In the same instant that you open the door, you find yourself harnessed at the crotch; grasped tightly by a system of stitched-together nylon straps and plastic buckles. You clutch your chest and feel bare skin. Here is a kind of shirtlessness that is incredibly unsexy. In fact, you feel simultaneously fat and diminutive. Without much thought, you begin to urinate, and it feels right. You aren’t even leaking. You feel warm. Your head doesn’t hurt.


You are fastened before a curved surface littered with chopped-up spaghetti and droplets of apple juice. You raise a tiny arm. It looks like a rolled washcloth. You want to form just one word—perhaps “What?”—but you can’t. All you can budge is a measly “Da.” Then two more. “Da. Da.”


Sitting in a big-girl chair facing you is your mother, in a wool sweater and acid washes. Her hair is plumy, and indicates the year. Well, that, and this ghastly kitchen. The vinyl floor is jaundiced. The lights are dim. There’s no chrome dishwasher. This is long, long ago—yet it’s happening now.


Mom looks rough, like she’s been weeping. The smoke from the cigarette she’s holding bothers you, so you gurgle. She shushes you and speaks.


“I know you got no idea what I’m saying, but you ain’t supposed to be here. Not alone, at least. You killed her. You gobbled up all the blood for yourself and killed her, before she even came out. You’re an animal. A dirty little animal.”


Mom sends more smoke at you, and you cry, hard. Then an alarm sounds. It’s loud, shrill. You see and smell the possibly fake cops as they rush in. One of them pulls you from your high-chair and runs back towards the door. The other holds your mother at gunpoint. She screams. You want so badly to comfort her, but can you trust her? Can you trust anyone?


this installment was written by dan poorman