An Unfair Amount
by Wanda Morrow-Clevenger
time we tell Maureen how this is going to pan out."
Donald pulled a Zippo from his breast pocket.
Carol tapped a cigarette from her pack and leaned
forward for a light. "If we don't reign her
in she's going to make an unfortunate mistake."
sweetened the air, sweat beads rolled off lemon
shake-ups, corn dogs called. Swoops of screams
filled the night; The Octopus rode the sky. A
menthol stream joined the July humidity. "She's
over there right now conducting prelims."
Carol gestured toward the exhibition buildings,
the glowing end of her Virginia Slim a laser
some finesse," Donald said. "She was
breastfed on fair competitions. Won those thirty
blue ribbons in 2002 -- a whopping county record that one
"unprecedented" year -- and got
crowned Head Judge."
my middle name." Carol puffed, flicked, ran
a red fingernail across the tip of her tongue,
spit daintily, puffed, flicked. The lipstick-rimmed
butt sizzled its last against the side of a
Rotarian trash barrel. "Breastfed, huh?"
Donald wiped a
linen handkerchief across his brow. The right
corner of his mouth rose in a crooked smile.
"Like a pile of pink piglets suckling a
little towns breed fanatics."
is thrill of the chase. Elation of the kill.
Confetti shower exuberance," Donald said.
"It's a fifty-cent
silk strip edged with pinking shears, Donald."
dollar award. Don't forget the ten-spot."
Both corners of his mouth rose this time and a
Carol popped a
mint and freshened her lipstick, and with eyes
averted they navigated the huckster gauntlet,
hopping nests of electrical cables snaked between
concessions and games.
"Lasso a bowl,
win your pretty lady a goldfish," called.
Donald waved off a greasy carney in a Deadhead t-shirt
and the duo quickened their pace. Jangling music
and littered grass gave way to gravel paths.
Livestock eau de
toilette wafted into the Fine Arts Building.
Maureen sneered at an oil portrait, lips puckered
tighter than the root end of an eggplant.
Picasso," Donald said.
"There is no admittance during judging."
winner for sure," Carol said. "Fluid
demonstration of unadulterated skill."
motioning wildly with her official clipboard.
"This monstrosity win?"
Donald and Carol
sandwiched Maureen. A trio of tots trailing Mylar
balloons giggled past the opened doorway.
Senator Walker's granddaughter's signature, isn't
it?" Donald squinted at the canvas corner.
you're right." Carol squinted at Maureen.
backwards until cornered amid the watercolors,
confusion shifting to comprehension in her eyes.
"No. I can't." The clipboard clattered
onto the concrete floor. "It's not right . .
. not fair."
in an election year. Isn't that so, Maureen?"
Carol gripped Maureen's fleshy arms and pulled
her nose to nose. "We know exactly
what went down in 2002."