A Perfect Family

by Sarah Gelfand

Zebra-striped throw rugs, gilt chandeliers, and porcelain busts of buxom water nymphs that would have made the thugs from Scarface feel right at home – yes, the Bernstein’s mansion was full of late 1970s’ luxuries. Their assorted kids wallowed in crushed-velvet upholstery, grabbing random meals when hungry, and poking holes in waterbeds when bored, while the six Dalmatians bred in dark corners. The kids were supposedly being raised by a couple of teenage maids, but those girls barely spoke English and spent most of their time watching telenovelas. They weren’t mean, just completely uninterested in parenting their employers’ children, not that this seemed to disturb Dr. or Mrs. Bernstein. Actually, I never met the Doctor, but the Mrs. (aka “Dee-Dee”) occasionally said a few words to us, usually while hurrying to leave for someplace more glamorous. She was a petite woman, tucked into brown leather thigh-boots, with a hip-switching walk; I thought she was fabulous even though she never noticed me much, but then neither did my own mom.

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Sarah Gelfand, who has creative and technical publications in various venues, recently became an English teacher. She lives in northern Colorado.