The Burlecks: envy

For today's lockdown activity, I decided to create a flash fiction self-challenge. Same characters cycling through each of the seven deadly sins. Let's see how far I can get!


Mr. and Mrs. Burlecks are just home from the theater and settling into the parlor. In the fireplace, logs crackle and spit at one another, the only conversation in a quickly heating room. Mr. and Mrs. B are both terribly cranky, but for different reasons.

Mr. B is cranky because tonight he was in the balcony, not on the stage. Mr. B, an actor himself, cannot abide spectating, as he calls it. Then there was the matter of that loathesome Jessup, soigne and smugly fit. How did he always materialize when Polly was around? It was maddening. Not that Polly cared or much noticed, he assured himself, unconsciously tugging at shirt cuffs whose yellowing stains were concealed well enough in the dim room. His wife had no use for bankers. What a dull, dry existence they must lead!

Meanwhile, absently caressing the cretonne arm of the wingback in which she perched, Mrs B is equally lost in her discontent. The evening had begun pleasantly enough. She'd felt the usual wave of admiring glances wash across her the minute they'd entered the theater. All the tortuous indecision of the previous hour spent studying her wardrobe - and her mirror - melted away, her beauty reconfirmed once more. But then intermission came, and under the blazing light of a dozen chandeliers, Polly's charms diffused into the crowd at large. The playhouse was full of elegant young women. And most, she'd noted bitterly, wore dresses finer and more modern than hers.

Neither of the Burlecks are thinking of the play at all.