Skip to main content



She sat on the edge of her bed and looked at her bare feet, her cold feet. The nylon scratched all her skin, when she inched the panty hose up her leg.
It was summer.
And Momma was tired.
She stood and put on the navy dress. The one with the white collar.
The only dress that owned a hanger.
... and white shoes look best, she thought; not even aware she had.

Tommy was waiting, sitting on the front porch. He looked uncomfortable in his brown corduroys and white shirt. Momma thought he looked like an angel.
"You look like an angel, Tommy," she told him, too.
"Why are we going over there?" Tommy demanded; chin slamming into his palms and elbows on knees.
"Because we have to," she replied.
"No one is even there. Why do I have to go with you?"
In case I get caught, she answered Tommy; and only to herself.

She could feel the itch and trickle of sweat down her back. A bare hot leaving her skin scratched more. The sun; bald and white. The heat of the sidewalk burned through her shoes and disagreed with her soles, as they walked along. Tommy trudging three steps behind her, until now.
Now he was walking beside her and staring at her.
"Sometimes, I pretend my tongue is a hammer and I can bash out my own teeth with it," he said.
And Momma wanted to tell him what a wonderful idea that was, but it did not seem like a train of thought she should encourage.
Instead, she tapped her tongue against her teeth.
Then she looked back over at Tommy. He was looking straight ahead. He was breathing out of his mouth like an animal. Then she noticed that she was doing it, too.
"You know they are at church, Momma," Tommy insisted, turning his head back towards her.

The blast of cool air, when they walked in the side door of the house hit Tommy's arms. Reminded them to sweat.
He followed Momma up the three steps into Aunt Lynn's kitchen.
He saw Grandma's egg holder sitting beside the sink. Every morning she had an egg. Every morning. Grandma told him all the time.

A pound of hamburger. A loaf of bread. Two cans of soup. Some potatos.
Tommy was sitting in the living room, watching the television.
Momma walked in and handed Tommy a slice of the take-out pizza, that she found sitting in the refrigerator.
"I have to go to the washroom, Tommy; then we can go."
"I didn't change the channel, Momma," he said.
"Okay, Tommy," she answered him. She did not know what else to say.

Tommy was fast. Momma was in the bathroom and he zipped into the kitchen.
Tommy had seen a five dollar bill sitting on the kitchen table.

Momma watched him from the hallway; watched Tommy put the money into his pocket.
Momma said nothing and Tommy snuck himself back into the living room.


Jennifer said…
I must say that I really liked this Tommy story. You write so well Q. I have a hard time believing that these are not true stories.
Agreed. This is reminding me of my old favourite Literature class.

At the risk of sounding like an idiot...did Tommy's mom bring him there solely to test him?
Terrible lie said…
I would think that they were at the house to collect some things while Grandma was at church..
Why is Tommy's mother so nice in this one? Or is she just nice sometimes?
I probably just answered myself..
cbeck said…
A pill a day keeps the doctor away, eh?
Queenie said…
I really enjoy you guys.
And no one is an idiot!
Except maybe me!
I do not know how to answer any one of your questions.

Okay. I can answer cbeck's.
Grandma is the only pill popper.

Anonymous said…
I met Ron THERE's a story!

Popular posts from this blog


When I was in Ottawa, abandoned and enthralled,
breathing in the
heat waves shimmering off the people
and the cats
and that lazy raccoon that I later named Mondrian in my mind
after I saw my first one,
I did not look for you.
Nor in the malls, the halls,
the magazines, in the new towns,
or down the old roads,
on silver screens, between the book shelves, down on my knees
hands in the clover.
I took you for granted.
Oh hey.
There you are.

I know myself
Far, far, far more than I let on
I know what I am doing.

Love is such an easy word.
Besides, it's a given,
We can keep it there, easy, big, broad like the straight black painted lines, it's nice.
Effortless. Quiet. Assured.
So then, I guess that it is not the word.

Punks-Starting to Remember

Minnie is 14. She likes wearing bright red lipstick and getting high.
Right now, Tommy is arguing with her. "Vitto will be waiting for me then."
"He can wait longer," she tells him. "Tell him there was too many cops following you around or something."
"Yeah," Tommy says. "That might work. Vitto would believe that. Three different cops stopped me on the street this week."
"What?" Minnie almost shouted. "Oh, Tommy. They are on to you."
“No, they aren't."
But she knew. "For sure they are. Listen. Meet me outside the pool hall at 9:30. I'll havethe dope then, Tommy."
“No. I really should go see Vitto first.” He kisses her quickly on the forehead and then runs home to make himself some Kraft Dinner for supper.

When he walks in the front door, there is Momma with a bottle of whiskey tucked between her legs, her head rolled to the back of the couch, her mouth open.
"What the fuck, Momma?” Tomm…

Quiet Company

I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold, I'm being sold-out
It is torture but
I don't even care
Except to love you more, to love myself more
Those hot-burned tears for you as I rally to save my skin
wind down me and leave behind gold and green
and I don't stop looking
until I look upon you
What on earth...
I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold.
I'm being sold-out.

Sunlight filtering through cracks
in the sky
in the walls
fall across your skin
I fingerpaint across your chest
Every word
known to man
and found in you

Fresh snow
Our footprints mark us
You are here!
I am here!
We are here!
Turn your face upwards
Let falling snow rest on your eyelashes
(dream of me)
Let the white melt on your outstretched tongue

It's spring.
Just one word.

I'd sit across the hall
looking upwards until I saw the flicker; light on
Sit with you while your busy hands rolled over these plains, these fields
The stretches of nothing
(Look at…