Drank my first beer when I was
Smoked my first cigarette when I was eight. Back then you
could buy cigarettes. If you were a kid, I mean. They just
figured you were gettin' 'em for your folks.
she says, not the beer. That was Ted. Uncle Ted, but we just called
him Ted. He'd open a beer and say Marlene, you thirsty?
Marlene bites her lip.
tasted awful. I would make a face, and Ted would
say, Drink it, it's good for you. S'got vitamins.
She smiles. Bitter. Like when a pill goes down wrong.
My mom would send me to Ted's on weekends. She had this boyfriend, I could not stand him...and Sunday, she'd pick me up ...
Her lip quivers.
pick me up, from Ted's, and she'd say, Did you have a nice time?
Anyway, she says, that's why I'm here.
She signs her name and sits back in her chair.
Marlene looks at the floor.
Will it hurt much?