Great Lakes

gorton'sWendy and Wendy’s cousin decided to poison Wendy’s mother. It was nearly Easter and the windows were shut against the cold but the curtains were open. The sky was long and pale blue.

The mouth of the fish stick box was warped from the freezer. The fish sticks clattered onto the baking pan and threw off fuzzy freezer ice.

Wendy should peek at her mother. Her mother had renovated the house since Wendy had visited: there were new, jumbled doorways where there had been walls, and the doorways were like the page sides of yellow old paperbacks. Wendy’s mother was folding in the laundry room.

Wendy and her cousin chose Dawn, with the duck on it, and wrote their names in blue cursive over the fish sticks on the baking pan. It looked too blue. They took each fish stick one by one into their hands and rubbed the soap into the fish sticks with their thumbs. Cold and nubbled surfaces. They wiped the soap from the pan with a wet paper towel. At first the soap foamed and then it wiped clean.

They had forgotten to turn the oven on. It took them a while to interpret its dials. They waited on either side of the fish sticks. The light in the air was tender and sweet.

Wendy felt agitated, with was an unfamiliar feeling. Most often she felt either flattered or abashed. Wendy and her cousin poured all the fish sticks off of the baking pan and into the garbage disposal, then they put their hands between the black flaps of the disposal mouth and pulled the fish sticks out. They loaded the fish sticks and the mishapen fish stick box into a plastic bag from Jewel and Wendy’s cousin took it to the garbage can at the end of the driveway. The garbage can’s lid bonked distantly.

Wendy’s friend Patsy called and asked to come over. Patsy said she wanted to show Wendy her CDs, but really she wanted to take a look at Wendy’s ankle monitor. Wendy’s cousin went into the fronchroom and turned on the tv.

Wendy sat at the kitchen table with the CD player between her feet. Patsy laid her CD binder on the table but didn’t sit down. Wendy lifted the leg of her jeans and turned her foot right and left. The monitor was black as a computer. Patsy sat down and turned the pages of her CD binder. The pages smacked as they fell. Every CD was Cher. In the fronchroom, Wendy’s cousin was watching Dr. Phil.

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