My youngest is teething again. It still brings him the same cravings, cute swollen cheeks, and demanding squaws as the freshest pink little bastard. So I cradle his pointy little head, pull him in tight against my tit, whisper the motherly stuff I know he needs to hear.
“Ss’dert, s’dert,” the boy keeps begging, mouth making a hot patch of stale breath and spit in my cleavage, sticking my shirt to my skin and getting my nipples hard. S’dert, it’s what he’s always called it, since he could talk; my little one needs his comfort food.
He means dessert, by the way. But what he wants when he says that is baby food. Part of me always thinks maybe I should slap him out of this, make him grow up, but if I just indulge him this one little relapse it’ll shut him up. He sure is a surly little shit when he wants to be, and I don’t fucking think he got it from me.
“Alright, peach, Mama’s gonna get you your s’dert, you shush now,” lucky for him, and me, I think we actually got some baby food in the basement. Chances could be that we’d have none, and I’d have to get creative. And I don’t have the damned energy to be creative today.
“I said I’m fuckin’ gettin’ it!” His cheek makes a sharp cracking noise as I bring my knuckles against it. He freezes, stares at me without comprehension, a trickle of blood blooms where I struck him. I gotta remind myself he’s just a little boy. “I’m sorry, baby. Mama’s just tired today. You know she loves you.”
I cover the cut with my lips and give it the mothers’ healing kiss.
The boy nods.
“Good. You wait here now, ya hear?”
He nods again. He’s such a good boy.
The light for the stairs is blown, so I’ve gotta feel my way down into the basement, and hope there ain’t no broken steps. I grip the railing tight, feel it wobble beneath my weight.
The floor is a big relief, for a while I was sure they weren’t never gonna stop. I find the switch on the wall, crank it down, bringing the greasy fluorescents alive. The basement’s a good size. About two-hundred square feet, all told. All put to good use, too. A dozen pairs of eyes stare at me, like I’m intruding or something.
Somewhere amongst it all is the baby food.
The ten hospital beds take up a lot of the cold concrete floor space. I walk past them, check the cauliflower vaginas of each of the girls, make sure their legs are still shackled properly, keeping those knees up and open. The smell’s getting pretty strong. I’ll have to remember to empty everyone’s shit buckets today. One time I didn’t and I ended up up to my ankles in overflowing shit and crotch-rot. Always something to keep me busy in this house. At least the girls’ feeding tubes look to be working proper, which is good, saves me that hassle.
One of them, the big-titted one, looks like she’s trying to talk. I’ll have to check the medication levels.
I come up to the bed I want. The baby lies still next to its mother, who seems completely unaware of it. Shit. Looks like my boy won’t be getting his s’dert after all.
I pick up the skinny runt of a child by the ankles, hold him upside-down, and flick his tiny nose. Nothing. I try it again. Finally, he makes a noise.
It’s my lucky day. Baby in hand, I go to the playpen in the corner, and fish out the toddler we’ve got in there. He’s around the size I think is fitting for us.
He looks at me, big fucking stupid eyes, dopey. Maybe three years old. I don’t like him. He’ll be useful in the next week or so though.
It ain’t easy trying to balance the two kids in my arms, but I somehow manage to open the fridge, and stuff the toddler in there, he’ll keep well, fresh as he is. He bangs lazily inside the fridge, I ignore him and check the stomachs of the girls. It’s gonna be at least two months before I give my honeybunch s’dert again. Unless I get creative.
“Whaddya say, darlin’?”
I toss the bub to him. He catches it in his big arms. You forget how quickly they grow up. He’s still a baby to me, even though he’s older now than I was when I squeezed him out my maw. The baby squeals as he chomps down on its arm. It’s at the stage he loves, where it’s little bones are more chewy than anything, and don’t knock as many of his deformed teeth out. He always saves the head for last. His favourite bit.
It’s strange to think of my boy as a father himself. His child and nephew. In the one mouthful.
I stare at my son and think that our Daddy would be proud.
Liam José has been alive to varying degrees of success since the 80s. He plans to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.