Nitrous Tiny Tiny

Jaime pulled out the photo of Phil she kept in her wallet. “Un petit souvenir,” he’d said to her soon after they’d first met, poolside in Vegas.

Levyna said Phil had “Totally manly chest hair!” and this caused Jaime to stare even harder at the half-a-photo. Phil puffed out his chest when standing next to his ex-wife, didn’t he? Until Levyna commented on it, Phil’s past hadn’t bothered Jaime. Well it did, the way those finger nubs lurked on his bicep like four tapeworms looking to burrow. But Jaime was good at presenting men with her “bionic side.” She was, after all, named after Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman.

“I like it,” Levyna said when Jaime explained the bionic phenomenon. Jaime had assumed those TV shows had been globally popular. “You make believe you are bionic,” Levyna said.

“If I throw an autoclave out the window, will you believe me?” Jaime said.

“We have strong names,” Levyna said. “We should use them.”

“What’s your name mean?”

“Strike of lightning.”

Whenever Jaime tried to be cool, she started with her vertebrae. In middle school, she’d just narrowly avoided the shackles of a back brace. She spent months coaxing her spine to stand up to its S-shaped deformity, waking before the rooster crowed and performing a series of stretches named after various endangered creatures of Africa. The Okapi Arch, The Bonobo Bend, the Sand Cat Slink. Who knows if it was the poses or the flap of one butterfly’s wing on another continent, but a miracle occurred: Jaime had a second rapid growth spurt, her fourteen-degree curve righted itself to just four degrees, meaning she would escape doing time in an external skeleton.


“My mom imagines marrying me off to some super hero,” Jaime told Levyna as they stood in front of the autoclave.

Levyna, a Ukrainian, stood with her arms crossed, paper towels in one hand, sanitizing spray in the other, “Japanese or American?” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“Ultraman or Superman?”

“American,” Jaime said. “Like the Million Dollar Man.”

“But he is not super hero,” Levyna said. “He is action hero.” She had learned so much, watching American reruns.

“Phil’s active,” Jaime said. “That’s why he’s taking me to Hawai’i.”

Though Phil and Jaime hadn’t spent more than a few days together in Vegas, and though they had done nothing more than kiss, they were taking a vacation together in a few days.

“Who you would screw?” Levyna said. “Aquaman or Spiderman?”

Jaime flinched at the word screw. Crass wasn’t her thing. Sex wasn’t her thing yet either.

“Personally,” Levyna continued, “screwing man in unitard is demented. But full facemask is rad. I will choose Spiderman.”

Jaime snapped the rubber gloves against her wrists and set more bloody probes, extractors and drills into a shallow metal tray. She watched the timer fizzle down its final seconds. The tools inside the autoclave were in a place as hot as the sun and all the germs were being scalded away into nothing.

The timer buzzed. The red light went off. Jaime hated the idea of opening that door, exposing the perfectly sterile mirrors and burs to a world full of breath and abscesses.

Levyna was wiping down one of the dental chairs. Jaime admired how she got on her knees in the seat and went to town on the headrest first, moving down the arms of the chair, backing out and away from it slowly, almost the way you’d care for a real live old person who couldn’t comb her own hair.

Jaime began organizing oral surgery tools onto another tray. “How would you kiss him?” she asked.

“Who,” Levyna said. “Dr. Coleman?”

“Spiderman. Through his mask.”

Jaime and Levyna worked the second shift in an office with four dentists and two oral surgeons. A hunk of someone’s gums lay bloody on the tray. Jaime picked it up with her gloved hand and threw it in the trash. She immediately changed to fresh gloves. When it came to the oral surgeons’ trays, there was no such thing as using up too many gloves for Jaime. She set the instruments in the autoclave and felt the tug of the door sealing up. She closed her eyes and imagined herself on the inside, with the chisels and the forceps.

“Well?” Jaime said.

Levyna stood back and admired her work, the very expensive chair, the latest in dental chair style, was a classy Gold Sparkler with gear shifts. “Smooth as your Porsche, I bet,” Levyna had said to Dr. Coleman, when he had revealed his new beauty.

Not a patient’s hair or toothpaste dribble in sight, Levyna stood next to the sparkling-clean Sparkler and said, “My work is done here.” She pulled the large overhead magnifying glass with its mechanical hinged arm over in front of her face, and turned on the blinding circle of light. She stared at Jaime, who was looking neglected and serious, until she turned and spotted Levyna’s humongous eyeballs in the glass, her wide grin with teeth as big as shower tiles.

