Short stories translated from 41r6ZQN8AOL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_

Femmes contre nature by Lea Godard – published by EMUE 2013



‘It’s in the fridge, Albert, the milk’s in the fridge because it’s a dairy product.’

‘Yes, Mummy dear, I know, milk is a dairy product.’

‘And stop calling me mummy!’

Then the screaming starts again. She’s three months old and her name is Madeleine. The neighbours have nicknamed her the Opera Singer. Nobody can hear themselves think anymore in this house. Me, I’m Tom, I’m her big brother. I stick my fingers in my ears and shout even louder so I can’t hear her. Mum is trying to tidy up. She picks up socks, bottle tops, soft toys, cars, underpants…

‘Bloody hell, Albert, these are your pants!’

‘Bloody hell?’

‘Oh for fuck’s sake, “oh bother”, “sugar plum fairies”, shit, I give up!’

‘You’ll never get it’.

‘And when will you get the fact that pants either belong in the dirty clothes or the chest of drawers, but not on the floor in the middle of the living room!!’

Dad rolls his eyes. I get the feeling he’s about to come out with his usual contribution,

‘When I was little, I left everything lying around, I didn’t have a chest of drawers, everything was in cardboard boxes and I managed OK,’ but in the end he says nothing. It’s not the right moment. Madeleine is screaming even louder. He goes over to her and sings ‘It’s been a hard day’s night’. That doesn’t work. Mum throws everything she finds into a big metal trunk she found at the Salvation Army and goes off into the kitchen saying ‘…pisses me off, pisses me off’. She picks up a dirty feeding bottle from under the table and starts furiously washing it out; she has the tap on full and the water splashes all over her. ‘Shit! Fuck!’ and she rams the bottle brush up and down, then puts it on the side of the sink, it falls on the floor, she picks it up, more swearing, opens the fridge door as if she was trying to pull it off its hinges, gets a bottle of Evian, bangs it down on the table, fills the bottle too quickly so it overflows, slams the door of the micro-wave shut, turns the knob at random, gets the bottle out before the beep and shovels in three spoonfuls of milk powder. She shakes it so hard that milk sprays all over the kitchen, the cupboards, the worktop, even on the tiles ‘Shit, shit, shit, bugger!’ She quickly dries all the splatters with a tea towel. The she gives the bottle to Dad and says ‘There, she’s weaned now, it’s your turn.’

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