A Hit Dog Will Holler

by Selena Anderson

Divorce twins, the girls could be cruel. Tiny’s stepdaughters May and Annie were strong beyond her understanding: smart mouthed, sensible, defiant. They had their own private kingdom of science fiction speak and candy jewelry and laughing fits brought on mostly by spelling Mississippi as fast as possible. They wore princess costumes with everything, even raincoats, and their braids were always unraveling in little blue-black flames. The girls also carried magic wands and made a point to mention after the fact that you were not sitting on a barstool but very large toadstool. From now on your shoes would be skis, your hair licorice, your fingernails mirrors—all transformations that made them laugh cynical, divorce-kid laughter. In the kitchen now, May swirled a wand of glitter and feathers and warned Tiny, “Turn you into a tree, we shall.”

Chin in hand, Tiny glanced from the oven door and said, “Be sweet and sing me a song instead.” The girls did a rare thing and obeyed:

                        Dinah’s dead! Dinah’s dead!

                        Oh, how’d she die?

                        Well, she died like this! Well, she died like this!

“Don’t y’all know anything else?”

May and Annie stood in flip contra pasto, unblinking, knowing in fact quite a bit. They sang:

                        Tiny’s dead! Tiny’s dead!

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