November 02, 2009

Ally Given, installment #2

April Fools day. Down at Johnny’s Pizza with Ashley and Maureen. Ally can see two black guys spinning pizza dough on the fingers of their brown hands covered in flour, back in the kitchen.

“What’s your favorite food?”

Ashley puts a chicken finger in ketchup, then in her mouth.


“Yeah, Bacon’s good”

“you know Jewish people don’t eat pigs”

“Yeah. My mom invited over this Jewish lady she works with and she wouldn’t eat dinner because it was porkchops”

“wait, why’d your mom make porkchops then?”

“she didn’t know, I guess”

“It’s because pigs are dirty or something”

“well, yeah, but….”

What is the problem with eating pigs, anyway? Ally thinks. There’s porkchops. What do you want, turkey? Turkeys are just as dirty as pigs.

It starts to rain. Ally looks to her left out the window and then her eye is drawn downward by something moving.

Termites start crawling out of the wood panel siding. They shake their iridescent wings. What did Uncle Mike say the time this happened at Ponkapog? When it rains their home-material expands. The tunnels they’ve bitten into being, which are usually just the right size for them to pass through become too narrow as the fiber expands under their feet that aren’t feet, really, but what do you call them? Poor termites. They emerge, the whole nest, and walk around on the windowsill, as if, Ally imagines, biding their time, grumpily looking at the downpour through the glass (though they don’t really see, do they?- they just sensed the walls closing in). Then, as if it wasn’t bad enough for them already, here comes the little Italian lady-

“scuze! Scuze! Eh-scuse me!”

-with a can of raid in her upraised hand. This gets Ashley and Maureen’s attention, and as the genocide begins, they plaster themselves to the door, wide eyed.


“that’s nasty!”.

Ally stays in the ugly orange booth until there’s nothing on the windowsill but puddles of poison and shriveled bugs, soon to be wiped away with a bunched-up paper towel.

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