“Maddy, shut up!” Jacqueline snapped. “You decide what you want to do, and we’ll do it. Whatever you want, I’ve got your back. Okay?”

Madeline’s eyes filled with tears. Her head met the table, and she threw her arms over her head. “It’s all been too much. I mean … look at me, I didn’t notice that my own child needed glasses!”

“Honey, that teacher is mean. I’ve met mean. I am mean. And let me tell you something, that woman is the Queen of Mean. Now listen to me. You’ve got to stop beating yourself up.” Jacqueline reached over, grabbed her bottle of Uncle Jack and set it on the table. “Come on, have a drink for once. We can solve life’s problems tomorrow.”

Madeline raised her head a bit and looked Jacqueline in the eye. “Jax, I don’t drink. God have mercy, I am a good woman and …”

“Oh, for Pete’s sakes, keep your panties on! It’s a drink. Being Miz Pious Goody-Goody ain’t got you nowhere. We’re not even in Tennessee. But fine, you don’t wanna drink? Give me a sec.”

Jacqueline got up and left the room. A few minutes later she was back with a small rectangular, red tin box, which she slammed down next to her sister.

Maddy eyed the box from Tennessee. Those cakes were always laced with at least a third of a bottle of the famous whiskey. “Jax, that’s still drinking.”

“Oh no, it ain’t. You eat the cake – and I promise you, not a single bite will slide down that pretty little throat without some chewing.”

“I’ll get drunk.”

“Oh Lord, honey, that would be funny, but I doubt it. Not you. Which may be a pity, but nonetheless–”

“My kids–”

“Your kids are fine, and they’ll still be there tomorrow. Come on, you can let go once in a while. The Day of Judgement ain’t here right yet.”

“I need to be responsible.”

Jacqueline removed the cake from the tin and cut a slice, sliding it over to Maddy.

“What’re you saying? I’ve been taking care of your children for a month. There is good food in the fridge, this month’s bills are paid, and the kids are doing well. I know you think me having a drink at night makes me trash, but I make my money. I do what I please. And honey, that man you got is a piece of dirt and you not drinking ain’t gonna change a damn thing about that.”

Madeline toyed with the empty glass and glared at her sister. Jacqueline glared right back. Madeline stuck out her tongue. Jacqueline stuck out hers. Madeline crossed her eyes. Jacqueline did the same. Then Jacqueline flipped her sister the bird.

Madeline laughed. She laughed and laughed until tears squeezed out of her eyes. As Madeline struggled to catch her breath, she looked over at her sister. “You really going to help me get out of this?”

“Absolutely, buy tickets to the US before you can blink.”

Madeline took a deep breath. “Well, I may not be drinking, but I’m blinking.”

“Good girl,” Jax said, and pulled out her tablet. “Let’s get ourselves a lawyer and then plane tickets and fix this mess.”


Tell us: What do you think Maddy needs to do? Trust her sister, or wait and see if her husband gets out of this most recent trouble?