This month’s Mini Sledge at St. Johns Booksellers was a blast! Eight writers came out, and they even brought a couple bottles of wine. Congratulations to Lisa Galloway for winning the judge’s favor.
Character: Cake decorator
Action: Washing feet
Setting: Childcare center
Prop: Strong scented candle
by Lisa Galloway
The gift smelled like cinnamon buns, so to unwrap a Yankee candle was not a surprise. My family is from the Midwest, if I haven’t mentioned it. I rewrapped the candle and brought it home to my housemate telling her it was from my parents for her. They did not buy her a present in actuality, but I felt bad, because she’d spent Christmas alone.
Well, not completely alone, she’d decorated ginger bread houses with brats at Kindercare and after got so wasted that she burnt her Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven. At least watching kids quells her need to make her own babies. Her boyfriend was with his brother’s family. She was not invited. She says it is because they are not married, but I doubt they know about her.
I should mention that he wears a 2 inch by 4 inch crucifix around his fat tattooed neck, and he hates me because I’m queer. Queer like short hair and all my friends are gluten-free vegetarians that change their names. He’s never said as much, but I gather by his tacky, Catholic icons. Not just the necklace but the god-awful tattoos. That and he never speaks to me. In fact, he stops talking when I enter the room or the door.
Her job before Kindercare was as a cake decorator, but she was too high most days to keep the iced piping even and straight. She smokes a lot more pot now that Jesus comes around. I’m not kidding. His name really is Jesus. Oh and in case you hadn’t guessed, he needs a green card. Well, yes, a medical marijuana card would probably help too, but I mean he’s not legal.
She loved the candle. I knew she would. She desperately wants to be suburban, live in one of those half-tan siding, half-tan brick, 2-car garage houses. Jesus is the first boyfriend that she’s had since high school. She’s 32. After she un-wrapped the candle, he picked up the glass jar with his fat kid-like fingers and took a big whiff. He smiled at me, lit it, and then nodded.
My housemate and I get along fine, but we have nothing in common except for eating junk food like dehydrated shrimp and pork rinds and watching Criminal Minds. I said my friends were vegetarian, but I am not. And yes, my real name is Lisa.
The last fight that I overheard between them was this summer. She’d worn flip flops all day. I think it was the 4th of July. They’d been to that abhorrence at the waterfront, and basically her feet were dusty and caked with dirt. He’d told her that she couldn’t come to her own goddamned bed without washing them. She was drunk on $6 solo cups of beer, and she wasn’t moving. Laziness was one of her hallmark characteristics. So, he ended up washing them with a washcloth on the end of the bed. I thought it was tender in a fucked up way, like he was saving her from herself.
© 2012 Lisa Galloway
Lisa Galloway graduated from Pacific University’s MFA in writing program in 2007. She’s a Pushcart Nominee and author of the book of poetry Liminal: A Life of Cleavage. A NW transplant, Lisa grew up in Indiana where she was adopted into a family with Southern Baptist roots, she contends that the Bible Belt still leaves welts.