Study Guide

Timescape Chapter 21

By Gregory Benford

Chapter 21

August, 1998

  • Marjorie manages to get a dinner ready despite a measly two hours heads up. The dinner includes a shrimp soufflé, which isn't exactly cooking 101.
  • Peterson and Renfrew enter and it's drinks all around.
  • The two start talking shop because, really, what else are these two going to talk about?
  • Peterson suggests they not bore Marjorie with business and asks to see the garden. Marjorie asks if Peterson's wife—yep, wife—travels with him, and Peterson says no.
  • In the garden, Peterson shows a surprising level of knowledge about chickens.
  • Marjorie realizes Peterson is totally hitting on her, but she tries to keep herself aloof.
  • Peterson leaves, saying he has a dinner engagement, and Renfrew says he needs to get back to work.
  • Marjorie is disappointed Peterson isn't staying for dinner—although she finds the man despicable, she also thinks she might have enjoyed flirting with him.
  • Renfrew is surprised that she knew about Peterson's wife, and she tells him Peterson's wife had a very public affair with Prince Andrew. Ooh la la…
  • Marjorie goes to prepare dinner and Renfrew watches television. When everything is done, she's upset that John hasn't set the table. But that's only the surface irritation, because she's also angry that John is always at work and she spends all of her evenings alone.
  • Renfrew decides to stay home that evening and promises a day in London.
  • With the soufflé ruined, Renfrew goes to prepare dinner. Marjorie thinks how ironic it is: She's been starved for sex but now that John is home she's too tired to even keep her eyes open.