My brother Eli and I are lying on the couch, both of us nearly asleep, Eli’s toenails gently kneading my neck. I’m raising my throat to their sharpness, wanting him to press in, when from the next room we hear chimes. Then two clangs. Then: “Hello?” It’s our Aunt Satchie busting through the back door. “Boys! Up!” She’s pretty and comes chest-first through everything, so Eli and I stare. “I mean it. Up, off the couch and into the car.”

We don’t move. 

“Come.” She keeps her hands on her hips as her eyes take in the open bags of food, the canvas facedown on the floor. Then she points: “What’s this? And this? All this? Where’s your mother?” 


“Okay. Get in the car.”

“We don’t want to go with you.” 


Eli reaches for the remote. “No.”

“Put down the remote, Eli.” Aunt Satchie inches toward the Making Table, which is cluttered with paper and cups of dark water. She bends to sniff a cup, and rises. “Jesus, okay. I’m going up and coming down—five minutes. Get some stuff.” She turns and we hear her rings scrape up the banister.

The clock says it’s just about noon, when Eli likes to watch the same sitcom as our mother, who watches it upstairs in a room by herself. Eli doesn’t love the show, but when our mother laughs he likes to know what about. 

“I’ll bet you it’s the parade all day,” I say. “Then football.”