Thursday, October 04, 2007
You Take What You Can Get
One Halloween I sat at a cardboard table covered by a gauzy purple curtain dressed as a gypsy with an amputated fake hand in front of me, a realistic looking piece that oozed a sort of weird oil, and told fortunes until we heard gunshots across the street. I grabbed the fake hand, leaving the mandatory rat doll (a must for Halloween decor) and ran inside my friend's bedroom to huddle with all the other girls as we tried to figure out what in the billy hell was happening. Nobody shot anyone in that neighborhood -- my best friend happened to be rich which is why we always had the parties at her house -- she had real stand-up arcade games and pinball machines. Her mother bought us Dairy Queen shakes every single day after school. Money to burn! Sometimes I felt the peculiar ache of poverty combined with jealousy, but most of the time I just slurped down the shake without thought. You take, I thought even then, what you can get.
Across the street, things had gotten a little tight with the de rigueur single mother (in those days, there weren't that many and she inspired great fear in some of the bored married women around who talked about her in earshot as if she were deaf to their unkindness) and her daughter and the mother's boyfriend. The daughter had taken her mother's gun and was swinging it around, threatening to shoot the boyfriend to death, yelling "You know why I want you dead, you asshole." He only took a bullet in the foot, though, a flesh wound at best. He stumbled out onto the street, bleeding and someone called an ambulance. Once my friend's overmedicated mother decided it was safe, we got to stand out on the street and watch. I set up the fake hand on my table and adjusted my peasant skirt, a few sizes too big and held up by a rope. The ambulance lights swirled on the table, and I looked into my friend's crystal ball. The shot dude lay writhing on the ground. Even though I was no fortune teller, I kind of could tell even then that he'd gotten a little of what he'd deserved.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it." Tallulah Bankhead
Drinking novel suggestion: Sweet Ruin Cathi Hanaeur
Benedictions and Maledictions