by T. L. Sherwood

Mambo is outside, talking to my kids about going back to school or getting his GED. “I drop out, they gotta let me drop in.”

I nod at his reasoning and cut another slice of cheese. There’s a nick in the blade, each piece has a ragged line. Mambo won’t care. Last week he said, “Doesn’t affect the taste none.”

Bumblebee

Tony Cypert via Creative Commons

Jonah, my youngest, tells a joke. I can tell because no one answers right and when he says the punchline, he is the only one laughing. Paula’s next words drip with sarcasm. I want to smack that mouth of hers sometimes. It sounds just like my own, and I know what pain it caused.

I toss some crackers on the plate and go out to the porch. They swoop in like bees to a bloom. Mambo, a bumblebee; mine hungry wasps.

“Damn, this is good, Missus J.” Mambo’s thanks is better than a cat call back in my tight ass high tit days.

“Glad you like it.” I look across the street, a similar after-school connection is being done over there, using Cheetos instead, the easy way.

I say, “You kids got homework?” They shift, moan, go upstairs.

I take Mambo back to my room. We start with orals; he earns his bachelor’s degree.


T. L. SherwoodT. L. Sherwood is the Assistant Editor of r.kv.r.y Quarterly Literary Journal. At Literary Orphans, she serves as a fiction reader, book reviewer, and interviewer. She is the 2015 Gover Prize winner and her blog can be found here: http://tlsherwood.wordpress.com/