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I Need's My Pleurisy
by Bill Tope

"I haven't had anything to drink,"
she said tersely.  "So, you needn't
smell my breath!"  This regimen-
ation, this constant questioning
and watching everything she did,
after every date, was becoming
suffocating, thought Lilith for
perhaps the hundreth time this
She observed her mother, Meryl,
grip the Bud Light bottle with
raven-like fingers, nervously thumb
away the sodden label. "I ain't
talkin' 'bout you jus' drinkin',
you bold pup, you!" croaked out
Meryl. "There's smokin', too,"
she pointed out.  Lilith pounced.
"I do NOT use tobacco, Mom,"
she cried with perhaps too
much conviction. "I ain't talkin'
bout' jus' tobacco," growled
Meryl fiercely. "I'm not a pot-
head," averred the 17-year-old.
She looked on as Meryl fired up
yet another joint.  Lilith rolled
her eyes.  Ever since the state
approved medical marijuana,
her mother had been on an
almost continual high. 
She watched archly as Meryl
took a heavy toke.  God, she
thought, no wonder she was
always so stoned, she took
such deep drags off the shit.
"Don't you look at me like
that, Girl," scolded the woman
at the teen. "I needs this
"Medicine?" repeated Lilith
disbelievingly. "Yessir," insisted
Meryl.  "I gots the pleurisy,
don't I?"
"You might not have it if you
didn't always have a joint in
your mouth," suggested the
girl.  Meryl's lips became a
straight, unhappy line.  "And
besides," added her daughter,
"you smoke four packs of
cigarettes a day.  Coincid-
ence?" she asked.
"You ain't so innocent
neither, Missy," returned her
mother.  Lilith stared at her
blankly.  "You spendin' all
your time out with them boys--
on your back!"  Lilith gasped
in outrage and surprise. She
started to object but Meryl
waved her back down.  "All I
ask, Lilith, is that you use the
proper birth control."
"But, Mom," replied Lilith,
"birth control has been illegal
for nearly thirty years."  "I know's
it," retorted her mother. "Do
like I did, an' use the rhythm
method."  Lilith paused for a
moment, then remarked, "But,
you had nine kids...."
"That's right," declared Meryl. 
"An' that's why I need's to have
my pleurisy now.  I worked for,
it, now let me enjoy it."