You want some shit fixed? You bring it to me. I’ll do you right. Check out my quarter-page ad in the Freebie Jeebie Weekly: Ricket B. Schaeffer, Hands 4 Hire. Some Jobs 2 Big. No Job 2 Small. Call For Estim8
. Relax; I’m approachable. I’m as humble as any man alive, probably more, but if you want the whole truth of it, my hands are geniuses. Magical. Restore what’s broken, build what isn’t there yet.
My son is the same way.
Confidentially, there are some things I should be able to fix that I haven’t figured out yet. My marriage, for one. How do you fix a woman who drove the golf cart of sanity straight into a water hazard? My daughter, Tina, lives with me, and I do my best to shield her from the press, but she can already read a little bit. When she gets to school, there will be no way I can keep her from hearing what an attention-hungry lunatic her mother is.
My ex-wife is keeping my son from me.
Every day, Tina asks me about her brother. I can’t keep telling her Soon, honey
, because she’s on the edge of figuring out I’m full of shit. She’s become disturbingly attached to the three-quarter size Don Knotts plushie I bought her one morning when I was drunk. Something needs to be done about this situation before Plush Don starts telling her to kill.
It’s up to me to make sure my daughter gets to see her twin brother.
Plush Don is buckled into the passenger seat. Tina’s at her grandmother’s today, and the old bag has a deep-seated fear of all things Mayberry, so Don and I are a team for now. He’s not much on conversation, but his bug-eyed, lipsy astonishment is companionable all the same. My old Firebird feels like a chariot of destiny.
Today, I will see my son. Today, Tina will see her twin brother.
Everybody at the Craque-Bébé Bakery has been awake longer than I have. It smells like Sarah Lee learned French and farted for ten minutes in here. Busty Barbara asks if I need help, and much as I admire the view, it’s Jenkins I’ve come to see. Barbara and her tits go fetch him for me.
Jenkins slithers out the kitchen door several minutes later. We called him Mug Shot in middle school, which was funny until he had a real one. He head-points to the side counter and we meet there. The long-ago homemade tattoos on his knuckles are just faint blue whispers now: FRED and BARNey. We didn’t plan that second one too well.
“I made a little batch when nobody was here yet.” He looks to see if Barbara is listening. She’s avoiding the hell out of us, probably because I’m fixated on her melons. Hard to get, that girl. A small white box, my special order, appears on the counter. I lift the lid to peek inside.
“You sure this will work without going up her nose?” Desperation hasn’t blunted my skepticism.
“Yeah, yeah. Yup.” Jenkins pushes the box toward me. “It gets in through the membranes and shit. It’ll do what you want. Just make sure she eats one really fast.”
I’m at his professional mercy. The miracle of my hands doesn’t work in the kitchen. My own attempts at baking have been shameful, smoke-billowing monstrosities that make Tina cry. Twenty bucks across the counter and I’m out of there with my Very Special pastries. The bell on the door doesn’t adequately mask Barbara telling Jenkins he and his perv buddy need to figure out where her eyes are. I think she likes me.
Today, I will see my son or, in a more likely scenario, I will die trying.
Hostile territory. It presses down on me as I get closer to Shannon’s place. A block out, I flip the toggle switch under my radio and a white flag unfurls from the antenna. It’s the only way I can approach without 100% certainty of an ass kicking. The divorce is fresh, but Shannon has been shacked up for almost six months with some dickhead wannabe soldier of fortune named Yul. Being assaulted and/or shot is not part of my plan, so I proceed with caution.
The Firebird crawls toward the shopworn duplex. I’m tempted to sound my Crazy Train
horn, but think better of it and instead blast a polite Black Dog
to signal my approach. My stomach and balls meet halfway for an emergency conference at the thought of seeing Shannon. Confidentially, my ex-wife is a Cunt Biscuit. The driveway is empty, so I swing in and shut the engine off before I change my mind. Pastries in hand, I climb out and creep toward the abyss.
