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by Michael Prihoda

He looked at us with those baby eyes, innocence and carelessness and a disturbing lack of humanity.

“Why does everybody think babies are cute?”

“Cute? I don’t think he’s goddamn cute, he’s been sucking my tits more than you ever have. Leaving scars, the bastard.”

***

We’d had this kid. Stuck with him, you could say. Eight months and he’d left his marks.

My hands covered in band-aids, cuts all up my arms like grade-school tattoos.

“I’m tough; we’re tough,” I say.

“Speak for yourself.”

Sometime, a few nights ago, frustrated, strung-out, we had sex in a not-massively-aggressive style that more or less ridiculed foreplay but then, on top, I saw the nibble marks, the small gouges on my wife’s breasts.

Yeah. I’m worried.

“He’s a monster.”

***

The last time my parents were over he gurgled the whole time, cooing, reveling in his grandma’s arms. The bastard. He’s quite the deception artist.

***

My wife comes home, plops groceries on the counter. “Men can lactate. Your turn,” she says.

“Haha,” I say. “I like my nipples,” I say. “You think he’ll live forever?”

“Maybe I should get steel breast implants. You could flick my nipples anytime, no worries.”

My wife absently takes things out of the grocery bag, puts them back in, takes something out and puts it in the fridge when it doesn’t belong there.

“It doesn’t belong there,” I say.

“What?”

“Nevermind.”

The refrigerated tortilla chips taste better somehow than if they were otherwise, or maybe that’s the peacefulness of my wife sleeping and not tearing at the corner of her eyes while she attempts another round of breastfeeding.

***

“You think this is punishment?” she says.

“I think it’s life.”

Our son in the living room, slamming a wooden block into the carpet, his repetition could be endless and maybe he wants it that way.

He flashes his front teeth at us.

I’m not sure what to think. Does he want to eat us? Maybe someday.

“Our son is a vampire,” I say.

“Yeah and my tits are sore,” my wife says.


Michael Prihoda was born in the Midwest. His recent work can be found in such places as The Bear, Unbroken Journal, and Unlost Journal. He is the founding editor of After the Pause and tweets @michaelprihoda and blogs at https://michaelprihoda.wordpress.com/.

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