“Your suitor’s here!” Ma Flesh hurried into the back room of the butcher’s shop. “Are you presentable?”
Betty waited there amongst the swinging, marbled yellow cow carcasses. The wooden butcher’s table was smooth under her fingertips, and solid as the earth. Knives glinted from the walls, each reflecting a tiny, seated Betty and the thin figure of Ma Flesh standing over her.
“Sit up straight,” Ma snapped. “And don’t scratch. It could lead to tragedy. I mean it.”
“I won’t.” Betty didn’t dare ask why Ma was so against scratching. Her head itched but she didn’t lift her hand. Ma had cut off Betty’s hair to stop her from being so floaty. She hoped the suitor liked short hair. If he was blind, he’d like it, she thought. She could lay her head in his lap and he could tell her mood by the bumps on her skull. He could stroke behind her ears, let his fingers drift up to her crown, slide down her neck–
“It isn’t Saturday.” Ma rapped on Betty’s head with the back of her shining metal hook. “No going floaty today, girl.”