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by Gail Siegel

Rhonda says her favorite American Idol is the boy with the slick hair and JoJo says hers is the fat girl with the tight dress. Laurie doesn’t have a favorite because Mama and Jake don’t have a teevee. Laurie is stuck with Rhonda and JoJo at a table in the art room so Laurie sucks a loose thread on the frayed cuff of her sweater.

When they stare at her, waiting for her favorite, Laurie whispers, “We don’t have no teevee.” Rhonda clucks her tongue. “So? You can download it to your iPod or your computer.” JoJo makes the same chicken-y sound, and shakes her rubbery face.

Laurie’s favorite number is ten, so she rakes her art supplies into piles of ten: ten red beads, ten Popsicle sticks, ten crayons.

Rhonda passes her lip gloss to JoJo so they both smell like coconuts. Laurie doesn't know if she smells like anything, but her fingertips smell like crayons.

On the sheet in front of her, she will draw ten doll-eyed girls holding ten blue balloons with a ruby bead in the center of each. She will glue a frame of Popsicle sticks along the edge. One of the crayon girls has a deep pocket in her dress, and an iPod in her pocket; it’s the girl with the prettiest hair. Nobody can see it, but Laurie knows it's there. She adds butterfly bows on the balloon strings, as if they were kites, and never lifts her eyes from the paper.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Gail Siegel's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in lovely places like Brevity, StoryQuarterly, 3:AM, Quick Fiction, Salamander and Post Road.

Read the interview.
Issue Twenty (March 15, 2008): The Cockroach by David Barringer «» Trestle by Matt Briggs «» Worried & Wondering by Aaron Burch «» Dead Dog Rising by Kate Hill Cantrill «» Tinder by Chanel Earl «» Scrape by Utahna Faith «» Arlo's Big Head by Stefanie Freele «» Wei-Ch'i by Vanessa Gebbie «» Last Fall by Katherine Grosjean «» David Dreams of Australopithecines by Savannah Schroll Guz «» The Last Stop by Jenny Halper «» Blue by Stephanie Harrison «» Cadet by Tiff Holland «» Slam by Liesl Jobson «» Beret by Darlin' Neal «» Camp by Elizabeth Oliver «» We by Patricia Parkinson «» Seconds Are Ticking By by Nik Perring «» Brother by Sue Powers «» Carol by Sophie Rosenblum «» Elizabeth Bishop by Glenn Shaheen «» Favorites by Gail Siegel «» Blank by Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Medicinal by Girija Tropp «» Interviews: David Barringer «» Matt Briggs «» Aaron Burch «» Kate Hill Cantrill «» Chanel Earl «» Utahna Faith «» Stefanie Freele «» Vanessa Gebbie «» Katherine Grosjean «» Savannah Schroll Guz «» Jenny Halper «» Stephanie Harrison «» Tiff Holland «» Liesl Jobson «» Darlin' Neal «» Elizabeth Oliver «» Patricia Parkinson «» Nik Perring «» Sue Powers «» Sophie Rosenblum «» Glenn Shaheen «» Gail Siegel «» Claudia Smith «» Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Girija Tropp «» Cover Art "Male Figure" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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