Mary Christof, Queen of Hearts

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Sealing A Deal/My Other Mother

Her crafty smile; the sort that, were it on any other person, would send up red flags. The way she proposed it. “What can I do to get you to join me fully, little flower? You’re growing up--and I cannot make every decision for you. What does tiny Alice crave most in the world?”

“Well, um...I don’t really crave much of anything, Mom. Materially? I mean, if I did crave something, you would know of it...” Her hands tickled my neck and made their way down, as I bit my lips in a sort of pondering gesture.

“Oh, come now...there must be something...something special---something spiritual?”

“Nah, I’m fine. Cheesy early-90′s albums, the Bible--which I will pick up eventually, and--well, there is one thing...”

That smile just expanded as she hurried me into one of those armchair types of chairs, the weird sofa type. “Yes?”

“All right, fine, several things.”

So, I spoke, on and on, it seemed until she got what she wanted, my hand out to shake--or surrounded by light, what looked like my hand. “Also, why am I always sleeping barefoot? Except maybe three times, you have me take my socks off before and my feet tingle, it’s...weird. Is it a cleansing thing? An other mother habit? Like, not that there’s anything wrong with it...”

“You have nothing to fear--though, I have to admit. Ned Flanders, that’s pretty funny.”

So, for the rest of the night, I felt fine--well, as fine as I could be for a person possessed by a need to join the Church--not that that was a problem, really. It actually felt good.

The slight Stepford Smiling was...not so good. The confusion, also not good. Was I intentionally trying to break the relationship we had? No. Make sense like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz or my namesake? Yes.

I wanted to do like the caterpillar and just take a nice long smoke through a hookah to clear my mind. Or its modern equivalent, the menthol. That or clearer dreaming.

Either way, to my surprise, she had got the deal ball rolling and I had (though charily) accepted her decorous bribe. And all I had to do for her was read a single book in return.

And in my blissful state, I’d noticed, everyone else felt...not so mindlessly happy. Well, the people around me, anywho.

I wanted to suddenly help--either that was the sequela of the syringe shot I felt last night or something much more human...however, I had to hold the feeling back. It made the town more emotionally receptive, for some reason or another.

Or, for you bitingly cynical types, the sudden return of emotions acted like a reward system for deprived rats–do well, my children, and you shall get them piece by piece until you are free and whole again.

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