contest image Legs Like That
Valerie MacEwan

"Velma, we used to have legs like that."

"I swan to goodness, Vivian, what century are you living in? Your varicose veins are roadmaps. I could drive to Chicago from LA by following the lines on the back of your right thigh."

"No, it's the purple, you old fool. When we were in the Rockettes..."

Fistula Abangali, sidewalk vendor, approaches the two old women. "Want to buy a leg? I give you good deal. Two for one. These fine American legs, five dollah."

Velma looks at Vivian. "What do you think?"

"I think you're a crazy old fool. Anyone who would pay five dollars for two legs is nuts."

"Okay." Velma turns to Fistula, "Four dollars, not a penny more. And I want the purple one."

A deal is struck, Fistula puts the legs in a bag and the two women walk on to the next booth.

"You could have had them for three-fifty," Vivian says, "I've never paid more than that for any body part."

Velma shakes her head. "You can't get good apendages for less than four bucks these days. This isn't 1950, for crap's sake."

"Remember...?" Vivian holds on to Velma's elbow, "When Papa would come home on Friday nights, late... and Mama would throw open the front door as soon as she heard the car door slam? Remember?"

Velma nods as a vision of Mama and Papa fills her head. Mama, stark naked, standing in the doorway, holding out her arms to Papa as he climbed the steps and handed her a large basket filled with feet and hands. Papa would laugh as she greedily grabbed the basket and ran into the parlor. "Girls, girls! Come see what Papa has brought us!" Mama would cry out with joy. Velma saw herself as she was then. Less than three feet tall, covered from head to toe with a soft grey downy fur, wearing orange Converse basketball shoes and a yellow silk pillowcase that Mama cut to make arm and head holes. Vivian, her twin, dressed in hip waders and a bowtie, her body covered with the same soft fur. A smile slowly creeps across Velma's face as she turns to Vivian.

"Let's call Arturo and Philhomenia. We'll have to buy four more legs. You go home and get the quarters out of the sock in Papa's cabinet in the basement. We can buy the legs and have enough left over for a dozen ears. It'll be just like old times."

Vivian gazes fondly at her sister. "Those days are over, dear one. Arturo is in France and Philhomenia has been gone for years. You forgot again. Let's just have our own party. Just the four of us. You can get dry ice instead of ears and we can get Mama and Papa out of the deep freeze for an hour. You wait here, I'll go get the sock."

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