I had puke on both shoulders and running down the leg of my shorts. I lost my patience many times that day. I kept mumbling and murmuring towards the changing table. I was sitting on the couch endlessly bouncing the baby on my knee, cursing my wife, with a rotary of hatred behind my longing for her to get up and over herself.

I feel like I’m watching my dream run away from me, I tell her.

All of the time that used to go into writing is being buried by family. She doesn’t work anymore. The baby cries forever and requires two hands to hold. She never wants to go to sleep. You put her in her bassinet, hoping to release yourself from the torment, only to find that you’ve got another hour on your hands of screaming as you move the pacifier back and forth in her mouth.

It’s the day after my birthday, or the day after that. My brother in law and his wife have arrived into town. They flew in last night. My mother and father-in-law picked them up at the airport. They are staying with my mother-in-law and Violence while they are here, and they are already getting frustrated with them–especially my brother-in-law.

Are they always like this, he asks, after having been up since seven and finally leaving the apartment at four.

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I didn’t switch my days off for this. As you know, my wife’s birthday and mine are a week apart, and she has a twin, so we were planning on celebrating our birthdays on the 28th, but then my wife came down with a stomach bug.

It’s been a rough couple of days. She’d messaged me when she’d woken up, telling me that she’d thrown up, and then she’d continued messaging me throughout the day, telling me how hard of a day she was having. I messaged her, telling her that I was going to have to take a late lunch. There were errands that I had to run for the shop. I had, however, gotten her a gift while at work. I’d come upon it while working my way through the stack of books that I had piled in front of my desk. It’s called Baby’s First Book, and it’s from Beatrix Potter. It is filled with illustrations, and it’s still in its original plastic wrap from the seventies.

I don’t know what I expected. Her mom was there when I arrived. My wife was doubled over. She couldn’t speak. She threw up once while I was there. I showed her the present, but she didn’t open it. She just shook her head and slept for the rest of the day.

That left me to take care of the baby. My mother-in-law handed her over to me, then she put some corn dogs in the oven and left before they finished cooking. There’s milk in the fridge, she’d told me, which I wasn’t happy about because refrigerated milk only lasts for a half an hour after heating it, and it takes five minutes to heat up.

It can be tough telling if a baby is hungry or if they want something else. You can’t force them to eat. You end up with wasted milk: liquid gold as my wife calls it.

I’m getting wrapped up in the job. That’s what’s happening. I’ve been making sale after sale, day after day. Things with the accountant are getting tense. She and Jake got into a yelling match the other day. I was in the back talking with Estelle about it when the accountant’s mom walked by, dropping something off for her daughter. I had just finished saying that maybe we could infuriate the accountant enough to make her quit.

When the accountant came back, she had a nasty look on her face. She didn’t say hello to us. Estelle told her that her mother came by, and the accountant said that she knew, that she had already spoken with her.

She passed by my side of the counter and told me that a pile of books that had been stacked there for over a month needed to go. I was on the phone. It wasn’t me that had put the books there. I had fought long and hard to keep that area clean. It was the boss had done it. He’s always taking advantage of open counter space. She knows this. It’s one of her main frustrations with him.

The next day, she’s not in the office. She’s taking two days off. There’s no word of where she is or what she’s doing, and that’s fine. While she is gone, we all gather and talk about her. There is the serious question of what we should do. Should we tell our boss how we feel about her? He loves her too much. This isn’t just some temp. This is one of his original employees. Someone who had walked out after our boss had made some unreasonable purchase or other. And now she’s back, here to reinvent the wheel again and save the day. She’s gotten under all of our skin, and she’s en route to making Jake quit.

He had put a request for time off on the calendar on the week before Christmas. He meant to tell the accountant, but she ended up yelling at him about something else, and so he forgot. The accountant found Jake’s written time off on the calendar, and he was told that it was impossible, he couldn’t go. No way. Nobody can take those days off. It’s the busiest time of the year. We need all hands on deck.

She brought the matter to our boss, in her distinctive distorted human resources manager manner, and he agreed that it was impossible, so Jake was then presented with an ultimatum.

Jake’s boyfriend’s mom had already bought him the ticket. She’d surprised him with it. He’d told her at the time that it might not have been the best idea, that his work might not be happy about it, but it was too late; she couldn’t return it.

Now Jamie-Beth is planning an intercession. She thinks that she is the accountant’s favorite. She took the accountant out for drinks one time. The accountant had told her that she reminded her of a friend of hers.

