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Yet she delivers very believable characters with depth and no unnecessary stereotypes. One such character is Poppa, who gave Addy a home when she had no place to go:. Riley looked up from his teacup, his face drained. Who could make up such a story as that? But the older man just shook his head and said, "No Sir, I do not believe it was cousin Lenny who sent you to us.

Addy waited and didn't know what to think when he bent down and took her hand in his. For who else could know your trouble and ours and bring us together in this right way? The story is being told in Addy's voice. She shifts from her present life with Sharla to her childhood, revealing a very tragic departure from her beloved hometown, the fictional Rusholme, Ontario. She acquaints us with the many colorful people and experiences that led her to Sharla. Lansens is very deliberate in her delivery of Addy's memories of her past. Slowly Lansens shows us that Addy is not just remembering the past.

She is actually living out the past, in the present:. Addy cleared her throat and looked down. She saw that her hands were not young and small but old and afflicted.


She pulled out the busted-up suitcase, opened it, and put the boot inside. The little red boot gave her courage. She opened the shed door and stepped into the night. Emilio's big gray van was gone from the driveway but it was just as well if he and Collette were out.

Sharla'd already decided she couldn't ask to come home. She knew it had rained. She could smell the dampness in the air, and as she dragged her suitcase with the red boot down the mud lane, her feet sank a little and there was no dust left to kick up on her shins. There was no television sound and no radio sound and no lights in any of the trailers. It made Sharla feel like she was in a dream. She wondered if she'd wake up and still be smelling garbage in the shed. She was counting the trailer numbers in her head, number seven, number six, number five, and right then a breeze snuck up behind her and she smelled that sweet piss smell.

She didn't know it was the little white flowers. She thought it was a dog, or maybe a trailer tank was broken because that happened sometimes. She even put her fingers to her own parts to see if she'd pissed herself and just didn't know it. The moon pushed aside a cloud and it was suddenly so bright it might have been day if it weren't night. The moonglow pointed out Addy Shadd's long white trailer, number four, and the prim square of white flowers in front. Sharla looked at the trailer, hoping it was real.

There were three metal mesh steps up to the door, and Sharla could see them clearly in the bright night. She parked her suitcase on the ground and counted as she climbed, one, two, three. She put her ear up against the door.

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There was no sound at all. Sharla'd been told never to knock when a grown-up was sleeping, so she settled on the top mesh step, thinking how it'd mark a pattern on her thighs. She looked at the night sky and breathed in the piss smell she was already starting to feel fond of. She noticed the trailer beside, smaller than this one with torn sheets for curtains and a rusty old stove outside that kids kept plastic toys inside.

Battle Rush Home Road

That old stove made her think of Emilio and the first time he came to the trailer. It was only a few months ago, Easter Sunday, but it seemed longer. The groundhog had lied because there was enough snow on the ground to make an angel and more flakes coming down. Collette was mad because her new shoes were white sandals and she'd taken the time to paint her toenails with the Reckless Red polish her friend Krystal scoffed for her at the drugstore.

Collette washed her hair with fruity shampoo, painted stripes of pink on her cheeks, and drew blue on her eyelids. Sharla thought her mother looked like a clown but didn't say so. She watched Collette pull on her soft purple sweater with the wide-open neck. Her mother said, "Fuck Fuck Fuck," when she squeezed into the blue jeans she used to wear before she had Sharla.

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Krystal Trochaud came over from across the road to see how Collette looked. Krystal liked to be the boss and acted more like Collette's mother than her friend. She'd had a baby of her own last year but it died in the night.

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She called it "my crib death baby" and didn't seem as sad as you might expect. Krystal looked Collette up and down as she puffed a Kool. Collette looked between her legs at the way the seam split her pussy lips like a cloven hoof and knew what Krystal meant.

Telling Stories: Rush Home Road by Lori Lansen

She went to change into a different pair, but put on her new sandals because they were just going to stay in the house all day anyway. Her heels went click-clickety-click on the linoleum.

Sharla was watching TV and eating chocolate malt balls shaped like Easter eggs. Krystal sat down beside her on the couch. She said, "Emilio's got a good job. Got a van too. Wouldn't that make a difference for getting groceries and whatever? Sharla pressed a malt ball to the roof of her mouth.

Your butt's gonna be at foster care if Collette loses this trailer. Sharla didn't want to be at foster care, so she sat up straight on the couch and stopped eating the malt balls, deciding she should give the rest to Collette's new boyfriend with the van.


The inside part of the oven was on and that was unusual because Collette mostly used the burners. It made the trailer hot, and when Sharla complained, Collette set her teeth and said, "Go put your fucking shorts on then. Emilio was late. The trailer got hotter and hotter. Whatever was inside the oven was still pink. Sharla'd never seen it before but it smelled good, like something cooked in one of the red brick houses in Chatham.

Sharla hoped they wouldn't have to wait till dark to eat the meat because the only thing in her stomach were a few chocolate malt balls. There was no knock at the door. It scared Sharla when Emilio just walked right in and stood on the mat looking at her like she shouldn't be there.

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  • Emilio wasn't short but neither did he have to duck to get in the door. His head was shiny black waves and his face was a good one with round dark eyes and a not-too-big nose and thick red lips you might see on a pretty girl. Sharla liked the look of him, but he didn't like the look of her and she knew it. Sharla made room for him on the sofa, and when he sat down, she gave him what was left of her malt balls, only four or five melty ones because she'd gotten so hungry waiting.

    Emilio looked in the bag and scratched his head, and he didn't say thank you or wasn't that thoughtful.


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    He called, "Collette?! Hey, Collette, you know your kid's out here dressed like an idiot? There's snow on the ground and she's in goddamned summer shorts! When Collette came down the hall, Emilio got up off the couch. There was a mean look on his face but Collette didn't look scared.