At her mother and Samson’s wedding reception, Dahlia steals candy buttons from gift bags and tells Auntie how upset she is at not being able to walk around the house topless any more.
“Can’t do it with him around,” she says, licking her lips colored Yellow Number Five. “and even if I did, just look, just look at ‘im! He’d snitch to Momma for sure.”
Auntie chomps down on her teeth, Pan-Cake foundation wet on her hook nose and sloping collarbone, offering Dahlia nothing. She knows better now, than to give the child reason to believe she agrees with her. Momma! Auntie thinks your new hub’s a tattler too, she went and told me so! Ohoho, not going to happen again, Auntie’s determined, the babe can be kamikaze all by her lonesome.
Auntie’s eyes paw Dahlia’s courtesan’s bouffant and fingernails, painted with orange permanent marker and glitter glue.
“I know, Auntie,” Dahlia whines, “but how was I supposed to get dressed up for this, huh? It’d be like letting Momma win.”
Auntie’s sympathizes, but not enough to brave the primeval waters of mother-daughter conflict. The cellophane mammalian eyes, which through the magic of natural selection are also Dahlia’s own, circle once, twice, careening from the daylily flower arrangements (Dahlia thinks monocotyledon, sophomore Biology, Miss Rittenhouse’s China red cardigans) to the collapsing Neapolitan ice cream cake dead center (Dahlia thinks sacarose, fructose, lactose, I want to go home, I want to go home).
Color-alternating strobe lights, Mr. and Mrs. Samson Faktorowicz waltz by, merry-go-round, tight turns and whorls quick enough to make the brand-spanking-new Dahlia Faktorowicz’s head spin. It’s a storybook affair, but Samson ruins the effect by letting his hands stray below Dahlia’s mother’s waist, and she, the DayGlo princess rotting, lets him, drunk and reveling, revolving, revealing.
“Oh Good Gad,” Dahlia says, “great Gods. Save your humble servant.”
“Better get used to it,” Auntie says, unable to resist getting a hit in with her perilous problem niece, “you’re going on their honeymoon, aren’t you?”
Churning loud, huffing and puffing, a wounded Dahlia skulks out to the parking lot.