Spring 1987 • Vol. IX No. 2 FictionApril 1, 1987 |

Missing Persons

Susan sits in the dark corner of the porch on a lawn chair, swinging her legs, making faces at Aileen, the woman who wants to become her stepmother. Aileen is talking, which is just about the only thing she knows how to do as far as Susan is concerned. Susan doesn't want a stepmother, especially Aileen, but she is eleven and realizes that hers is an age with very little bargaining power. One thing she can do is sit in the dark and make faces while Aileen talks about movie and TV stars. They are her favorite topic, particularly ones with diseases or drug habits, and every time she comes over Aileen brings a bunch of creepy magazines about movie stars and perverts. Sometimes Susan has nightmares that involve three-headed babies, and ninety-year-old mothers of twins, and pregnant five-year-olds, things she reads in the magazines Aileen brings over. "Honey," Aileen is saying, "just let you or me get ourselves hooked on cocaine and heroin, let us crawl on our knees begging to the Bet

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