excerpted from The Genesis of My Double
My mother and her friends wore painting smocks which had pockets filled with paintbrushes and charcoal. They also chain smoked cigarettes and drank vodka tonics with lime. The sketching was done in between trips to the kitchen to refill their drinks and to grab appetizers of shrimp wrapped in bacon. Jewish people were not supposed to eat shellfish, but my mother bent the rules for special occasions. She told us that shrimp was fine and that a little bacon fat was good for the soul and skin. Joann the cleaning woman smiled at the ladies as she refilled their drinks and gave out extra shrimp. Her red lipstick gave off the most magnificent shimmer as it hit the reflection made by the oven door. I watched from the corner, where I sat reading a book and blowing bubbles with my pink bazooka gum.