been watchin’ the six o’clock news,” I says.

“Nothing on the news,” she said. “Nothin’ new; there’s nothing new anywheres.”

My sister died yesterday . . .  on the toilet. When the emergency took her off, there in the water below was her business big-as-life; shaped like a brown question mark an’ floatin’ in the water.

I’m gonna bury my sister in her birthday dress. My sister who said there was nothin’ in the news.

Alan Brasington About Alan Brasington

Alan Brasington, the Voice of Steinbeck Now, is an actor, director, and writer living in New York City who was born in upstate New York and trained at SUNY New Paltz and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. He reads aloud from his own fiction, typically written from a child's point of view, as well from new work by other writers published at


  1. A newcomer to Alan Brasington, I feel he’s an antidote to smug. Only so much room for correctness.

Speak Your Mind