How He Remembered It
Tom Abray

-- Is that supposed to be funny? she screamed.
Her face was white with blonde ripples at the edges where cars stormed past. Her eyes fattened on him and then began to melt. To avoid the wet shame he climbed down into the brown rooms and squeezed behind the old couch.
-- I didn't mean. . .
The other huffed.
-- He will certainly be taught.
She baked her disappointment into cookies and watched him swallow.
-- Now sit here, she said, and digest.
When the cookies were flowing in his toes and fingers and behind his eyes and he felt miserable all over, he was allowed beneath the sky.
He hardly heard the hush of cars carrying his father to the other side of the window, there, watching him. The loud thump on the pane. In he went.
-- Mom already. . . , he started to say.
-- 'Mom already'!
His father would step through his thoughts closer and closer and he would plead.
-- I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
Thinking it sunk him. His louder sobs brought footsteps to the yawning door.
-- Stop that! Breathe for chrissakes.
He had to bare his bottom.
-- Every time you do that you get one extra smack.
-- One extra!
-- One extra!
Later they placed him in bed, propped among a zoo of stuffed animals.