Wire Mesh Mothers

Wire Mesh Mothers by Elizabeth Massie Read Free Book Online

Book: Wire Mesh Mothers by Elizabeth Massie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Massie
Tags: Fiction / Horror, Teachers
not ridiculous. Do it. What the hell have you got to lose?
    The students - sans Willie, for Willie had gone home with his daddy to plot the course of Ms. McDolen’s impending doom - were surprisingly somber and quiet as Kate wrote the first of the division problems on the board.
    Of course it’s ridiculous. You’ve never had such an absurd idea in your life .
    Maybe. Maybe not.
    As the rest of the afternoon stumbled along, the seed set out its probing web of rhizomes, irrevocably linking her to what she was going to do when the last bell of the day rang. Her heart lurched; her arm hairs stood at attention.
    Do it. If you lived in Nazi Germany and had a chance to rescue one life, you would do it. You could be that hero. You will be that hero.
    She forced herself to focus on the math problems, but beneath it all she'd never been so excited in her entire life.

    "M am," said Tony.
    The woman on the sofa made a snuffling sound, then turned over, her face to the back, a filthy throw pillow clutched to her chest. She was dressed in sweatpants and t-shirt. Her hair, gray and long, was pulled back into a limp ponytail. She stunk like she was having her period.
    The woman said, "What you want? Can't you see I'm trying to sleep?"
    "Darlene's out back playing in the sinkhole."
    "So you told her not to. You told her to keep her nitty head inside so the neighbors wouldn't think she was skipping out school again."
    "She ain't hurting nothing. Mine yer own business."
    "No problem," said Tony. She went back into the kitchen and pulled a beer from the refrigerator. She took a long swig then looked out the grease-iced kitchen window at her ten-year-old sister in the sinkhole. Darlene was digging with a tree branch. Going to China or something. Little puffs of frosty ground arched up and out of the hole every so often. Maybe she'd fall in and nobody would be able to get her out and the Chinamen would put her in prison and torture her and make her build fireworks for Americans. Tony smiled around the beer can.
    Tony’s home was the yellow house on Rainbow Lane. A developer had bought a chunk of farmland off Donald McDolen and had put up a row of ten box houses. One was white, one pink. Another was blue, yellow, green, lavender, peach, aqua, gray, and teal. Each house had started out with chain link fencing, a small storage shed, and deck off the kitchen in the back. Now, the houses had taken on the personalities of the owners, much like dogs begin to look like their masters. Mrs. Sanford in the white house had maintained the fence and deck and had put in rose bushes and a gray stone patio.   The Campbell family in the teal house didn't have a fence or deck anymore. Their teenagers had torn it down. The lavender house belonged to the Kesslers , whose daughter did beauty pageants all over the state. And the peach house was now a crack house, with its ratty shades always drawn and a steady flow of customers coming and going in cars with smudged license plates and windows smoked over. People in the neighborhood tried to keep pets but as soon as Tony could get her hands on them, they would be sliced and diced and thrown out in the woods. Nobody knew she did it; everybody blamed the crack house customers.  
    There were two bedrooms in Tony's house. One was her mother's and Darlene’s, although Lorilynn Petinske seemed to prefer the sofa in the living room. The other bedroom belonged to Tony and the nine-year-old disabled twins, Judy and Jody. Judy and Jody were disabled because they couldn't behave in school and so for the past year, Lorilynn Petinske had gotten monthly checks for the girls to stay home. Tony didn't know where Judy and Jody were now, probably over at the pink house. The bedroom had a double bed where Judy and Jody slept and a cot where Tony slept. There was only enough walking room to sidle between the bed and cot to get to the closet or the dresser. The visible floor space was littered with dirty underwear

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