“Don’t kiss when you screw,” Levyna said.Stay below neck. Above is too much like work here.”

Jaime saw the foreign girl’s tonsils when she said all this and wanted to tell her she should get them cut out, it was the American way. She’d seen her share of pink nubs on trays. She kept one at home in a jar in her closet.

She turned from her large-featured friend and began a final sweep of the floor.

“You’re clean down there, right?” Levyna said.

At first Jaime thought Levyna had made a grammatical error.

“Yes,” Jaime said. “I am cleaning.”

“Spic and span?”

Spic and span was a term Jaime had only ever heard her grandmother use. Where did Levyna get her English?

“You know, down here,” Levyna said, thrusting her pelvis back and forth.

Jaime heaved a trash bag out of a silver can and cinched it shut. “I’m a virgin,” she said. “So what?” She knotted the red ties once, twice, three times. “Mine’s cleaner than yours, that’s for sure!”

Levyna snapped her gum, sugar-free of course. “I’m not talking about inside clean,” she said. “I’m talking about outside clean. For bikini.”

She hooked her thumbs in the waistband of her dental assistant scrubs and yanked them down a few inches. She let her index fingertips touch, forming a V over her crotch. Then, like a cowboy, she sidled over to Jaime and said, “Look.”

Jaime looked. Jaime always looked at Levyna’s body.

“Anywhere outside this triangle must to be clean,” she shifted the V into two parallel lines. “Or, this style!” Then Levyna raised her arms, making motions like a bird or a plane or Superman. “Aloha-hee! Phil is coming in for to land. You don’t want spiders.”

“Spiders?” Jaime said.

“Pubis hairs, Jaime!” Levyna said. “Hanging out bikini. God, you are so navy!”

Jaime had never discussed pubic hair with anyone. In fifth grade, when she looked down at what her mom had called her cookie, she saw hairs—five of them had sprung up. At first, she thought in sixth grade she would have six, in seventh, seven, and so on.

“Naïve,” Jaime said. “Say it right.”

As she made her way to each trash can, she thought of what Levyna was so free in talking about, and it made her want to take herself out with the trash. All the images Jaime had ever seen of women’s pubic hair flashed through her mind: there weren’t many, just those photos in the magazines she had found in the hole of the tree near the creek, where she’d expected to find an owl.

Most of Jaime’s childhood memories were sweet. She did not give the power company power over her past. She fought hard to maintain the belief everything had been normal enough.

When she was seven, Jaime had started noticing the strange things happening to the animals in her town, like the baby birds with no beaks. She heard their cries and watched for two days and saw no mama. When she peered into the nest and saw their open mouths, something wasn’t right: they just had holes, like the big dots she and her friend Laurie used over the i in their names. She put the freakish babies in a cage. For two more days, she caught worms and crushed them into a paste that she mixed with water and fed to the birds with an eyedropper. When the birds died, all together overnight, she buried them in the back yard next to the green fish she’d found on the creek bank. And then 1968 came. He was a one-eyed turtle someone had carved a year into. He was not one-eyed as in missing the left or right—this turtle had one eye, dead center. Jaime put him in her cage too, but he was ornery and kept escaping.

To keep him safe and well-fed with tomatoes, Jaime decided she’d transform one of her mother’s shoeboxes for him. It was then that she came across the shoebox that didn’t hold shoes, but secret things, like the naked photograph.

In that picture, Jaime’s mom was doing something like napping standing up, with her eyes not open but not closed either, leaning against a wall. Her naked shoulder pressed into the bricks, her one arm was practically invisible. The photo had been taken after Jaime was born. There was the telltale scar from the C-section running just above Jaime’s mom’s vast fluff. The scar ran like a frown; her bellybutton was a nose; her nipples were eyes, enormous eyes—Jaime’s mother’s areolas were as big as tea saucers!

It scared her but Jaime snuck to the picture for several years, comparing what was happening to her own breasts and hips and nipples to the shapes of her naked mother.


“Should I take these on my trip?” Jaime said.

Levyna was stacking small metal dental trays.

“Scissors?” she said. “Are you crazy nuts? I’ll bring wax tomorrow. No sun 48 hours after wax. We time it right.”

