Rocky is stuck with the rest of them inside the Tin Can, their nickname for Grandma’s house because of its ugly siding and roof, because of the way they jam inside, because of the way it both preserves and ruins them, because it’s where they go in after failing out there.
The Tin Can is chicken nuggets, is pizza rolls, is ramen noodles. The smell is baked into the microwave and the refrigerator and the silverware. If Rocky were to grab a handful of curtains and jam them into his mouth, if he would pull a wad of his sister Stella’s pink hair up to his nose, it would be chicken nuggets, it would be pizza rolls, it would be ramen noodles.
The Tin Can is Grandma at the kitchen table, working on her puzzles. The Tin Can is bodies on the couch, is bodies on the floor, is limited territory. Uncle Dick on one end of the couch and Rocky on the other. Stella on the floor across from them, her head resting on her boyfriend Shaggy’s lap. Toe, Uncle Dick’s baby boy, sitting between them on the floor, those rolling baby eyes inside that rolling baby head bent on learning how to live and where exactly a Toe is supposed to fit?