I'm in the little white house. Ma bends over me and wipes some paint off of my face. She's a painter. We're in the sunroom of the little white house. She stands behind her easel, which is next to the small one she bought me for my birthday. A short distance away, Ma has arranged a vase of flowers for us to paint. Petunias. We planted them together. Her flowers are so beautiful, bright, and vivid. Mine look like splatters on the canvas. I start to tell her about how ugly mine are, but she tells me that they're not. A car pulls into the driveway. Dad's back. I haven't seen him for a long time. Ma and I run outside to him and he opens his mouth to say my name.

Today my name is Lucille.

I do not paint.

Dreams are how people lie to themselves so that they don't have to deal with reality. I do not have a mother and I do not paint. I do not live in a little white house with a sunroom.

I check out of the motel, find a diner, wash my hands. Today is the same as yesterday, except today I'm wearing Lucille; Tina is gurgling through the pipes somewhere. My waitress tells me that there is only decaffeinated coffee and that if I want regular, I'll have to wait.

I calmly pick the fork up off of the table and stab it into her throat. I tell her I'll wait for the regular coffee. She doesn't notice. Blood pumps out from around her hands that are clasped to her throat. Nobody in the diner sees her sink to her knees and slowly bleed out on the floor.

I need a new waitress, this one is slacking off, sleeping on the job. If she makes me wait for that coffee much longer, I'm not giving her a tip.

I decide not to stab the waitress, not because I'm merciful, but because I want my coffee and waffles. While I wait, I run the scenario through my head about a hundred times. By the twentieth repeat, I'm no longer stabbing the waitress with a fork. Now she's being beaten over the head with a plate full of sausages. Maybe next time I'll let her live.

The coffee arrives. So do the waffles. I dunk the waffles in my coffee and eat them the way one would eat a donut. Maybe I'll order some pie next. I have thirty thousand dollars that I need to spend before someone steals it, so I should just spend it on food. Maybe tonight I'll stay at a classy hotel, order overpriced expresso, and spend my morning eating the complimentary continental breakfast.

My next job is in Oregon, but it's not until next week. I've got plenty of time to indulge myself before I have to work again. This time I won't have to keep my victim alive. I think I'm going to waste a maid.

The End

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