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Mother left me in the part of the trailer she calls the Great Room. Ours isn’t a real doublewide. Her ex Bobby just parked his trailer next to ours and cut a hole in both to make a door. They would drink there with friends. Hardly anyone goes in the Great Room now but when I told her I’m gay, she marched me right in there.
“Wait here,” she said and crawled back through the hole to the kitchen in the other trailer.
I lit a cigarette and was just returning the Bic lighter to the caddy when my mother appeared at the hole struggling to balance a tin tray that held two martinis straight-up.
“Why didn’t Bobby cut this goddammed hole flush to the floor?” she complained, bending low but stepping high.
She and the martinis were already beaded with sweat. It had to be ninety outside so it was likely a hundred or more in the trailer. She set the tray in front of me and plopped down in the double-stacked bean bags opposite where I sat in the Barcalounger. A small blue pill sat next to each stemmed martini glass. She and her sister called these ‘ten-megs’ when they were drinking in the afternoon.
“You know what this is, son?” My mother picked up one of the ten-megs. “Valium.”
She dropped one into each martini.
“And when you put one in your drink it’s called a floater.”
She handed me a floater.
“Now what’s this shit about you being gay?” She lit a cigarette and blew the smoke out the side of her mouth, never taking her eyes off me.
After the first floater, we switched to regular martinis no valium. Still, she had trouble following my story and I had to repeat each part several times the longer we drank.
“Who is Ben Waugh anyway and how did he get his balls up your ass?” she wanted to know. “Queers do the strangest shit.”
I told her if she’d stayed awake during sex with Bobby she might have thought up some crazy-ass shit, too. She slapped me hard on the arm with the back of her hand and shrieked her jungle bird laugh. Then it hacked into a cough.
We were having a big time filling the trailer with smoke and getting along like the Pope and Satan, but talking to my mother is exhausting. I needed food and declined a fourth martini in favor of going out for some fresh air while mom heated a pan of Crisco so she could deep-fry some leftover macaroni and cheese for lunch.
“Bring home some Dew,” she yelled as I climbed into the huge Buick she calls the Boss Hog.
I’d been driving for years despite just turning sixteen, fetching mom from bars and shit. Now I raced easily along country roads with the radio cranked, an open six-pack on the front seat, not hearing the police siren until the music stopped.
published 11 May 2011
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