I only made it through three cans. I must have fallen asleep in the grass, but I woke up in the rocker by the back door. Sergeant Defenbargh had taken off his shirt and was still spraying. The neighbors’ house was dark and all around us was that night-time quiet. The moon was high and I could see that Sergeant Defenbargh’s hands were blue. They looked black. His arms, too, up to the elbows. And my hands and feet. I stretched out my feet and wiggled them at the moon. Little dancing piglets, Mom would say. 


I woke in my bed, with sunlight outside. Sergeant Defenbargh was still sleeping, but Mom was in her nightgown in the kitchen, drinking coffee and listening to the news on the radio. She made me a bowl of cereal and even sliced up a banana into it, but she didn’t talk. I held up my blue hands with a grin. She only shook her head.


I hid my head low, almost in the bowl. “Yesterday I saw this new one,” I told her. “It was for graham crackers, and a boy was riding a chocolate train into marsh —”


“Not now,” she said.





Sergeant Defenbargh came out at noon, while Mom and I were having sandwiches and orange slices. He poured a cup of coffee and drank it standing up. Then he patted my shoulder, kind of rough.  “Today we’re going to earn our supper,” he said.


I found my shoes and socks in the backyard and sat back down at the table. I kicked up my foot and showed off my blue toes, but neither Mom or Sergeant Defenbargh laughed.