“What if I’m allergic?” Jaime said. “I’ll just shave.”

“No scissors. No blade. We heat wax in autoclave,” Levyna said. “Then you get in Gold Sparkler and I will design heart down there. Or fluffy beakless baby bird. Ha Ha Ha!”

Sometimes Levyna could use an education on what Americans liked to joke about. Jaime was glad she hadn’t shared too many stories.

“Tomorrow night,” Levyna said, “I’ll do you.”


After work, Jaime sat in front of late night TV with her mom, which she never did and which made her mom fidgety.

“To what do I owe this honor?” Jaime’s mom asked.

Jaime sat in her pajamas, but underneath she was wearing her bathing suit. Changing for bed, she’d stood in front of her mirror and studied the pubic hairs that hung out like little Halloween mustaches from either side of her turquoise bikini bottoms. She plucked a hair out. It hurt. How could she let Levyna rip out dozens all at once? She would have to have extra nitrous.

“Mom,” she said during a commercial of a teddy bear sniffing laundry, “did you ever wax your cookie?”

Jaime’s mom hit mute. “How old are you?”


Jaime’s mom took a swig of Tab, then a vodka chaser. The mute silenced the room except for the chemical fizz in the Tab can.

“Why would I mess with that?” her mother said.

The image of the picture in the shoebox had haunted Jaime all day and she wondered after all these years of not looking, if her mom had moved it from the old house to the new one.

Jaime hit the sound back on. She had never liked the plaid furniture set her mother had purchased with the hexavalent chromium money. She never liked the way her mother sunk so deeply into the couch.

“Do you still call your hooter a cookie?” her mother said, giggling.

The fact her mother couldn’t talk to her about her body, or explain why sometimes when she saw certain pictures, a fizzy feeling like the sound of the Tab in the can ran through the center of her hips, made Jaime mad. What kind of nineteen-year old American girl had to learn everything from some foul-mouthed Russian? Yugoslavian. Whatever Levyna was.

“For your information, it’s a punani!” Jaime said.

Her mother sat smoothing the coverlet over her legs.

“And I bet you’re still walking around with that overgrown 1970s forest between your thighs!” Jaime said.

Her mother started howling with laughter.

“My forest?” she was saying. “Overgrown?”


Levyna showed Jaime the wax kit on their break. They worked the 3:00-11:00 shift, which meant they stayed after office hours to sterilize tools, take out the trash, and sneak nitrous.

They were eating rice cakes with lo-cal cream cheese and drinking Nestea, sugar-free of course, when Dr. Coleman came into the kitchen.

Levyna once told Jaime that she made it a point to wear her tightest scrubs on the days he was scheduled.

Jaime had asked, “Don’t you just want to be comfortable on the job?”

“Being comfortable is not potato sack,” Levyna had answered.

“You girls have big plans for the weekend?” Dr. Coleman asked, pouring real sugar into his coffee, making the girls cringe.

“I’m leaving for Hawai’i on Monday,” Jaime said.

“Fantastic,” Dr. Coleman said. “I go every year. Which island?”

“Waikiki,” Jaime said. “It’s my first time.”

Levyna leaned back in her chair so that her tight scrubs pulled at her crotch. “It will be Jaime’s first time, Dr. Coleman,” she said. “Isn’t that exciting?”


The conversation about Dr. Coleman was always the same.

“Back home, I played hide and seek in haystacks color like his hair,” Levyna would say. “His eyes are color like grandparents’ roof.”

Whenever Levyna started on about Dr. Coleman, Jaime felt like beyond Levyna’s voice, she could hear walls about to crumble.

“When Dr. Coleman and I work together,” Levyna would say, “I breathe him. He smells like soap my grandmother bath me with in Pripyat.”

Some weeks Jaime thought Levyna sounded like a beakless baby bird.

That morning, she had started before they even got to work, in Levyna’s kitchen, where she was eating a banana. “I can’t get food like from Grandmother’s garden,” she said.

It was just a small statement about a banana, but feeling particularly annoyed that morning, Jaime blurted out, “If you love it so much, why don’t you go back?”

“My grandmother lives alone in house my grandfather built,” Levyna said. “My whole family was living there. Me, cousins, aunts, uncles.”

“If it was so big and fun, go home. They must need American-trained dental assistants in your country.” Jaime spoke with anger, but also with hope of an invite.

