026. Pigs Fry. Dona McCormack

“Tubsy want one. Tubsy go flying,” you said and rolled innocent iceberg marbles over my face. They kissed like peeled grapes. Wet smooches. Only we didn’t wade in blue pools and Tubsy wasn’t just a name you called yourself.

“Haven’t you heard? Pigs don’t fly,” I said because I wasn’t about to pick you up and I didn’t understand — even after all the family had done to teach us both — that pigs fry. You stuck your feet into the heated brick BBQ pit and screamed. “Why’d you forget what comes next, Luce?” You scooted further into the ancient stove, deeper into the fire I helped build.

Frying pig just right takes time, but you cooked in a flash. The dinner bell swung and knelled. Because the unctuous roast had belonged to you, all flocked to the table.

You insisted on the Carve and you took the blackened edge of your tibia bone to perfectly cooked meat. Fat crackled and your blood collected on the plates. “Serve, sister,” you said to me. You used your bone to saw your skirts off at the waist, where you ended in iridescent viscera, smoothed over like mother of pearl. With a matching goblet, you toasted the table.

Only Mother enjoyed the meat, surprising no one. She masticated and flicked the nails embedded in Father’s brainpan, making him tick, and twitch, and “ooh,” and finally fall face-first, jaws working, in his plate. A swarm of Tibetan flies beset the Aunts’ portions, so they took up their forks and chased the insects right from the room, trying to pierce tiny black corpses on their tines. Your brother George, I refuse to claim him, took a single bite and then accused you of histrionics and wished to know to whom you’d given your legs. George’s wife cut her share into smaller and smaller bites that she spooned far back on her tongue and swallowed whole. Her twin six-year-old sons stuck their pieces on toothpicks and spoke of making you a doll.

I sat to your right and gazed at the plate you had prepared for me. The blood puddled small and very red. You had cooked well. You had cut yourself into small chunks. Easy to chew. The pieces belonged to me; they spelled my name.

You leaned toward me. Your pearl flashed and lips smiled.

“Pigs fry,” you said, and you looked small. No longer piggy. You’d lost so much.

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