Betty And The
by Marvin Pinkis
it? Can't you see I'm on the phone? Excuse me,
Sandra, Betty thinks she has something important
to tell me. Don't go away. I want to hear all
about Sally and Vern."
eating his poop again."
you told me not to say the other word. He's in
his crib and he's..."
What's that, Sandra? You heard? Maybe it is
normal for kids to say what they mean, but I don't
have to like it. Hell, I better go."
up the disgusting mess, angry and shaky, Mildred
sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and
I do that when I was a baby?"
course not. Now go nap."
marveled that she managed to handle two children.
One was a handful. Betty had started off strange
and stayed that way. Still, Mildred felt she'd
been a good parent for a single mother often too
sick or fatigued or hung over to work steady.
the dreadful morning when she had entered Betty's
room. A smiling infant lay in the crib with fecal
matter smeared over her face, clothes, the
bedding. Mildred threw up and did not re-enter
the room for over two hours before she mustered
the courage to clean up Betty and the crib.
approached her mother. "Ma?"
the couch. I'll put Georgie in his playpen and
air out the room."
you sure I never did what baby does?"
from her ironing. "Do you think you did?"
But Betty had
a faint glimmer of getting yelled at, more like
screamed at, the same way Ma reacted every time
Georgie did it.
had been in the room with the baby when it
happened that first time. She then had left the
room and gone to the bathroom where she carefully
scrubbed her hands and fingernails, and followed
that routine each time the occasion rose.