“They need more than dental assistants in Pripyat,” Levyna said.

“Be an English teacher then. Your English is okay. You’ve been here forever.”

“Not forever. We come here in 1987. Jaime.”

There was the wall Jaime always sensed was about to crumble.

“What is it?” she said. She put her hand on Levyna’s shoulder. It was a Dr. Coleman day, so Levyna’s scrubs were tight and when she brought a big sob into her chest, she risked bursting out of her uniform.

“I’m just saying you would be a good teacher,” Jaime said. “You can do whatever you want, not just in America.”

Levyna made sounds like she was going to throw up.

“I’m not saying you aren’t a great dental assistant.”

Levyna’s head was bobbing.

“I’m just jealous,” Jaime said. “The place I grew up sucked. It was deadly.”

Levyna lifted her head. She stared straight at Jaime and breathed in a way that made her seem ten times bigger than she was. Levyna was a solid girl, she was statuesque, she had big bones. And Jaime was noticing, the biggest tears. Jaime grabbed a dishtowel. They were going to be late for work, but she dabbed her friend’s face.

“Where you grew up was deadly?” Levyna said.

Ghostly tear trails led from the rims of her eyes, down her pink cheeks, to various points along her jawline. Two strands of hair hung out of her ponytail, framing what Jaime could see, was the start of a smile.

“You stupid American girl. You think your California is so deadly?”

Jaime had insulted Levyna’s great country. A place she couldn’t even find on a map, because to be honest, she had never been sure where exactly Levyna was from. Just Russia. It was so big over there.

Jaime covered her mouth with the dishcloth she had tried to comfort her friend with. Maybe this wasn’t about countries or languages or jobs. Maybe she had insulted Levyna’s grandmother and Levyna thought Jaime had no respect for family because of the way she was always saying, “My mom is clueless,” and never inviting Levyna to her house, knowing her mother would either be a freakish lump on the couch, or she’d give Levyna an education on PG & E’s disregard for “poor white trash.” And Jaime wasn’t trash anymore.

“California is a paradise, my friend,” Levyna said.

Jaime closed her eyes. My friend where Levyna came from might mean what it meant in The Godfather—what the mafiosos called you as they rolled your limp broken body into a hole in the ground.

My friend, Levyna, you are thinking of Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge, the place the Joshua Tree stands. You don’t know. I don’t tell anyone.

I don’t want people to think I am contagious.

“In Pripyat,” Levyna said, “I will not teach children. All children are gone, though grandmothers wait for them there. Grandmothers will not leave. They grow vegetables in poison garden. They will not leave. My parents took me back one time, one day for visit, one hour, months after disaster, and my grandmother fills my hat with apples from her trees. I know we will go to America and she not. She will not leave. Jaime, California Girl, do you know what is Chernobyl?”

Jaime nodded her head. She had stomped on a neighbor boy’s video game S.W.A.T.T.E.R. Chernobyl. And the boy had yelled at her, “Don’t, Jaime! I have to find the mutants!” and she yelled back, “We are the mutants!”

Since she had moved, Jaime hadn’t spoken to any of the people she’d left behind. What kind of miracle had brought her to the same place on Earth as Levyna? What poisons?

“You never told me. You’re from Chernobyl.”

“Nobody is from Chernobyl,” Levyna said. “Pripyat is my home. You, don’t tell.”

Levyna grabbed Jaime’s hand with both of her hands. She squeezed. “Please, don’t tell. Everyone believe I am from Moscow.”

Jaime put her other hand on top of Levyna’s so that they made a pile. She wanted their hands to be capable of keeping everything as sterile as possible, or to have the same heavy metals in them.

Levyna bowed her forehead down on their hands. Small noises bounced off the kitchen table.

“I just wish,” Levyna said, her words mixing with gulps of air, “my mother waited until we were far in car, so Grandmother not see her throw away apples.”



The rest of that day at work, as if to erase her morning sadness, Levyna joked, making coded references to the after-hours spa she knew, the importance of spic and span, and her disregard for spiders.

At one point, Jaime and Levyna were preparing a patient for X-rays while Dr. Coleman sat reviewing notes. Levyna put the patient’s lead bib on and snapped her gloves. Jaime handed her small films and hit the button.

“Are you afraid of spiders, Dr. Coleman?” Levyna said. “Bite down please, Mr. Jones.”

