“Is she supposed to smell like that, Daddy?” Rebecca put her face close to the Plexiglass. Paul lurched reflexively but only caught a handful of pink hair extensions. Just enough to prevent the 13-year-old from making cheek-to-plastic contact. Rebecca recoiled harshly, like a dog reaching the end of its choke-chain, "Ow, Dad! That really hurt!"
Paul shrugged, “Honey, if you can smell Grandma, she can smell you.”
On cue, Grandma rushed the little girl, slamming into the clear wall of the box. A tooth broke off from the force and clung to the surface like a morsel of sticky rice crispy treat. Rebecca watched the tooth slide down the Plexi leaving a trail of tobacco colored juice. A thick liquid stream of the brown fluid made its way from Grandma’s over-painted red lips to cast a gooey web across her paisley, Easter-bunny nightgown. Rebecca watched the whole oozing tableau.
“Eeeew! Dad! That is so wrong!” she hollered.
Paul mustered all the disappointment he could fit on his face, “Rebecca! So wrong? So wrong! That’s so my mother - your Grandma! Have some godammned respect!”
Rebecca was having none of Paul’s indigantion. “Respect? Did you not see her try to eat my face like a dog eats its dead master?”
Paul took Rebecca by the shoulders, “Honey, she’s not all there, is she?" And then dealt the guilt card, "I hope there’s somebody who’ll be around to understand your quirks and odd-ball behavior when you’re...her age."
“Dad, when I’m grandma’s age I intend to be ashes. If you stuff me and force me to hang in this house (that I hate), I swear I’ll get free and eat your face!” Hands on her tiny hips.
“We don’t eat family, Rebecca. Your grandmother has…"
“She’s a zombie, Dad! Noticed?”
“Do not call her that, young lady! She’s your grandma! Thankfully preserved by "Extended Family" so that we can continue to be together. Where is all of this hostility coming from? Do I need to ground you?”
Rebecca snorted, "What-ever! I’m going to my room. The smell of rotting flesh is less obvious there."
“You do that.” Paul lost the rest of his patience. "And don't come back down without an apology for me and your grandma, you brat!"
“Oh, good one Dad. And, by the way, if I ever try to eat your face, you have my permission to smash my brains out.”
Paul waited a few beats until the expected door slam, “Oh, if only.”