"Your mother kisses so much ass she has a bunion on her upper lip."
"Yeah, well, your mother is so poor she grinds dried cockroaches and calls it coffee."
This had been going on for about twenty minutes, an eternity in The Dozens. Marseeya was the champ. Her mother really did brown-nose for a living. Being a writer is a low occupation, defined by solicitude. This gave Mars the perfect mix of osmotic lexical exposure and seething social inferiority to outperform all comers at this traditional Sunday afternoon street-corner pastime.
"Your mother thinks formal wear is a black sweatsuit."
"Your mother is so stupid she wears Army boots 'cause she's afraid she can' pay her GI Bill."
"Your mother is so fat" Geraldine hesitated. Her habitual mistake. Mixing her rotation. Gerry muddled her normal three prefixes'so fat,' 'so stupid,' 'so poor'with momentary improvisations. Now she couldn' remember where she had left off on 'so fat.'
Another pause. Mars had her.
"terrapin is what you do to a pack of bacon."
Gloating was a mark of ghetto princesses. Mars delivered the coup de grace with the empathy due a worthy opponent: "Your mother is so stupid she thinks playing The Dozens means eggs are a new lottery prize."
They hugged like prize fighters and agreed to a rematch next Sunday.
Mars walked home through the new housing block that cut an urban renewal jigsaw piece through her neighborhood. A white couple led two promenading poodles down the sidewalk toward her. The sissified status symbols stopped to piss on everything vertical, including mailboxes. Mars stood in their way. The white girl pretended not to see herl --like a white, rich, Boojum-type Snark who could make little black girls just fade away. Mars stood her ground until the poofy parasites sniffed her ankles.
She looked right at the white girl's eyeshadow. "Are those real dogs?"
The white man took the leashes and steered around her as if she were a puddle.
At home, her mother was at her desk, marooned on an island of clear space in the living room's clutter. Piles of paper leaned covetously toward mounded-over ashtrays, eager to consummate their lust and send the house burning to the foundations.
"Drop everything and give me ten...books from the biography pile." Her mother's back was turned. She stabbed a needle-sharp pencil at a page of something with ferocious urgency.
"The tenth book at the bottom of the Bio pile. Gimme."
Mars pried the volume from the stack, but toppled the other nine. The top-most hardcover struck an ashtray on its way down. The blooming cloud of ash sent their shocked and indignant Maine coon, Galleycat, screeching for the kitchen, kitty-sneezing as he went.
Mars handed up the book. "What's for dinner, Momma?"
But she didn' answer. Mars turned toward the kitchen, where at least the freezer would yield up something specific and sweeta few minutes of her better future, impaled firmly on a stick.
Miss Snark is so sharky she has chums for breakfast.
Scoring to come