“That little girl caught everything that went around,” sighed plumpchunky Gramma Magma, flapping her hands against her flour-sack dress and heaving a heavy sigh out of that overgrown torso that harbored such a sick heart. A sick heart that just had no idea it would give up on Gramma Magma in just a few years. A sick, sweet heart can take only so many pan skillets full of bacon fat, you know.
I know that you know. She has no idea, though.
“Well, I just grabbed that little girl and I was holding her and rubbing her and I just wanted to tell her I loved her, and she didn't want to go off to school, I think, but she had to go, didn't she?”
Gramma Magma's dry and wrinkled breakfast companion sat quietly and puffed on her cigarette with lips that hung on her face like a couple of pieces of beef jerky and were nearly purple. Purple as the bruised teat that pulsated in her mind's eye and stared out of her memory and into her waking thoughts, crowding out Gramma Magma's steady patter.
“Shut the damn door, shut the damn door, I said. And the girl didn't think anything of it. I think I remember her first words, but it had to be 'no' that she said to me. She said that 'mommy says that to me,' and I guess that was just her new phrase. They definitely hear what you say, you know what I mean?” Gramma Magma flapped her flour-sack dress a few more times. “She said she told her momma she had a dream and in the dream she was with her momma and she and her momma went on a trip somewhere but she didn't know where. Is that the dog talking to me?”
The purple lips curled around a dirty cigarette, grimy with mouth dirt from that sick, sick mouth with the purple lips hanging like beef jerky. The dirty little companion coughed a wet, productive cough, wet and full of matter getting coughed up from deep within that dirty little frame; coughed something into the crook of her arm and wiped the corner of her lip on the shoulder of her pink blouse, leaving a grimy mark of mouth dirt on the fabric. She coughed again and brought up even more, sounding like something broke loose; wiped something out of her mouth into a dry white paper napkin; crumpled the moist napkin into a tight ball and jammed it deep into her pants pocket.
“I'm going to put some astroturf on my front steps, kind of like my neighbor did, except he never finished the project and he rolled it all the way out there like a red carpet and just let it sit there, never tacked it down or anything. I'm going to get the stuff tacked down and it's going to look nice,” proclaimed Gramma Magma, feeling good about the astroturf. “How far is it down to Texas, anyway? You like your new car?”
Wrinkled, purple little teat-lips gripped the cigarette even more tightly and grimy lips pressed that mouth dirt into each other and never dared open and say a thing about the heart and the grime and the pain and the burn.
Always the burn. Always the burn.