Jaime focused on Mr. Jones’s Adam’s apple.

“Spiders?” Dr. Coleman said. He looked up from his clipboard. “Do you see one?”

Levyna shot Jaime a look and they both looked at Mr. Jones’s eyes, which were now scanning the ceiling as if he were looking for spiders.

“Bite down,” Levyna said.

“No, just question,” she said. “Personally, I can’t stand sight of spiders.”

Dr. Coleman was looking at Jaime, who seemed to be having a coughing fit near Mr. Jones’s open mouth.

“I don’t come across very many spiders, I suppose,” Dr. Coleman said.

“What about you, Mr. Jones?” Levyna said. “What is your opinion of spiders?”

Levyna was setting another X-ray film in her clamps.

“Funny you should ask,” he said. “This morning I went to pour my coffee, and looked into my mug and saw an enormous spider there. I dropped him into the garbage disposal and grinded him to bits.”

“Nobody wants to swallow spiders,” Levyna said. “Go ahead open for me. Close.”

The girls were cleaning that Friday night with extra speed.

“Mouth is dirtiest thing,” Levyna said.

When Jaime had first kissed Phil’s mouth, it tasted like Chap Stick. Their first kiss had been a peck, poolside in Vegas, where Phil was telling Jaime that he carried a knife anywhere there was water.

“You never know,” he said, tucking the blade of the Swiss Army knife he had just used to cut a tube of sun block in half. “See how it comes in handy? I can get at those last precious drops of product. Of course, this is nothing. Imagine a sun-kissed toddler falls overboard on an evening sail and a loop of his life vest catches somewhere disadvantageous and the landlubber parents are panicking while the life vest acts as a trap, pulling the gulping kid under.”

Phil’s mouth had slurped the bottom of a yellow drink through a fat green straw and then it continued: “Alls it would take is one slice of my knife and a heave-ho to pull the half-dead child up on deck and well, I haven’t ever actually had to test my knife that way, thank goodness because nowadays who knows, the parents might sue if the kid comes out of the ordeal with a ruined lung or worse, a sponge for a brain. But on all my dives, I invent mock emergency situations so that if and when the day comes, I’ll have the wits about me to slash my way out of peril.”

Phil was in Vegas for some sort of convention that didn’t directly sell diving equipment, but hooked him up with discounts on dive destinations.

“My earliest memory,” he said, “is being in my mother’s womb. I remember the final hour of the great float, the whole weightless business, when I saw that umbilical cord of hers glow with snake spirit. I tell you my mother’s umbilical cord was an anaconda, master of squinching life out. No way. All it took was some acrobatics on my part, worked my little way right out of a pre-birth death. Knew in that first baby-scream doctors and nurses think just comes from the cold and the shock of the spank, knew I needed more of that weightlessness. Born an old soul, I said to myself, ‘Dude, be prepared for the next time something winds up to you through the murky juice wanting to hug the life out of you.’”

Going back over conversations she’d had with Phil in Vegas and over the phone for the past few weeks, all of a sudden Jaime was thinking, I wonder if diving shuts him up?

“So,” she said to Levyna, “if you had to screw Aquaman or the Hulk or the guy the Hulk is before he gets mad, who would you choose?”

“Not Hulk.” Levyna was down on all fours, wiping the nozzle of the nitrous tank tube with a cotton ball doused in rubbing alcohol. “You will have green baby and on way out it will split your punani.” She closed her mouth over the nozzle.

Jaime turned the dial, pulled the lever, and watched Levyna suck nitrous in. She closed up the tank and got to her knees too, watching a smile spread across the foreign girl’s face. Levyna blinked and said, “But Hulk would smoosh you under his muscles. I like tiny feeling.”

The girls switched places. Levyna swiped the nozzle clean again, and Jaime went under for a hit. Levyna worked the valves. “Tiny, tiny,” she squeaked and watched Jaime’s body suck in the gas until she got enough.

The girls let themselves fall back on the floor.

Jaime turned her head toward the breath of her friend, which smelled like a meat she’d never tasted. “I feel tiny next to you,” she said.

“Time to make you clean,” Levyna said.

“One more hit,” Jaime said.

“You take,” Levyna said. “I have to concentrate not to pull your punani off!”

“I don’t want to do it,” Jaime said.

