Materfamilias  

 

I heard my mother’s laugh; a full throaty ripple that worked its way out through her full lips. “Don’t come home a drinkin’ with lovin’ on yore mind” abruptly blared from the transistor radio in the kitchen. There was the pop of beer caps, rattle of ice cubes and Pepsi bubbled and fizzed.

“Back so soon,” I marveled as it was still light outside. Usually mother and my aunt were out until dawn; trolling their way through the roadhouses and bars along the lake.  I lay on a sagging twin bed, flicking idly through my latest issue of Creepy magazine. The blankets smelled of mildew and dirty underwear. Already tendrils of cigarette smoke curled into the room.

“Where do you think you’re off to?” snapped my mother as I slunk through the kitchen. Rye and vodka bottles formed a skyline of booze on the kitchen counter.

“I’m off to tryst with Rudolph Valentino in Paris, lecture on existentialism at the Sorbonne, then accept my Pulitzer Prize.”

“Don’t you get smart with me, “she shook her finger at me, “and stay the hell away from the beach, you hear me?”

“That your kid, Margaret?” smirked an ex-boxer type with big red hands and a brush cut.

The other guy had massive shoulders and a gut protruding over his belt. His belly button winked at me as I passed by. His dark hair was slicked into a stiff crest on the front of his head like a rooster’s comb. 

“Maybe little Evie’s got a boyfriend,” offered Aunt Paulette, and then started to giggle.

“When pigs fly,” snorted my mother. I slid wordlessly out the door.  Then they all cracked up, like it was the funniest thing they ever heard.

I glanced back through the screen door window. There was mother, sprawled on the ex-boxer’s lap, her arm wrapped around his neck. Her red blouse was bunched up around her waist and her skirt rode high on her brown thighs. He had one hand on her ass and the other crept under her blouse like a hermit crab. Every so often she had to put down her drink and drag his hand back down.

“Hello there, want some company?”

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