Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cognates in the Post

In the morning Mill arrives at Carlisle’s suite with Post in hand. The Post lies ravaged on the empty desk. Her chair is parked in the center of the room, wheels askew. (She leaves it neatly positioned under her desk with its wheels pointed toward the wall.) The spare chair is in its usual position tucked under the empty desk. She inclines it toward her desk then straightens the wheels of her chair by sliding it along the lines in the Persian rug and sits.

The telephone rings: Señor Carlisle.

“Hello,” Señorita Mill pretends not to know.

“See page 7,” he says.

Mill opens the clean copy of the Post to page 7. “Baseball topper,” she reads, “tests plus for ’roids.”

“ ’Zat one ’roid or two?” Carlisle says.

“The article doesn’t go into it,” Mill says.

“Spell hemorrhoid,” Carlisle says.

“H-e-m-m,” Mill says.

“Look it up,” he says.

Mill wakes the computer. “H-e-m-o-r-r-h-o-i-d,” she says.

“Baseball topper’s ’hoids test-us,” Carlisle proffers.

“Calumny,” Mill says, flanking her hair.

Carlisle is silent.

“I hired you to follow stock reports,” he says. “I keep you because you know the word ‘calumny.’ Read the definition.”

Mill toggles the mouse, “1. defamation: the making of false statements about somebody with malicious intent
2. defamatory statement: a slanderous statement or false accusation

“15th century. From Latin calumnia or false accusation (also the source of English challenge), from calvi ‘to deceive.’"

No comments: