Cousin Bettie was coming all the way from Deadwater, a fishing outpost in northern Minnesota. To make ends meet, her father had two jobs: during the week he was a fisherman and on the weekends a taxidermist. For Christmas, he’d sent them a buck’s head, which their mother had put in the attic. That morning, she dragged it down the stairs and hung it on the wall in Milly and Twiss’ room to make their cousin feel more at home.

First things first: you say “honey,” “sugar,” and “sweetie” a lot.  And I notice you’re not from the South. Do you want to explain that?

You’re right. I grew up in Northfield, Illinois and Spring Green, Wisconsin, which both fit squarely into what I think of as a nice mid-western belt of people who’ll lend you a hand if you need one. I think I called you darling when we first met. I may have even helped you shovel your front walkway. I hope you didn’t mind, though it sounds like you did. The truth is I like to make people happy and “sugar” seems to accomplish that more than “jerk-off” does.