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Jeffrey stared out the opened window at the streetlights as they drove through town. His mother was bringing him home from the local theatre where she had just had her cast party to celebrate their most recent play. He had to sit in the back again since they were taking Ms. Houffman home. She smelled like wine and his mother smelled like cigarettes. He never did like it when his mother smoked. Every time she tried to kiss him afterwards her breath smelled like burnt tobacco and cheap rolling paper. “Mom. Can we have waffles in the morning?”
“Baby, don’t interrupt. Mommy’s talking.” She was always talking to someone else. “Really though, I couldn’t believe it! We were supposed to be the main story.”
“You know how it is. Everyone makes promises they can’t keep.”
“We did amazing! All of that hard work we put into the production and all we get is a side column and a tiny picture on the front page. Sure, they gave us space on the third page in, but we were supposed to be the first page! See if I put so much work into a production again.”
Waffles did sound really good right now, Jeffrey thought. All they had to eat at mom’s party were some soggy tomato and cucumber sandwiches. It was a grown-up party. I wish I could actually go to parties with other kids. All I ever see are grown-ups talking about grow-up things and doing things that are only for adults. Like whenever mommy has one of those men over for a sleep-over, I can’t play because they are doing things that are for grown-ups. Like those parties. Why can I go to these parties but not play at mom’s sleepovers?
“That stupid girl. Why did she have to go and get raped? We could have been front page news for once in our company’s history, and instead, they run a story about a girl getting raped.”
“It’s because she’s some school board person’s daughter. I dunno his name.”
“Rape happens all of the time. There are hundreds or thousands per day. Who cares? If this wasn’t such a small town, it never would have made the front page. It would have been a mention in the police reports. Theatre; art is far more important to the enlightenment of the masses than hearing some sob story about how a girl couldn’t keep herself out of trouble.”
“She probably liked it anyways from what I hear about her.”
“Probably wasn’t even rape. She just got careless and had to make an excuse I bet.”
When they dropped off Ms. Houffman Jeffrey jumped into the front seat and beamed at his mother. She was lighting another cigarette.
“What’s getting raped?”
“It’s being careless honey. Don’t worry about it.”
“Do you love me?”
“Of course baby. Be quiet now. Mommy has a headache.”