“Nice hickeys”, Danny says out loud.

Laurie drops her buttered carrots to her plate and kicks Danny under the table. Tracy says, “What’s a hick, Danny?”

Danny laughs, “Not hick. Hickey!”

Laurie starts to get up to leave the dinner table and Shirley says, “Danny! Pipe down. And Laurie, you’re not leaving this table until you finish your carrot casserole.”

“But what’s a hick hickey, Mommy?” Tracy asks again.

Christopher puts his milk down and says, “I like cowboy movies.”

Shirley smiles, smoothes out the place setting and says, “A hickey is when a boy or a girl sucks on your neck because they are sexually excited and at the same time frustrated. Also, because humans are animals and we live in the animal kingdom, it’s a way of marking your mate or property.

Shirley looks concerned that her eldest son Keith is not at the table. “I wish your brother was here right now because he knows all about hickeys but he’s on a date with Suzanne.”

She turns to her eldest daughter, “Laurie honey, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Once upon a time even your mom had a hickey. And let me tell you, church socials that summer were very uncomfortable.”

Laurie smiles and starts to pick up her fork again to continue eating when Danny bursts out, “Was it Snake who gave you the hickeys or were you passed around a biker club for initiation?”

Danny has a sly, wicked look as he says this. Shirley looks puzzled and says, “But Snake’s on a run this summer. He hasn’t been in town for at least a month. Do you have a new steady, Laurie?”

Laurie looks uncomfortable and starts to fidget. Her face turns flushed with embarrassment and then Shirley realizes why Keith’s not at the dinner table. Shirley thought it was odd that Keith had an urgent date to go on when they planned this family dinner a week ago. After all she made a special Spoon Candy dessert for everyone.

Danny sticks his tongue out with crazed-eyed excitement. Laurie starts to get up again but Shirley says very calmly, “Laurie, please sit down. I have known this was going to happen for a long time. You’re sexually active and so is Keith and apparently you’re both sexually active together. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, I always hoped that one day, you and your brother would enjoy carnal knowledge.”

Shirley puts her strawberry Libby’s drink concoction on the table and continues, “Soon Laurie, you and Keith will become one. That is the goal of all ape insects; to resemble you, Laurie and your goofball of a brother. But to resemble both of you as one. You will no longer be Laurie or Keith. You will be Albuquerque. The Land of Enchantment. Everyone is on that bus but not everyone is going to arrive at that destination.”

Laurie bites her lip and says, “So what you’re saying Mom is me and Keith didn’t do anything wrong?”

Shirley shakes her blonde golden head and says, “No, Laurie you did do something wrong.”

Danny laughs and balls up his fists, his face exploding like a freckle furnace. Laurie puts her head down and mumbles, “Sorry, Mom.”

Right then the door opens and Keith walks in. Shirley says, “Keith, I’m going to have to ground you and Laurie.”

Keith throws his hands up and says, “Oh, man! What did I do this time?”

Shirley laughs and says, “It’s what you didn’t do. Alright, you two. You’re both grounded to my bedroom and you can’t leave until you both no longer exist. Next time I see you two, you better be Un!”

Christopher and Tracy laugh as Laurie starts to blush and Keith’s beige slacks start to strain with godlike excitement.

UN FACT: Ardhanarishvara is a nickname when Keith and Laurie have become Un and the same. 

Un is the Law by Whale Song Partridge
New Age teaching by The Partridge in the Pear Tree

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