3The ladybug paused, shocked and terrified as it was confronted by a pair of stumpy babies fingers, which picked it up. The baby, Jamey, ogled goofily atthe bug with his big blue eyes, and made little shlukky noises as he tried todecide what to do with it. On a whim, he stuck it in his mouth, but spat it outas it began to scratch his tongue. Tongue scratched, hungry, and lying in agarden, Jamey began crying.Long seconds passed before the screen door of the house burst open, Janerunning down the stairs, head jerking all around, checking to see if anyonewas watching. She hastened across the lawn, stuffing a handful of cash intoher pocket before picking up Jamey, and holding him close.His mother, Jane, was skinny but strong, and she held her child tight inconfident arms, as she ran from the house. On the way home she gave mostthe money to a man who swapped her a small plastic bag. She continued onher way, without thanking him, then stopped again at a food store, stuffingthe bag down the back of her skirt.The white allies and zombified shoppers were alienation. They flowed pasther like a river, flicking their eyes up now and then to judge her, to shameher. To the side of the wall she saw a can of baby food, home brand, andsnatched it up eagerly, pushing past the miserable hordes of shoppers to thecounter.“Have a good one,” said the girl serving her, in a thick ocher accent.“This is about as good as they come,” said Jane, offering up a small smile.Jane arrived back at the apartment. She opened the door, Jamey resting onher hip, can of baby food jammed unceremoniously in her mouth. She felt itbefore she saw it, as she walked in. Something was wrong.