The three girls lounged on the sofa like mermaids on a jutting rock; they smoked and drank; made noises in a chorus of babble; then laughed. Magdalene, the eldest by three months, held her cigarette aloft her head and blew the grey smoke; cast her eyes at the other two; boss-eyed her eyes; made them giggle like a gaggle of geese and then scratching her groin, she made tell of Sister Lucy and Father Joseph of the Holy Ghost. Mary, lounging upside down with her feet against the wall; her school uniform half-mast on her thighs, gave smirk, drew heavy on her ciggie; puffed the smoke as her da did, or so she said. Then sipped from the beaker of gin from Magdalene ma's bottle, hid but not too well; talked of Brian and his groping hands; the leer that held about his face like that of a loon. Martha resting her chin on her knees held her cigarette in front of her, peered at the crucifix on the opposite wall, and screwed up her blue eyes. Magdalene coughed; said that Sister Lucy had a crush; that if the bishop found out it'd be showing the door for her and the father, so it would. Martha nodded. Mary drew on her ciggie; then sipped from the beaker once again. Brian's hands she said went too far; she had to slap them for the cheek and his damned face, ugly as the devil himself, she added. Martha studied the hanging Christ; the way the arms were stretched out like her da when he'd drooped over the armchair one Easter eve, drunk as a skunk her ma had said. Magdalene laughed. Mary gazed up at the off-white ceiling; her eyes spotted the pinholes where the decorations or balloons had hung; blew smoke upwards like a ship. Magdalene leaned over and kissed Mary's thigh and Mary giggled; said it were better than Brian's and less spitty. Martha wondered if the crucified was watching and if He was what He made of all He saw. Magdalene tickled Mary until she coughed, choked, and nigh wet herself. Mary said she was feeling giddy with the gin and smoke; tried to upright herself, but fell on Martha and entangled both flopped to the carpeted floor in a hoot of giggles and coughing. Magdalene shook her head; said her ma'd be home soon; to get their backsides together; help tidy up before her ma came in and gave'em hell or worse. Martha gazed at the hanging Christ and shrugged her shoulders; watched the unmoving head and arms. Mary gave stare to Magdalene; picked up the glass and butt ends that still smoked weakly in her thin pink fingers; poked her tongue and they all laughed their babble as the key in the front door turned with the familiar twist of the hand and an ear was cocked for unfamiliar sounds.