Timothy hung Dorothy off of their familys mirpesset. He
was about to release her second foot when Mom walked onto the porch. As quick
as any child tempted with a second bowl of ice cream or as any roach tempted
with the remnants of the same, he lifted his younger sister back up and set her
on the orange tiles.
Dorothy sucker punched him.
Timothy doubled over.
Smiling and sing-songing to herself as she shut the door to the
house behind her and walked back into the familys salon, Mom considered
that the children had not yet, that morning, knocked over the towels on the
umbrella clothes line and had not yet, all week, broken more than three of the
smallest ceramic pots housing her succulent collection. As well, the
familys lizard was hazarding to sleep on the far corner of their
patios ledge. All was good. All was in balance.
Such harmony allowed Mom to select between calling her neighbor,
Alice, to complain about the price of bread at the local makolet or making and
using an avocado and oatmeal mask. Sitting on the front stoop and smoking the
last of her lady cigarettes was not an option since Mom anticipated only a few
minutes of leisure. Maybe she could chew a cuticle or two.
The phones summons waylaid all of those ambitions. Sandra,
whom Mom had thought was putting on the pudge, had, apparently, just given
birth to twins.
Back on the mirpesset, Dorothy was flinging handful after
handful of potting soil at Timothy. The new tilt of Moms geraniums was of
no consequence to the little sister. She cared even less when she grabbed a
Geranium sanguineum by the root ball and flung that at her brother, too.
Timothy palmed raven droppings. One piece made contact with
Dorothys left elbow.
Dorothy screamed as loud as she had when Timothy had set her
braids on fire and almost as shrilly as she had when Timothy had made and worn
a necklace of her dolls heads. She ran for Mom.
The lizard woke, straddled his proportionately-sized motorbike
and leapt from the familys piazza. The raven, whose poo had gone
ballistic, fluttered down to feast on the reptiles subsequently
Dorothy, all fretting and stomping, pulled at the cord that
connected Mom to Alices gossip. The child yanked so hard that she
disconnected Moms communication device from the wall.
Mom frowned a deep v.
In the Time Out Corner, Dorothy pealed even louder. She then
gagged, shrieked again, and went suddenly silent. She had heard the splat of
squamata on cement, but had mistaken the reverberation for that Timothy
Neighborhood dogs chorused, loudly. A siren sounded.
Mom tried to set the cord back into the wall with ill effect.
There was more than twenty minutes until the school bus arrived. If she could
reconnect, she could learn the identity of Window Sandras boy toy. All
Alice had espoused, before their talk was severed, was the size of the young
mans biceps and the manner in which they bulged when he delivered
canisters of water.
Mom subscribed to that particular delivery service but had never
been serviced by that particular provider. She wanted to know if he might
freelance as a babysitter.