LAVERNE & SHIRLEY (1976 — 1983) is a television show about two roommates who both work at a Milwaukee brewery.
12/15/09 | Television

Laverne & Shirley

by Kim Parko

Dew covers Laverne, who sits stiffly on the couch.

Shirley is in the kitchen. She is taking everything out of the cupboards.  She is clearing clogged pipes with corrosive liquid. She is defrosting. “How long will Laverne sit in on the couch, glistening but immobile?” Shirley wonders.

Shirley notices, through the window, that it is night. The window is above the sink where Shirley has been washing dishes all day. Half of them are Laverne’s. “When will she help me with these dishes?” Shirley ponders.

Shirley begins gathering ingredients to make a casserole. Laverne will only eat complicated casseroles. Shirley has no choice but to make them: if there were no casseroles, Laverne would starve. Shirley sings, Schlemile, Schlemozzle, Hausenfeffer Incorporated, under her breath as she slices vegetables. She doesn’t want Laverne to hear. “That’s water over the bridge,” Laverne would say, if she were speaking.

Shirley looks over at Laverne, and sees that Laverne is now damaging the couch with her moisture. The wet beads that have covered Laverne are now rivulets that course the contours of her body. “Laverne’s like a waterbed addled with pinpricks,” Shirley thinks. She resumes the intricacies of casserole preparation, not noticing that Laverne has become a spewing fountain.

Shirley gets further lost in the details of the casserole assembly; there are so many layers involved. The endorphins pump through her and her hands and eyes escape the ties of the body proper and plunge into the essence of the casserole, its vine-ripe heart.

When Shirley looks out the window again, she sees that it is day. She admires her exquisite casserole, the breadth and depth of it. She looks over toward Laverne, but can’t locate her. She is concerned that Laverne has drowned within the waterlogged couch.

Shirley finds Laverne unconscious and bobbing on the surface of the couch. She watches Laverne’s chest very closely to see if it is moving. When she sees that it is not moving, she resuscitates Laverne by putting her dry mouth to Laverne’s wet mouth and blowing air into her. When Shirley is convinced that Laverne is breathing, she pops the casserole into he pre-heated oven.

Shirley joins Laverne in the couch, and she struggles to keep afloat. Shirley is worried that Laverne might kill them both with this excessively fluidity. Shirley pulls herself out of the couch and dries herself with a towel from the bathroom. She goes to her desk and makes a paper boat that she places in Laverne’s lap where it sails from thigh to thigh. Laverne smiles slightly at the uneventful journey, and her fountainous form transforms into the consistency of a sponge.

The timer dings and Shirley takes the casserole out of the oven. It has the most gorgeously browned skin and delicate bubbling edges.

Laverne and Shirley eat the casserole, and when they’re done, Shirley uses Laverne’s newly absorbent body to clean the dishes.