LIFE IN A BROTHEL

“Aussie, we raised good money to send immigrant kids to camp for the summer, I wrote Jimena that we can do this, and guess what?”

“She has more kids to send to camp.”

“How did you know?”

“There’s always something! There’s always more—and more—and more. It never ends. Nothing you do is ever enough, nothing you give is ever enough, people always need more and more.”

“She was asking, Aussie, not demanding. She wanted to know if we have enough for 5 more children, and I said yes, we will be able to raise more, so we’re sending 12 children to summer camp while their parents work in the fields rather than 7. At $525 per child for 6 entire weeks, it’s a steal, Aussie!”

“I call it emotional blackmail. Besides, you tell me never to steal.”

“I’ve stopped using the words never and always. And you have a mind of impoverishment. Bernie warned me against that years ago.”

“Nobody’s worried about me! Nobody cares about me! Why don’t you send Henry to camp? We’d have a summer without him and he’d fit right in with all the other illegals.”

“I’m already in camp, Aussie.”

“That’s true, Illegal. But I didn’t sleep half the night last night.”

“Why, Aussie?”

“Did you hear that terrible screeching in the early hours?”

“We all did, Auss. It went on and on, and it was heartrending. In the morning Lori wondered if it wasn’t some big bird, like a wild turkey, that got devoured by a fox or even a mountain lion. But when I brought you to Leeann for a walk later that morning—”

“Leeann, May Her Name Be Blessed.”

“—she said it was porcupines mating.”

“You mean, they were having sex?”

“Yup.”

“They must go in for a lot of S&M!”

“What’s S&M, Aussie?”

“Shut up, Henry.  It’s a tortured relationship, hee hee hee!”

“Remember what you looked like last summer, Auss, after your annual tussle with a porcupine?? By the time we left the hospital you were down 450 porcupine needles, and I was down one thousand dollars.”

“That sure took a bite out of you!”

“Aussie, I don’t have a porcupine budget this summer. We paid for a new roof and a new car, I ain’t paying anymore.”

“So, porcupines fuck and scream. They must have loud orgasms.”

“What’s orgasms, Aussie?”

“Shut up, Henry. Now as for the Senora and orgasms—”

“We’re not going there, Aussie. And they weren’t all loud, there was one faint wail.”

“Must have been seniors doing it. Do you realize how much sex is going on all around us right now? Leaves are sprouting, flowers blooming, there are fawns and young foxes and baby chipmunks and bird chicks–everybody’s having a good time except me. The forest is hosting one big orgy!”

“What’s an orgy, Aussie?”

“Cover your ears, Illegal, pretend you don’t understand English. You’re good at that.”

“Do you know what the male porcupine does when it wants to have sex with the female, Auss?”

“It gives her full body armor? A collection of bandages? One thousand dollars for the vet?”

“It pees on her. Everybody is having babies and reproducing, Aussie. At night you can hear male owls calling out to female owls, the blue bearded irises are calling out to the bees, male hummingbirds zoom up and down in front of the females like test pilots, male cardinals show off their redness to the females. It’s just gorgeous, Auss.”

“We live in a fucking brothel.”

“What’s a brothel, Aussie?”

“Shut up, Illegal.”

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