“We’ll talk when you get here,” I say. “I can’t live with Marla anymore. It’s not that she’s a bad person,” I whisper. “It’s just the
antithesis of everything you ever taught me—living here. They’re not good for me.”
a feeling of anger and animosity
I can see Dad’s
hackles go up and then smooth back down.
in a state of sulky dissatisfaction
large triangular muscle covering the shoulder joint
He has a tattoo on his left
a combination or blend of diverse things
The audience yells an
amalgam of “You never loved her!” or “You’re selfish!” and “You’re crazy!” or “Stop making people eat lamb!”
disturbing the public peace; loud and rough
“You must be missing a lot of parties working here every weekend,” he says. He gets this look in his eye like he remembers
any good that can be bought and sold
What’s wrong with me? Every time I see a girl I weigh her in my mind like flour.
Like she’s a
a preparation applied externally as a soothing remedy
They’d notice her big front teeth and how she doesn’t wear makeup. They’d laugh at the bites on her arms—when I want to apply
salve to them.
a union of interests or purposes among members of a group
I helped him shave his head. I shaved mine, too, in
with little or no preparation or forethought
“No way. I’m not leaving you. And anyway, if you die then I don’t get to spend time with you before you die? No Bruce Lee movies? No
impromptu Bob Marley dance parties in the living room?”
a practitioner of extreme simplification of form and color
You said we’d be
minimalists. You said all that mattered was human connection.
a picture representing a continuous scene
I’m not a person. I’m a check box. You need to understand, this isn’t a childhood. This is a
made to feel uncomfortable because of shame or wounded pride
It’s why I liked the Arby’s uniform. The day I brought it home Mom was
greatly annoyed; out of patience
She looked at me in that way.
Exasperated that I didn’t want loafers.
affectedly shy especially in a playful or provocative way
“Maybe you’re just like your mother,” I said.
the Japanese art of folding paper
Good word, unfold. Because that’s what she did. Like one of those magical
origami shapes—one minute a crane with moving wings, then next a crumbled blob of paper that looked like it went through the washing machine.
a representation of a person exaggerated for comic effect
The bottom of the handle and bell part covered in a big house-slave gingham dress with an apron on the very top of the handle above the
caricature face, a red handkerchief tied up, you know the kind, from the old maple syrup bottles.
filled with wonder and delight
She has the troupe harnessed already and puts on the show. Her pop-pop looks a mix of
enthralled and mortified.
a person who uses unscrupulous or unethical methods
Loretta answers, “I’m no
shyster. This is the greatest...flea circus in the country.”
an Asian temple
We drive through town, toward the mountain with the bizarre
pagoda on it.
wish, long, or crave for
I try not to
covet my best friend’s car. I do anyway.
treatment of physical disabilities by massage and exercises
He says, “So, I got a job at Lakeside. In the office, helping with scheduling and stuff.” Lakeside is a
rehabilitation center—kinda like a nursing home.
I’m in the bathroom,
rummaging through her makeup drawer.
full of high-spirited delight
I stop and look at Mom, and she seems
elated about something.
compose a sequence of dance steps, often to music
He tries to flirt one more time, but Loretta puts her hand out like the
choreographer taught her. “Save it for the next lady, okay, buddy?”
any plant disease resulting in withering without rotting
When you water a potato plant, the liquid seeps into the soil. Helps the spud grow underground. The leaves may love seeing the sun, but the tubers need the dark. They seem so different—so unrelated—but when the
blight hits and the whole plant goes, then you know everything was related.
breathe excessively hard and fast
I’m guessing that Mike’s 100% white power tattoo isn’t the worst thing in the world because Mom never
hyperventilated about that.
a member of a people who have no permanent home
My mom called your mom the
nomad of the family.
attacking or affecting many individuals simultaneously
She told me it was an
epidemic. Girls disappearing from malls. Used it to scare me.
something done or paid to make up for a wrong
This is my last Easter. I’m not going to make
amends before I die.
the act of showing regard for others
Maybe you can buy
civility wherever they sell humor.
contemptibly small in amount
Fact: If Marla and Gottfried would have loaned Matt a few thousand
measly bucks, The Freak would not be wrapped in a dirt tortilla.
someone concerned with the interests and welfare of people
Greed trickles down in many forms. It made Harry a
humanitarian who forgets the human he’s personally responsible for from time to time.
science of the origins and social relationships of humans
I stop thinking about Ian because I’m glad he isn’t here and having to live through an
anthropology project. I try to do that for myself. I put on my anthropologist’s hat and look at my family.
a small patty of minced food that is coated and fried
The Freak is frying you her great-grandmother’s potato
a person who steals by means of deception or fraud
The Freak visited her parents a lot at first, but they never paid attention—which was surprising considering her mother is an artist and has paid numerous
swindlers to read the lines on her palms.
the relation that exists when things occur at the same time
His father always said that families were the same. Everything was connected, everything worked in
a ghostly appearing figure
She walks to him and hugs him, and his arms grip real flesh—not some Scooby-Doo
dig up for reburial or for medical investigation
The Freak has something to say. She says it to the men
exhuming her from her dirt burrito.
an official who investigates death not due to natural causes
She says it to the
coroner. She says it to the funeral director. She says it to you.