Momma jabbed me with an elbow and I started off saying how sorry I was, which I wasn't. Them words were the ones Momma wrote on the back of a hand bill and made me learn. When I was done, Hicky gave me the finger, but nobody saw him do it. Mister Thomas shook his head and went on at momma about how damn lucky she was that he hadn't called the law on me. If it was possible to die of shame, my mother would have done it right there on the front step. Her cheeks flushed a rich shade of pink and she examined her good shoes, mumbling more apologizes. I felt worse for her than anything.
“Uncle T, momma says, if you're goin' drinking at the Hanger, could you stop by the store for baking soda.” I called over, the words fogging out in front of my face.