My mother's kitchen clock
was how I knew I was out
of time. A series of hoots from
some unknown owl echoed
through the quiet house. I
sprayed the carpet once more,
crisp orange scented mail-order
cleanser still sickly sweet but
passable instead of bludgeoning
my brain via my nostrils, and did
my best to finish wiping up the
blotched furry rug we'd inherited
when I was still a child. The tell-tale
glow of headlights reflected
off the dining room's mirrored wall
from the kitchen window, and made
me stand up to face the music. I
swallowed nervously as the front door
opened, eyes rolling back for a moment
at how much puke taste, even after
thirty minutes, was still in my saliva.

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