When I picked her up Janey couldn’t speak she was shaking so much. Her
face was pinking. She looked miserable. I asked her how it was. She
said, “Wonderful, Mom!”
“Wonderful?” They must have told her to say that. Just another one of
their hooks. There was nothing they wouldn’t do.
The terms of the “intervention” stipulated I’d get her for only a few
hours after school on Fridays. Supervised, of course.
I’d been on thin ice from day one with these people. First, the
warning, registered mail, from the power-bitch mom attorney downtown.
It was terse: “I hope what I saw on your daughter’s head was dandruff.
A thorough and regular hair wash is advised.” A week later, the clerk
of the Health and Safety committee called to reiterate the school’s
strict “No Nit” policy. Someone wrote “Lousy Bitch!” in bright red
lipstick on my windshield.
Then they finally put the clamps on.
I’d just pecked her on the cheek, handed her lunch when a phalanx of
them, five across, came bearing down the sidewalk and were upon us
like a line of dark clouds.
They lifted the hair above her nape, and began dictating notes for the
exam “Inflamed. Crusty. Scabby. Add the mother to the relinquish
The one in the tight tweed jacket and the frosty white hair winked as
she told me that whoever got her would treat her like their own. And
then she took my car keys and tossed them in the bowl.
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