GENRE: Middle Grade
Every day after sunrise Momma comes home from her all-night waitress job at the Cha Cha Resort, which is down the beach just a few miles from here. Usually, the first thing she does when she walks in the door is turn on the TV. She says it keeps her company. I think it’s a bad habit. If he were here, Dad would disapprove of the trash they have on all ninety-eight channels.
Today the TV is already on when she gets here, and I’m sitting half-asleep on the sofa, waiting for her. Something scary happened to me last night, and I need to tell her about it. Momma is in her uniform, her large-pocketed apron tied around her waist. She pulls open the curtains, letting in the daylight, and tucks a Styrofoam box into the mini-fridge.
“Hey, Hallie baby,” she says, flopping down next to me. She gives me a few dollars of her tip money from her pocket, which I really appreciate because I know how poor she is. The money is for my lunch which I’ll buy later when I’m alone out on the beach.
“Thanks, Momma.” I wrap my arms around her middle and lean against her chest. Her heart patters against my ear, and her warm smoky odor rises from her skin like perfume. She rests her chin on my head for a moment then swats me playfully on the bum.“Come on, baby,” she drawls, “let’s eat so’s I can get to bed.”