Maggie sat at the kiddy table, her legs hitting the underside of the wooden structure and her elbow sitting heavy over it.  Cousin Lilee was coloring off the page and onto the paper cover with a blue crayon.  How was she stuck here again?  Her mother could have insisted they put another chair at the adult table so she wouldn’t get drooled or sneezed on.  The twitching in her foot only rubbed her knees against the rough wood and bubblegum beneath the table.  She couldn’t sit still.

Pushing away from the table, she paced around the tight room, thrumming her fingers across the backs of the chairs where the adults sat.  Her fingers dipped in every once in a while, catching cloth and a bit of flesh.  This made the adults peer back at her and smile, but they were silent to her, quickly turning back to the conversation going around the table.

“There he goes again,” her Nannie whispered loud enough for Uncle Jim to hear.  They both shook their heads.

Papa waved his hands adamantly at the other end of the table saying words like, “death sentence,” “eye-for-an-eye,” “it’s not murder when it’s just,” and more angry sounding phrases that made Maggie rounded the table, her fingers brushing the pink and blue flowered muumuu Nannie wore.

Maggie’s mother caught her hand as she passed her father’s chair and about reached her mother’s.  Her mother pulled Maggie against her lap, wrapping her arms around Maggie’s thin shoulders.  Settling back for a moment, Maggie took note of her mother’s heavy sigh as the air from it filtered through her hair.  This caused Maggie to wiggle.  She hated the feel of it, like thin worms working their way across her scalp.

Free of her mother, she circled again, headed for the door to the porch.  She might look for the shiny, brass shell-casings Papa had once ran over with his mower and popped the tire of his Lincoln.

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