Fall 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 4 FictionOctober 1, 1991 |

On the Way Out

Long before I am supposed to die, I learn all there is to learn about swearing from my mother. She slams a door against her side as she struggles in . with groceries and it's "Hijo de la gran perica." In Spanish it is deliberately goofy: "Son of the great/grand parrot." In English it is preposterous; it has no hint of several puns. In English my mother sounds like something gone awry. "Gahd-dahm eat," she says when she remembers that she is in the Ju-knighted Estates. We know all about when she first came to the Ju-knighted Estates and she had to go and buy bed sheets in a midwestern Sears. The boy said "What?" fifteen times. "De sheet deparment," my mother says she said. He directed her down the hall, right, left at the fountain, then straight ahead, where she walked up to the bathroom displays. My mother's face gets red as a hothouse tomato when she tells this, she laughs so hard. She says "I'll going to orinar in my undergwear," and laughs harder, hands clasping her abdomen

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