“You want to have sex?” Levyna said.

“I don’t think so.”

“Trust me,” Levyna said. “Sex it’s not worse than having cavity filled.”

Levyna gave Jaime another hit of nitrous, then pulled out a jar of wax, a brush, and some strips of paper. She was reading over the directions.

“I thought you were a pro,” Jaime said.

“Yes and no,” Levyna said. “Time to take off pants.”

“I don’t want to go to Hawai’i. I didn’t tell you, Phil talks too much.”

“Let him talk,” Levyna said, putting the jar of wax in the autoclave and turning the timer. “You aren’t near his mouth, remember? Mouth is dirty. You know how dirty. Come back with skin brown and shiny like coffee beans.”

Six days glowing together by the Pacific, would Phil want Jaime to have sex every day, every night and every morning?

“I think Phil is mental,” Jaime said.

“You see men is part mental,” Levyna said. “Get used to.”

“Yes, but men is also in women.”

“Get used to too.”

Jaime had no way of knowing, just fifty-some hours away from takeoff, that Monday would bring thunderstorms so severe, the SFO to HNL flight would be postponed until the next day. That Phil would get them an airport hotel room for the night, and would kindly not de-virginize her there. “When I make a girl a promise,” he would say, “I don’t break it. You’ll see what I mean tomorrow in Hawai’i when I have you floating like a jellyfish.” Jaime didn’t know that when he suggested they do everything but that night, Phil would look at what Levyna had done down there, and he would squeal and clap like a baby seal, and she would suggest a third bottle of room service champagne, watch him glug glug glug it down while exclaiming he’d never seen such precious cargo, never tasted such sweet salt, never wanted to crawl back in so bad since the day he’d lost weightlessness coming out of his mother. And after Jaime watched Phil pass out, she would spend a week’s paycheck taking a cab back to Levyna’s apartment in Fresno. She would fall into her friend’s arms and say, “Thanks for the lightning.”

Levyna threw a roll of paper towels at Jaime, who now had her pants off. “Cover Sparkler, then sit.”

“If it’s messy, shouldn’t we use one of the old chairs?” Jaime said.

“Don’t be crazy nuts. I am not messy.”

Jaime watched Levyna lay out the strips of paper on a dental tray. The brush had its own tray. While she was covering the seat of the Sparkler with a thick layer of paper towels, the autoclave buzzer rang.

“Time for panties off,” Levyna said. “Works hot.”

Jaime had been to the gynecologist once and at least there, she’d had a thin sheet of paper to cover herself with. Here, she was spreading her legs, wider, yes, wider, for the girl she worked with. She stared at the ceiling and realized she’d been in that room a billion minutes, and had never looked up. Why, Dr. Coleman has stuck a funny monkey face up there.

“Phil doesn’t want me to lose my virginity in a bed. He said, ‘Anybody can lose their virginity in a bed.’”

“Let me guess,” Levyna said, she was dipping the brush. “On ship?”

Jaime felt one stroke of hot wax go on like icing. Then another.

“Where’d you lose your virginity?” she said.

Levyna was pressing two strips of paper firmly against Jaime’s body.

“In tree.”

Jaime laughed. “Isn’t that a little impossible?”

“Laugh again,” Levyna said. “This will be uncomfortable.”

“I can’t laugh—

“Sex in tree!” Levyna said.

“Ouch! That’s not funny.”

“That is one and—”

“Ouch! No more!”

“House tree,” Levyna said. “You know. Kids play.”

“Tree house.”

“Don’t have sex on beach,” Levyna said. “Is scratchier than tree house.”

Jaime looked down. Her skin was red and raised.

“It burns like hell,” she said.

“You are bearded goat girl,” Levyna said. “Four more.”

“Just leave it. I don’t care.”

“Think of ocean,” Levyna said, brushing more wax onto Jaime’s skin, pressing narrower, shorter strips of paper at odd angles.

“Ocean,” Jaime said. “Ouch! Phil said he’ll de-virginize me in the Pacific Ocean, ouch! Before, god damn you! He said, ‘Before the surfers are up or the humpbacks have—Ugh!—their morning krill.”

“I don’t know what means humpbacks,” Levyna said.

Jaime looked down at Levyna, who was looking between Jaime’s legs with the same proud face she wore every night after tackling the Gold Sparkler and announcing, “My work is done here.”