What do you mean, Jamie-Beth had asked.

The accountant had told her that it was nothing. You’re just intense, is all.

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, Jamie-Beth tells us, but never intense. Do you think that I’m intense, she asks.

It’s definitely not the first word I’d use to describe you, I tell her.

Here she is, going into battle against the monster, and I switched my Saturday for Sunday, because Jamie-Beth may not be intense, but I have a feeling that her battle with the accountant is going to be.

She has a virgin butthole. We had to go to surgery. The doctor didn’t make us, but we had met our deductible because of the baby; so we only had one shot, and Musette had dreamed of this moment. She’d never forgive herself for not taking the opportunity, but she’d be able to forgive herself should it go bad.

So far it hasn’t though. She’s still numb. I picked up high dose Ibuprofen for her while her family was at our apartment, gas leaking from her ass uncontrollably.

We have a prescription for Norcos on file that we didn’t pick up because opioids get into breast milk.

The woman who entered the prescription was the most furious typist that I have ever seen, and I thought that I was bad, but with me, I’m slamming down notes from the stratosphere–she was just entering prescription information.

The keyboard is the reason that I don’t write into my phone as much as some others do. You would think it a currentivist staple, a necessity, to write from one’s phone, but it doesn’t have the same effect–it doesn’t feel like beating something out of you. Writing from a phone is like a wrestling match; writing from a computer is like a boxing match.

But I’ve got to take what I can get. Anything is better than a drought. It’s not like you can tell the difference anyways.

Right hand, left hand: gotta be ambidextrous now that there is a baby in the picture, a bottle in one of my hands, nothing to do but think while I sit here in the dark, so I might as well do it out loud.

All I need is your report, says Lestrade.

I’d like to think that I’m working on it, but to say that would not just be lying to myself but lying to you as well, and when I’m lying to you, and you know that I know that I’m lying, well, that’s the worst kind of lie that I can tell, as a writer, a currentivist, the currentivst supreme.

We needed my grandma’s blessing. That’s why we went over there earlier than usual, and it’s a good thing we did, because we wouldn’t have made it any longer than we did. Heading over there was the best thing that could have happened to us. The tacos, like I said, and my grandma, she can put a smile on Musette’s face. Musette is my wife. My wife is Musette. My grandma’s memory crapped out with that massive turd that was stuck in her butt. She kept calling the baby a boy. It’s probably because we had her in a blue shirt. We had picked out a more floral one, but she’d peed all over it when I was putting her pants on.

My mom kept saying her name, her full name, middle and all, both feminine unless you shorten the first name to the nickname that Musette had originally wanted, the consolation, the nickname of our dog, baby Carlo, baby boy, that’s what I call my dog, Carl, that’s what I call him, but my baby is a girl, baby Carla.

Carla is a girl, my mom says once we’re out in the parking lot.

They get in their car, and we get in ours, and then we follow them part of the way back to the house until my dad pulls into the left lane with his right turn signal blinking.

He makes fun of me for following him so closely. We are so close to home. It’s just that leaving the old folks home confuses me. I’ve ended up on an unfinished and unlit highway that didn’t allow u-turns, taking me far North before abandoning me on a railroad track to await a train led T-boning.

They’ve got somewhere that they’ve got to be: a viewing, but they don’t go to that. Life is more important than death. They’re trying to get chicken food, or fertilizer, but the feed shop is closed on Sundays even though the bookstore is now open from 12-5.

They’ve got three older chickens that they’re getting rid of to make way for the younger chickens that they recently got.

The older chickens aren’t letting the younger chickens lay their eggs in the coop. My parents are finding eggs all over the yard. The eggs from the younger chickens are a lot smaller than the ones from the older chickens. Some of them are blue. I’ve been eating eggs every morning. Two for breakfast. Between buttered toast when Musette makes them for me. Always with Tabasco. Cheese if we have some.

I’m wanting the protein. I want to be lean, but it doesn’t matter because I am lean. This body it’s just a hub, a router, physical eyeballs, a brain for the imagining of streets on top of streets, cigarettes that don’t kill, a gun holstered beneath my jacket, clearance to varying layers of the mystery, and a partner who gave us a child, but who is not Penelope, Penelope existing somewhere out there in the world, but who is she? And who is my wife?

Samoa granola bars at the entrance to the shower. It’s time to take my pants off and get in. My dick flopping around beneath her butt. My niece having a mole in her crack.

