S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.


My wife wants a baby. I tell her we’re not ready. She says it’s either a baby or a vasectomy. I say this is only fair, right and true.

Late at night, I masturbate to the Internet. I mostly look for girls doing things to other girls, but one gets bored. Did you know that some adults dress as babies? They wear diapers and have nap times. I find this hardly sexual. It’s only effect on me is to want a baby even less.

I see babies everywhere. In the just-opened Bloom grocery store, I make my own six-pack as a baby perched on a cart near me screams and points. I follow his tiny index finger to a beer I’d not seen. It ends up being the best of the six.

My wife buys a dog. I guess you’d call it a wiener dog. It growls at me. My wife adopts a stray cat. She holds it in her lap while we watch TV. It has six kittens and my wife keeps them all. My wife buys a number of hamsters and guinea pigs and mice, so many that I have a problem getting an accurate count. She builds elaborate systems of tunnels from one room to the next. The cats follow them as they move through these tunnels. My wife buys fish. She puts them in water glasses in our china cabinet. My wife catches a squirrel in a humane trap. She spends hours online learning how to tame it. My wife buys twenty pound sacks of bird seed and casts one bag over the lawn a week. Birds make moving tapestries.

I knock her up in the hope she’ll stop. I try anyway but it doesn’t work right off. It becomes mechanics—it becomes science. Rhythm, cycles, timing, supplements. And the positions—all the old favorites and new ones with yoga-position names. I jokingly tell her it might help if she puts me in diapers, but she seems to seriously entertain the idea. Until I do get it right, and then she buys all the baby accoutrements: baby-wearing sling, a stroller that costs more than a car, something called a “Pack N’ Play.”

Weeks in, she locks herself in the bathroom. I’m on the outside, knocking and pleading for her to open the door. She says there’s blood. I say we’ll go to the OB/GYN. She says her baby is gone.

The squirrel appears. It chatters at me. It climbs my leg and leaps over to the bathroom door knob. It can’t get a grip, claws clicking. It jumps back to my chest and clambers up to perch on my shoulder. I tell her that her squirrel is here to see her. The little bastard bites deep into my ear.

When she opens the door, blood is seeping through the fingers holding my earlobe. She takes the squirrel from my other hand that had been tightening around its throat. She cradles the squirrel and it lets her. I cradle my wife and she lets me.


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