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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mother-In-Law

My mother-in-law doesn’t like me much, but that did not stop her from walking over to the house. When I opened the door, the first thing I noticed was that the rubber chicken she was carrying under her arm was missing a foot. Curious, I asked, “How’s that cut on your arm? Healing alright?”

“It’s fine,” she said not looking at the bandage.

Silence swelled between us like a shriveled sponge grows when soaking up water.

“Anything I can do for ya?” I asked, holding the door firmly with my left hand, ready to slam it shut in an instant.

“Just wanted to get to know you better,” she squinted. “Tryin’ to see what my daughter saw in you.”


I looked over her shoulder trying to ignore the remaining chicken foot moving in the breeze. “Maybe the other one fell off on the sidewalk . . .” my eyes wondered to themselves, wandering up the street. Trying to help her along. As if feet simply fall off rubber chickens. My suspicion of her grew in the rich fertile soil of the pervasive quietude bulging in the middle. “What does she want, really?” I inquired of myself.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“Well, you ain’t no detective!” she derided, laughing me off.

“And you ain’t no criminal!” I fired back. “Wait . . .” I thought to myself. “How’d you hurt your arm again?” I asked.

“You were there,” she said. “And she was there. We all were there.”

“Oh, that’s right,” I remembered out loud, lying.

She squinted at me again, breathing squinted breaths.

“Got any twine? String? Rope?” she asked.

I flinched with the door. Like I was going to give her any! “No,” I squeaked, ready to bolt, hoping her list did not include duct tape, garbage bags or shovels.

She held out the chicken at arms length. “I was practicing trussing up the bird for cooking. Ran out of twine. Gonna make a nice dinner for my daughter and her husband.” She turned to go.

“Ok,” I stammered. “No problem there. But I don't have any duct-tape, er, twine . . . ” She turned to go and I watched as she wander back up the walk.

“Yes, he’ll do just fine,” I heard her say as she crossed the street.

(Note: this is a writing exercise. Purely spontaneous. Nothing implied or intended. No chickens were harmed in the making of this blog.)

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