Most girls her age carried dolls, but MaryJane carried Sprinkles, a fairy porpoise.
"Sprinkles is going to be a famous paleo-proctologist when she grows up." MaryJane wasn't sure that was exactly how you said it, but it cracked Mom up everytime she said it that way and she loved to hear Mom laugh.
"Stuffed animals can't grow up, stupid," Lily said, "It's just pretend. Don't you know how to play tea party?"
MaryJane could ignore a lot of insults, but stupid was the one she couldn't forgive. She snarled.
"I'm not stupid, you're ass-in-nine." She had heard Mom say that to her ex-boyfriend once. She grinned.
Lily's eyes went wide and she squealed, "Daddy! She called me a bad word!"
MaryJane didn't cower as the six-foot-six cowboy-man towered over their tea party. She wasn't afraid one bit. She looked up at him and showed her teeth. She offered him a plastic tea cup. Hers was filled with slime. He'd like that.
He frowned. "Watch your language, little miss."
"Were you cussin MaryJane?" That was her mom right behind him and she did cower then.
"No! I didn't cuss!" It was true. It was a big word, but not a bad one.
"She called me an ass!" Lily said with a sniffle. She was faking for sure.
"That's not what I said, I said--"
"MaryJane!" Of course Mom wouldn't believe me, she thought.
"I'm sorry!" She wasn't sorry but that was what you were supposed to say so people would leave you alone.
"Don't tell that to me, tell Miss Lily."
She didn't want to tell her. She bit the inside of her lip until it hurt really bad and she could taste the blood.
"Right now, young lady."
She held out her fairy dolphin to Lily, "Sprinkles says, I'm sorry that MaryJane has to play with someone like you. You're not very nice and you have the imagination of a slug."
She ran off before anyone could catch her, with Sprinkles clutched to her chest. She knew she was squishing her, but she couldn't help it. She knew she had gone overboard this time. The backyard gate was open and she ran out of it, not looking back.
MaryJane wondered again if Mom wouldn't be better off without her. Then she would be able to find that new man she was looking for. MaryJane didn't like any of them, especially not this dumb cowboy and his daughter. Then Mom could marry someone and have new babies. MaryJane could live at the circus with all the other freaks. Everyone always told her to go there, anyway. And who knows? Maybe the circus people would listen. Maybe they would laugh. Maybe they would like Sprinkles.
MaryJane kept running. Sprinkles could be her manager. She did always want to be a human cannonball.