“My mom says, "Do you know what the AIDS memorial quilt is all about?"
Jump to how much I hate my brother at this moment.
I bought this fabric because I thought it would make a nice panel for Shane," Mom says. "We just ran into some problems with what to sew on it."
Give me amnesia.
Give me new parents.
Your mother didn't want to step on any toes," Dad says. He twists a drumstick off and starts scraping the meat onto a plate. "With gay stuff you have to be so careful since everything means something in secret code. I mean, we didn't want to give people the wrong idea."
My Mom leans over to scoop yams onto my plate, and says, "Your father wanted a black border, but black on a field of blue would mean Shane was excited by leather sex, you know, bondage and discipline, sado and masochism." She says, "Really, those panels are to help the people left behind."
Strangers are going to see us and see Shane's name," my dad says. "We didn't want them thinking things."
The dishes all start their slow clockwise march around the table. The stuffing. The olives. The cranberry sauce. "I wanted pink triangles but all the panels have pink triangles," my mom says. "It's the Nazi symbol for homosexuals." She says,"Your father suggested black triangles, but that would mean Shane was a lesbian. It looks like female pubic hair. The black triangle does."
My father says, "Then I wanted a green border, but it turns out that would mean Shane was a male prostitute."
My mom says, "We almost chose a red border, but that would mean fisting. Brown would mean either scat or rimming, we couldn't figure which."
Yellow," my father says, "means watersports."
A lighter shade of blue," Mom says, "would mean just regular oral sex."
Regular white," my father says, "would mean anal. White could also mean Shane was excited by men wearing underwear." He says, "I can't remember which."
My mother passes me the quilted chicken with the rolls still warm inside.
We're supposed to sit and eat with Shane dead all over the table in front of us.
Finally we just gave up," my mom says, "and I made a nice tablecloth out of the material."
Between the yams and the stuffing, Dad looks down at his plate and says, "Do you know about rimming?"
I know it isn't table talk.
And fisting?" my mom asks.
I say, I know. I don't mention Manus and his vocational porno magazines.
We sit there, all of us around a blue shroud with the turkey more like a big dead baked animal than ever, the stuffing chock full of organs you can still recognize, the heart and gizzard and liver, the gravy thick with cooked fat and blood. The flower centerpiece could be a casket spray.
Would you pass the butter, please?" my mother says. To my father she says, "Do you know what felching is?”
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