Drank my first beer when I was nine.

Marlene remembers.

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.

Marlene laughs. A nervous, staccato laugh.

No, 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.

It tasted awful. Back then, anyway. I would make a face, and Ted would say, Drink it, it's good for you. S'got vitamins.

She laughs. A bitter laugh. Like when a pill goes down wrong.

My mom would send me over to Ted's some weekends. She had this boyfriend, I could not stand him...and Sunday, she'd pick me up ...

Her lip quivers.

...she'd pick me up, from Ted's, and she'd say, Did you have a nice time?

Her voice is dry. Weary.

After that, I swore I would never...anyway, 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?