by Deborah Hansen
She sat to my right, bitterness dripping from her clenched jaw. Waves were carved into her hair, tiny widths of a finger pressed into her skull, over and over, up and down. Her eyes were cloudy blue and dead.
Her husband huddled at the other end of the long wooden lunch table as if relieved to have the rest of us between them to keep him out of harm’s way. Her harm as it turned out, venomous as a snake’s bite. He had been bitten many times.
“I don’t know what they were thinkin’ even letting ’em in,” she said. Her mouth sucked the dry lips in, tiny vertical lines cutting into the soft flesh. She snapped her head toward me to make sure I was listening.
“You know how they are. Give them the teensiest bit and they just make off with it, going’ places they’re not wanted, thinkin’ they can take over.”
She spooned soup into that vile mouth, dripping it down the front of her red checkered shirtwaist. A cracked patent leather belt cinched her spreading middle. Loose skin sagged from her forearms as the spoon went into that maw again.
“Yesssssss, you know what I mean, I can see that.” She hissed, her head bobbing up and down, an evil doll face peering down the table. Her gaze swept over the rest of us, before falling again on her husband. The tiniest bit of a foul smile managed to escape before she snatched it back into storage, those bloodless lips the gatekeepers.
Her husband shrank back, her words trussing him to his chair.
First published at Runcible Spoon