A Very Good Reason for Why I Love My Mother and the Writings of Christopher Moore
An excerpt from his latest: Sacre Bleu
“You made your sister cry,” said Mere Lessard. “She is upstairs weeping like you slapped her.”
“I didn’t slap her.”
“A grown, married woman, weeping like a little girl. I hope you are proud of yourself.”
“I did nothing, Maman. I’ll speak to her.” Then he composed himself, shaking off the prickly lust from a moment ago and plunging forward into the fiery recrimination coming from his mother. “This is Juliette. She’s going to model for me, and I need to use the storage shed as a studio.”
“Enchante, Madame Lessard,” said Juliette, again with a suggestion of a curtsy.
Mere Lessard said nothing for a moment but raised an eyebrow and regarded Juliette until Lucien cleared his throat.
“Is this the Juliette who broke your heart and sent you on a drunken binge? The Juliette who nearly killed you and the rest of us for having to do your work for you? That Juliette?
Lucien really hadn’t thought out the idea of getting Juliette through the bakery in the middle of the day, so excited had he been by the promise of seeing sunlight on her naked body.
“The same,” said Juliette, stepping forward. “But I’ve changed.”
Lucien nodded furiously to affirm she had changed, although he wasn’t sure how.
“Lucien is my only and my ever now,” said Juliette. She pulled Lucien to her by his tie and kissed his cheek.
For some reason, Lucien thought of the Crucifixion, when Christ looks down upon the Roman soldiers and prays, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.”
Madame Lessard’s eyebrow of recrimination worked its full circuit of rising and falling, like a drawbridge to damnation, and when it settled she said, “You know his sister Regine will get the bakery when I’m gone? So there’s no fortune to be found here.”
“No, Madame,” said Juliette. “I wouldn’t-“
“Even so, he is determined to be a painter, so he is as shiftless and lazy as are all of that breed, so even without the bakery he will likely never be able to provide for you, and you two will die penniless and starving, clutching each other’s pox-ridden bodies in the street, smelling of cheap English gin and opium, and rats will eat what is left of your skinny thighs, you know this?”
Juliette fidgeted a bit herself now, the cool pool of promise that had shielded her form the heat having evaporated under Madame Lessard’s scrutiny.
She ventured to say, “Madame, I assure you-“
“And I’ll have you know that if you hurt my son again, if he so much as sighs sadly over his coffee, I will hire a man, a Russian, probably, to hunt you down and rip all that shiny black hair from your head, then break your skinny arms and legs, and set you on fire, and then put you out with a hammer. And should there be children from your beastly rutting, I shall have the Russian man cut them into tiny pieces and feed them to Madame Jacob’s dog. Because, although he may be only a worthless, simpleminded, libertine artist, Lucien is my favorite, and I will not have him hurt. Do you understand?
“Good day, then,” said Madame Lessard. “Go with God.” And she glided across the bakery and up the stairs to the apartment.
“I’m her favorite,” said Lucien with a big smile.