There’s no need to knock. I’m three steps toward the duplex when the front door smashes open and Shannon clomps onto the stoop, already a geyser of indignation at the sight of me. She’s a dishwater Viking, an eager brawler with a hair trigger and a few shifted bricks in her load. I can’t believe I used to bang her on purpose.
“What the fuck you want, Ricket?”
I hold the pastry box as far out in front of me as my arm will stretch. “Birthday-slash-peace offering.”
She reels it in a notch, but only a notch, and doesn’t move. “Is that from Craque-Bébé?” When I nod, she advances a cautious foot onto the ramp Yul built over their three cement steps. I could have done it better, but of course, nobody asked me. Balance is an issue on any incline, what with her being inescapably, massively knocked up.
Shannon is pregnant with my son. Shannon is pregnant with Tina’s twin brother. Shannon refuses to give birth.
Four years ago, there were twins-a-poppin’ and a race to avoid giving birth in the Firebird. Shannon had done all the research. I should have listened when she was going on about episiotomies and vaginal mesh and all those other words that turn a man’s ears to stone. I only knew that we’d be coming home with a pair of offspring, a girl and a boy that the sonogram lady told us had “busy little hands.”
Tina made her way out first, huge headed and performing mixed martial arts kill moves the whole way. She destroyed that birth canal and all points south. Once the last of Tina was out, Shannon cold cocked the nearest nurse, yanked her feet out of the stirrups, and slammed her legs shut.
Two nurses grabbed her knees and tried to open her up for Baby: The Sequel. I appealed to her sense of reason and got a vicious titty twister and some hurtful comments for my efforts. Meanwhile, in wiping the strawberry birth Jell-O off of Tina, the doctor discovered that she was born with hair, and it was in nineteen tiny, perfect braids.
When Shannon threatened to call the police unless they let her off the table, the doctor agreed to release her if he could examine her first. Labor had stopped. Baby boy was settled right back in, stretching out to enjoy having the place all to himself, and already at it again with his hands.
Shannon explained her master plan. “Our boy’s gonna make that mess right. He’s got little Ricket hands, hon. He’s a fixer.”
So she expected our unborn son to do her one better than vaginal mesh? That’s when my real doubts about Shannon’s sanity took seed. Then again, who the hell braided Tina’s hair in the womb? Her chubby little fingers didn’t seem capable of doing anything more nuanced than clawing the hell out of her mother’s cervix on the way down.
I’d humored Shannon at first, but it got to be a week, then a month, then ninety days, and the reporters started to call. I begged her to have the doctor induce labor. She’d always tell me the same thing: “When construction is finished, then we’ll pop that little nugget out.” After two years of this, I realized that not even a bulletproof, wind-resistant, fire-retardent vagina would be enough for her. She was building the Winchester mansion in her lady parts.
When the reality TV producers approached Shannon, I filed for divorce. The judge ruled that I couldn’t force her to give birth, since doctor after flummoxed doctor continued to pronounce the baby healthy. There was no hesistation on His Honor’s part in giving me full custody of Tina, on the grounds that her mother was “a narcissistic asshole.” Shannon blithely went back to shooting her reality show, which only ran for three episodes before drowning in the vomit of unfortunate viewers.
Now I stand, arm outstretched, still afraid to step forward even as I bait the beast with sweets. The draw of the Craque-Bébé box is too strong for Shannon to resist. She speeds her approach after she clears the wobbly ramp and I pop the lid open when she’s a step away. I know her Achilles creampuff. She squeals like a hugely pregnant schoolgirl.
“Ricket, you are not
a jackass! Not today.”
The mini creampuffs from CB are her favorite thing in the world, aside from whatever winding staircases she currently has under construction in her uterus. I am momentarily not in danger of being shanked with a broken CD. She takes the bait in both hands and heartily shoves a whole puff in her mouth. It’s the last second of her life she won’t hate my guts.
