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Same Blood

Houghton Mifflin

Ballantine Books
 February, 1990


Part One,
Chapter 1

Page 15

they always go places together, though sometimes they pull apart till I yell “OW!” and then Bubby stops the pullin’ but not the game and one boob kisses the other.


Daddy, things’ve gone bad. Today you woulda been ashamed and proud of me all in one. I quit on Mrs. Butler. I didn’t just clean for her. I done other stuff, too. Like today, I mowed her lawn, cleaned out the pachysandra, loaded up the rhododendron with cocoa mulch, whatever she says. She trained me from the ground up though she still watched, so even more than everything she likes done, I know how she likes it done, too. You gotta brush the ottomans off one direction first, then the other. Otherwise they’ll be ruined, and the word “ruined” comes outa her mouth like all of England’s stuffed in them stools.

Sometimes when I just come in, first off, Mrs. Butler’s head looks real little settin’ back against them big red flowers on the slipcover. And she’s readin’ her list and complainin’. Like yesterday, Mary Reilly hemmed Mrs. Butler’s curtains up from the bottom and not the top like she’s supposed to. Mrs. Butler was up all night. Now I do my best to think just like her to make me work better, so I could just about feel the shame in them curtains, but then goin’ home I have to shake out like a dog does water ’fore I drive myself loony. And I see when Mrs. Butler’s friends come, she switches. She’s so polite then, you wanna dump compost right over her head, or do sump’n even more drastic that would make her heart stop, and she’d need you like she needed a doctor, or sump’n she couldn’t pay for. Why with her friends she talks so nice, settin’ there on her couch, she talks ’bout art works then or how the family ain’t strong no more or how people don’t die, they go on.

Anyway, ’bout three o’clock she come into the bathroom while I got my boobs over the sink sprayin’. I do it quick now, three minutes

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