If You Don't Please
Chella Courington
The mother pours her daughter a cup from the French press, and she sniffs the rim before touching it with her lips.

“Why are you so picky?” the mother asks.

Raising her arms overhead, the daughter inhales deeply and arches her back and says “picky” as if tasting the word. “You taught me never to drink from a chipped or stained glass, and to clean before and after meals.”

“But you’ve grown excessive.”

The daughter lifts the brioche to her nose before taking a bite and says something in a low grating voice.

“What did you say?” the mother asks.

Wiping crumbs from the corners of her mouth, the daughter sets the roll back on the plate, pushes it away with the nails of her first two fingers.

“What now?’ the mother asks.

“Musty,” the daughter says.

“Stop being so fussy. Temperamental is not in our DNA.”

The mother pretends not to notice the light fur spreading on her daughter’s arms and hands. Even the kitchen mirror is forgiving until Maxi, the Fox Terrier, trots into the room, pauses and lunges.

The daughter jumps onto her chair, hissing.     

First published: May, 2013
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