I just want to eat lunch.
Mommy promised if I was good, we could have grilled cheese at the counter in Woolworth’s. No more hamburgers, not since the last time we ate there. She said the chop meat was bad. It tasted fine to me, and then all of a sudden, I didn’t feel good. I threw up next to a baby carriage right out front. Mommy covered it with a bunch of napkins, and we left.
We’re on our way to the bank which is so boring and a hundred times worse than any other store I can think of and most churches. There are no chairs or pews. If you want to lay down, you have to do it on the giant dirty rug in the hallway but with so many people coming in and out, there’s really no room.
I stare into the big metal ashtray in the doorway. It’s almost as tall as me. There’s a piece of pink gum resting right on the edge of the dish, almost separate from the squished cigarette butts and candy wrappers. It looks fresh. I can still see teeth marks.
Mommy waits on line. She is next. It looks like she knows the lady behind the counter. This is gonna take forever! But now, at least, I have something to do.
I sing some of the words to “Hey There, Georgy Girl” as we walk together down the street. I heard it on the radio when we were in the pharmacy getting a birthday card for my cousin.
You’re always window shopping, but never stopping to buy.
So shed those dowdy feathers and fly, a little bit!
“What’s in your mouth?” Mommy asks.
“A song,” I say.
“Spit it out.”
She holds her hand in front of my mouth, and I swallow.