Other mothers

I'm amazed they don't murder me.

Grant's mother was in town again and, as ever, I was amazed that she didn't murder me the minute she saw me. Not that I deserve to be killed just for telling the truth about her horny-assed son in newspapers, books and magazines published all over the world — because Lord Jesus God, if you are a writer and you have a person like Grant in your life, you ought to drop everything just to watch him instruct illegal immigrants on the art of baton twirling — but because I, uh, write about her sometimes as well.

How can I not? Take the time she caught her eighth husband (or third, or something like that — OK, maybe he wasn't even her husband) in her closet masturbating into her boots (I'm pretty sure). I just love that. "Leather Smeller" is the nickname her son gave the man. And the reason Grant is so good at twirling batons is because his mother herself was a majorette when she was a girl, and not just any majorette, but like the regional master majorette champion in the tri-county area of the Southeast region. She still has the legs, too, and she will show you. "Arch your back," she used to tell Grant, "and don't forget the backward toe kick when you catch the baton." She was still giving him pointers as recently as last month. She is hardly bigger than a baton herself these days, and next to her, Grant looks like a big performing bear, but she can still twirl like a damn whirly gig, and that is saying something.

Plus she doesn't kill me when she sees me, so I am crazy about her, just like I am crazy about Daniel's mom, not in the least because she doesn't seem to mind me at all, even though I told the world her son spent years pretending to be a retard to sell fake folk art. I also said that she sincerely believes her Precious Moment figurines really will increase in value over time, and this faith might be the reason her son grew up to be addicted to the Home Shopping Network. Lauren Hutton ought to pay Daniel's mom a commission on the sales of her "Non-Streak Tanning Towelettes" if you ask me, because last year Daniel bought enough to keep his skin the color of suitcase leather throughout five lifetimes. And don't get me started on the truckload of ergonomic coat hangers he bought last month or even the barrage of JPGs he e-mailed me afterward detailing the before-and-after transformation once he implemented them into his closet.

"My clothes will be less wrinkled now!" Daniel exclaimed. Never mind that he won't spend a cent on a professional haircut, opting instead to trim his hair his own damn self, using toenail clippers, but at least his ratty-headed self is gonna be wearing second-hand overalls that have had the wrinkles ergonomically hung out of them, at least there's that, and ultimately I probably have Daniel's mom to thank for that.

She would never dream of killing me because I suspect Daniel would never dream of letting her read anything I've written about him, and seeing as how she's a Wal-Mart greeter in a tiny Texas border town, it's not all that hard to shield her from my books. But Grant, on the other hand, makes sure to send his mother highlighted copies, with the corners dog-eared on pages where the passages are of particular pride to him, even the part about how he likes to have group sex with the Mexicans he picks up on Buford Highway. "But don't believe the part about how I like to get my colonics at the do-it-yourself car wash," he'll demure.

Lary won't admit he has a mother, insisting he was not birthed from human loins at all but rather that he crawled fully formed from a tar pit somewhere. But his sister found me online and forwarded some actual baby pictures of Lary, and in them he is not feasting on his weaker siblings, so he is human after all. I hear his mother is really religious, and would probably try to save my soul if I met her, which might be why Lary shields me from her. Lary is always worried my soul will be saved rather than sold.

My own mother died too young, and I don't know if she would have been friends with those of Daniel, Lary and Grant. In fact I can't think of three mothers more unlike mine — and three more unlike each other — than these, yet here they'd raised three people I can't live without. I need them like an engine needs certain essential components. Sure I could operate fine without them for a while probably, but it would be just a matter of time before I'd start to collapse like a wheel without spokes. That is why, with my own mother gone, I tend to love these other mothers instead.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (hollisgillespie.com).

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