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Drank my first beer when I was nine.

Marlene remembers.

Smoked my first cigarette when I was eight. Back then you could buy cigarettes. If you were a kid, I mean. They just figured you were gettin' 'em for your folks.

Marlene laughs. 

No, she says, not the beer. That was Ted. Uncle Ted, but we just called him Ted. He'd open a beer and say Marlene, you thirsty?

Marlene bites her lip.

It tasted awful. I would make a face, and Ted would say, Drink it, it's good for you. S'got vitamins.

She smiles. Bitter. Like when a pill goes down wrong.

My mom would send me to Ted's on weekends. She had this boyfriend, I could not stand him...and Sunday, she'd pick me up ...

Her lip quivers.

...she'd pick me up, from Ted's, and she'd say, Did you have a nice time?

Marlene remembers.

Anyway, she says, that's why I'm here.

She signs her name and sits back in her chair. 

Marlene looks at the floor. 

Will it hurt much?

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