“It’s so cold I go to bed with a nipple on. I wake up with one, too.”
“Just the one?” I ask. But, yeah, it has been pretty cold this week.
Little Annie has been in search of a higher purpose, for some kind of meaning, for awhile now. “Something has to change.” She counts off a handful of doctrines, and the words, I must say, sound quite impressive coming from her usually foul and skittish mouth. But none of them, she tells me, have taken. None, that is, until the two young Americans in white shirts appeared at her door several weeks back. Now this, this was a calling she could answer to. She picked up the pristine book that lay between us on the table and held it in both hands as if it were some strange and awkward bird that had flown in through the kitchen window and alighted there.
“The Church of The Later Day Saints,” she says.
“Latter Day,” I say. “You sure about this?”
“Oh, sure, I’m sure. I’ve even booked my baptism. Just gotta think of a new name.” She gives some near-future date. “He called. I answered. My husband says he’ll divorce me if I join. Good, I say.”
“Uh-huh. I says to them, I don’t have to get in a bath with you two, do I? ‘Oh, no, Annie,’ they says. ‘It’s not like that. You’ll be in a gown.’”
“Well, it sounds like the real deal,” I say.
Little Annie has just got back from town. Her boots are rimmed with salt. She shows me her shopping. “Anything you fancy?” It’s mostly pre-wrap steaks, some toddler clothes and mid-range wines, but from the bottom of her tinfoil-lined bag I dig out a couple of palm-sized lambchops.
“How does this,” I say, indicating her haul, “sit with the Mormons?”
She looks crestfallen. “I did ask,” she says. “’Annie, they say, that ain’t cool.’” She glances skyward making a brief equine noise and then, of the missionaries, whom I had apparently just missed, says, “Eee, I just love the way they talk.” She produces what she imagines a fair representation of an American accent, but she’s a little askew in the saddle and the words come as if herded from several improbable rodeos. Little Annie places the strange and awkward bird back onto the table.
“I should try and read this. But it’s right fucking long, like.”
“How much did you say for the chops?”