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I missed your call but then you called me again to tell me about Kristen Bell’s shoddy highlights and also that my voicemail was full in that same way you used to to tell me the tank was empty or my headlight was out or the curfew was ten, so I’m calling to tell you I think my voicemail is shrinking, that I delete three messages like a cavity opening only for the dentist to call and fill it back up again, but really I just have thirty saved voicemails and they’re all from you, and it’s because a friend has this tattoo on her collarbone, a bunch of vertical parallel lines like a barcode only it says something in her mother’s voice like, “I love you,” or, “Stay safe,” or “The primroses were over.”—point is it was her mother before she died and before the UPS truck destroyed the useless bollards and shattered both the orthodontist’s window and her mother’s skull as she sat back in the chair, mouth open, head like a pinecone under his tire waiting to crunch, and I only say it like that because that’s how my friend says it, and it’s her mother, and I worry the same might happen to you, only what are the chances of the UPS man striking twice? only the chances are too good to ignore, freak accidents be damned, and I could never tell you this because the only thing worse than plotting someone’s death is passively expecting it, bracing for it, like being party to it, after all when we watch Veronica Mars the only characters we hate more than the cops are her “stupid fucking messenger bag” and all the accessories to murder, because unlike the accessories, at least the murderer had the guts, even if they weren’t theirs, even if they’d stolen them, so I can’t tell you I hoard voicemails because if your meeting with the UPS man ever does come to pass I think I’d rather drive the truck myself, and I can’t tell you this because we never talk like that, like we’re saying anything or saying it well, like when you ask me if I have a girlfriend yet and I say we’re eloping tomorrow, actually, and you say “Oh, is that right? Will there be a reception?” and I say I don’t think there are receptions for couples who elope, but we’ll have one for your sake, and you say you’ll buy us salad tongs because you never know you need them until you have a salad to toss, and I wonder here if you’re aware of the double entendre (but of course you are; you’re my mother), and the joke I’m making here at both our expenses, but instead I just promise I’ll delete some voicemails because if you were to ever meet the man who holds my hand you’d never want to leave another, so I wonder which I should delete, which tattoo I’ll never get, if it’s “I love you,” or “See you at Christmas,” or “That Kristen Bell woman irritates me but I still like her as Veronica Mars, even with all her gaudy bracelets” or “Please come home I know it was you who drank the wine in the basement fridge and I don’t care about the wine I only care about your liver you’re only sixteen for Christ’s sake,” or “Your brother’s in a bad way,” and I know it can’t be this last one, not because of anything about my brother but because that was uncharacteristic of you, to confide in anyone about anything, least of all me, and so as long as I have that one I have proof of something, like your smoking gun as you flee the scene out the back, down the porch, up the alley and into my voicemail and I can’t tell yet whose brains you’ve redone the kitchen walls with but I know you’ve made me an accessory, and we both hate an accessory.