It takes a few bites for the spluttering to start. Chewed dough and icing rocket out of her mouth and spatter the Firebird’s driver door. A prickly blush spreads up her neck and turns her face into a sweaty, festive lobster camouflage. Chocolate-smeared fingers claw at frothing mouth as she chokes and convulses. Her eyes and nose send a gooey waterfall down her face. I wait. Any time now.
“What – did – you -?” she manages to spit out between body heaves. This isn’t going exactly as I planned. Jenkins spiked the center of each creampuff with five different kinds of pepper. So far, his oral dose isn’t doing its promised job.
She’s retching and foaming and cursing, but where is my payoff? I can’t stand it anymore. “Don’t you need to sneeze? Why aren’t you sneezing?”
Shannon fans a hand in front of her open mouth and drools generously. “Asshole! I swallowed some of that!” Gag harf harf.
I see no sneezes forthcoming. Jenkins will hear from me about a full refund. Once again, I’m forced to fix this with my own hands. Yul will probably come home any minute now, wearing one of his Rock the Hump
t-shirts, and then kill me in some efficient yet artful way, so I go for Plan D: Airborne Warfare. As a backup, I’ve filled my watch pocket with coarse-ground black pepper. The whitewater rapids coming out of her eyes blind her, so I step in close and blow a palmful of pepper in her face just as she’s snorting between nasal floods. The pepper swarms both her nostrils, and the effect is instantaneous and worth the price of admission.
“Sneeze” is too tame a description of the explosions that turn her body into a volcano/earthquake twofer. I get a blast of snot lava before I duck out of her way. Shannon repeatedly convulses and staggers around the lawn, blindly swinging a fist in case she gets close to me. Confidentially, I’m rather enjoying this.
“You fucker!” BLAGGHCCSSSSHUCCCSSS!
“- kill you !” AARCGHHSSHCCSS!
“- rip your tiny balls off!” GAABLMMMSSCCCH!
There. Through the spray, I see the shape of her belly changing for the first time in four years. She’s finally shaken my boy loose, and he is ready to fight his way out. Shannon sneeze/shrieks, “No no no!” BAGHCSSHCCH!
“My zipper isn’t fin-” GAJCHEGHHSSSSCCCH!
“He was building me a new cherry!” There’s a rainbow in her misty mucous aura.
Sticky, fleshy confetti erupts from the bottom of her sundress. Shannon has never liked underpants. Her super soaker goes next, and I’m glad we’re outside.
Outside. I want a soft place for the baby to land, but haven’t planned for that part of the puzzle. Plush Don to the rescue! My hands betray me as I fumble with the seatbelt, but I free him before there’s any baby on the outside yet, then fling him down on the soaked grass under Shannon. She squats over Plush Don’s perpetually surprised face.
It’s the quickest labor in history. Shannon doesn’t have time to threaten my life/testicles more than fifteen times before there’s a face looking out
from between her legs for a change. Adorable! Like an actor scoping the audience through parted curtains before a show. Shannon’s now-intermittent sneezing propels him, and as his whole head appears, I see his hair has gotten long and he’s wearing a French roll. He and I will talk about this another time. Once his shoulders are free, I hook my fingers under his armpits and pull the rest of my little rabbit out of the hat. He’s got something in his hand, and as his toes emerge, twelve feet of pink, shiny macramé tumble out after him. My boy’s kept busy.
Finally, I cradle my son in my arms. Shannon is spent and lies recovering, emitting an occasional sneeze punctuated by another piece of handiwork popping out of her and onto Plush Don’s birth-soaked face. There’s more macramé, some sailor knots, and what can only be interpreted as uterine macaroni art. Shannon weakly threatens to put a fencepost in my ass, then she ugly cries.
“You jackass. You say you love pussy?” GHESCCHUGH!
“You are the enemy of the pussy.” SSSHUUUCCCGGH!
Is that some of his abstract sculpture? Oh, just afterbirth.
Plush Don helps me clean off the baby. Plush Don isn’t going home with us. I call an ambulance and my lawyer, then settle in to wait. My son and I play umbilical cat’s cradle and I start getting to know my boy.
Labels: 2014, Fiction, writing