by Lindsay Hunter
Your brother's pregnant girlfriend got her leg up on the desserts cart, thrusting her hips over the lemon meringue, your daddy's favorite, you can see the words "Sweet Bitch" in glitter script in the front part of her undies every time the cart rolls a little, which it does a lot, she dancing so thoroughly her shoe fell off a song ago, she bent to get it but the bending didn't fit with the beat of the song so she let it be, and you felt like maybe that meant she was smarter than you gave her credit for, and you thought that even when she dipped her toe in a lava cake and then tried to lick it off till she realized she don't bend that far and did a sloppy, arcing kick so she could brandish that toe in your daddy's face, your daddy with that paper cone askew on his head, that elastic cutting into all that flesh at his jaw, your daddy with his small black eyes and his big wet mouth and that nipple of mashed potatoes on his shirt, your daddy who once asked you could you come here, come closer, and belched your name right into your face and asked you to guess what he ate for dinner, your daddy who told your brother ladies'd get wet over a cocktail wiener if it was wrapped in twenties, your daddy who told you if you went to the Wal-Mart past ten at night you'd be raped by a gang of blacks in the lightbulbs aisle, and later it changed to a gang of Mexicans, your daddy who punched your brother in the mouth the night he told about getting his girlfriend pregnant, your daddy who called that girlfriend a slut Oreo on Christmas day, your daddy who could surely read the words on your brother's girlfriend's panties crotch despite his cataracts, your daddy who swatted that foot out his face like a poisonous insect, your daddy raised up that fist, that hammered clump of knuckles, and pounded the table so hard his little sippy cup of tea and gin fell off the table, your brother saying Well, Pop, and your daddy saying his meanest, something beyond words, something close to Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, gums wet and pink as something just birthed, and you just watching that tea and gin spurt out your daddy's straw and onto the crazy quilt of a carpet they had in this place, and when you looked up the old man from the next table was behind your brother's girlfriend, slapping her thigh and bouncing on his toes like he was playing at riding a horse, and your brother's girlfriend moving slower cause it was a slow song now, both her feet on the ground, eyes closed, and the old man not getting it, riding his horse out of time with the beat, it was unsettling, it was rude, you found yourself muttering, Are you serious? Are you serious? like you was tasered or something, your step-aunt leaning across the table and salad-mouthing, Serious bout what, hon?, and your brother twitching like he'd just come to life, your brother saying, Serious bout your face mole, and your step-aunt dabbing at her face with the corner of a napkin, that mole the color of butterscotch pudding, ringed in red now from being dabbed at, your daddy's dead wife's sister who your daddy had to stay the night every now and again, they was a pair, your daddy in his wheelchair and your step-aunt in her scooter, your brother told you they just rammed wheels and tallied that up as sex, the jostling was enough he said, and now when you get the chance to have some yourself you think of it as jostling, Jostle me, you want to say into a man's neck, Jostle me good, your brother's girlfriend walking the old man back to his seat now, limping on her one shoe, the old man's family eyeing your brother's girlfriend with red faces and slit eyes, the old man's daughter saying Alright now, your brother's girlfriend saying You welcome, sug, stopping on her way back to the table to pick her undies out her ass, your brother arranging the cutlery around her plate like it was the return of the mother of Jesus, your daddy eating his meatloaf like a slice of pizza, your daddy didn't take no puree, I eat sholidsh, your brother mixing your daddy another sippy, your brother's girlfriend cutting up that dish of meringue into little pellets for your daddy to maw on, your step-aunt fluffing her bangs with one hand and worrying that mole with the other, your daddy's legs poking out his shorts like something veined and obscene, your daddy who you told when you thought they was goblins in your closet, your daddy who said Got that right and snapped off the light, and now you thinking how you ain't hungry for dessert, you thinking how you don't know what you hungry for, you eyeing that carpet and thinking how there was a time when a spill like that'd remind you quick just how much a man your daddy was, all teeth eyes belt and fist.
Lindsay Hunter is a writer living in Chicago, where she co-hosts the Quickies! reading series. Her first book, Daddy's, is out now on featherproof books. Find her at http://lindsayhunter.com/.