I spent the first three months of her life trying to scrub it off, says my mom. Just like my sister with the one on her vagina.

Our baby doesn’t have anything like that. Our baby is clean as a whistle. Not a spot on her. That’s not normal. It’s not what I’d expect. Not with my wife and me. I’d expect something like a cheetah baby. My coworker, the teenager, asking me if I’ve already got dad back because I am limping and hunched over.

I pulled my back. It’s not what I’d call dad back. I’d say dad backs are moley and hairy. I don’t have a hairy back. I pulled it moving boxes in the back. Making it so that the press books are more easily inventoriable. The area is right next to the accountant’s desk. We had a long conversation because I was working back there. It took place after hours. She told me right around after six that I’d better leave. I didn’t know that it was because I was going to get enmeshed in a conversation that would later have me being complimented on my candor.

She handed me a post-it with the amount of money that I was costing the shop in insurance. Myself, my wife, and the baby. I’m a heavy burden. By carrying me, the shop is carrying three. That’s why I can’t be the one to go. No matter if I am the least necessary member of the crew, you don’t throw a whole family overboard. Not in their first year of life. Their first couple of months. I know that they are not monsters.

The mural on the wall says “fire your bosses.” It’s all that I can think about, shoegazing, pulling my Doc Martins out of storage.

It has been raining for the last few days. My right hip hurts. So does my wife’s. I asked her why it hurt in front of my mom, and my mom said she just gave birth. My wife asked me why mine hurt, and I told her that it was probably empathy.

We got in another fight. It’s like, every Sunday this happens. At least on the Sundays before we go over to my parents. This time, however, I didn’t fudge the whole thing up. We went down south and saw them. They made mention of how it’s been a month, and they’re right. If we don’t see them on their week, then that means that we didn’t see them the week before, and we won’t see them the week after, so it’s four weeks until we see them when we miss one week.

A baby can change so much in that amount of time. When they’re this age… It’s incredible. They’ve got my sister’s baby living with them, and when I told them that we went and saw “It”, my dad was quickly like, how did you do that? Did you leave the baby home, or what? I told him that we had my wife’s mom watch her. You could tell that he was sad about that. He probably spent the most time with the baby tonight. She slept on him for over an hour. She’s not always that sleepy. It was probably sensory overload.

My mother-in-law. That’s what I meant to say. I’ve got to be careful. These are these people’s names I’m talking about. Their titles are enough. You can imprint your own images on top of my words. My wife. My mother. My mother-in-law. My daughter. And my dog.

I am myself, and I’m not even bibles. What are bibles? What is bibles? Who is bibles? I am me. I am myself.

I’ve got to sign up for a life insurance policy, but I don’t know which one to choose. I’ve also got to get one for my wife. My dad says just enough to bury her.

You want to kill mom, I ask.

No, says my dad. I just need enough money in the account so that I can pay her funeral expenses in the case of her death.

We each and all have our own types of agents. There are many cases packed into our moments. And there is no body crammed into the coffin.

I made a call, but it was not received, and I did not leave a message. Not connecting makes it such that the call never even happened. I’m not covered, and I can’t bury my wife, your mother, beautiful, Musette.

Beautiful

Where thinketh that you came from?

How is it that you could wake up so cute?

Look at me

I have got the talking stick.

I have got the beating rod.

I am the sun of your solar system.

I am the father.

I get lectures from the mother, because she takes care of the daughter.

the wife is the mother of my child.

I am the father and the son.

I am the father.

I have learned to let go of my father

My boss.

To not see these figures as the final authority.

I am the father

and I am the son.

It’s all about whose roof you live under.

That’s why I’m always the son. I’m fighting against tyranny, holding the rain above my head, the snow, the cold, and the dark of the park.

Holding my hands up to the holes in the hull.

Not neglecting my vision for the life raft that has always been slated to sustain myself and my family while soaring through my dreams, above the rocky bottom always banging at my endurance, wearing me out, and threatening to wash me up, and leave me for dead.

I’m through with being bitter. Being bitter is for failures. There are not a lot of ways to fail at writing, but being a little bitch about everything is one of the top ways.

I’ve got to be a man. I am a dad. There are those who are younger than me suffering in search of a wife. I’m past that. I’m beyond it, and I’m above it. I’m a wreck. I’ve abandoned all of my friends and my audience. My family thinks that I’m a disaster. My dad won’t stop pestering me about when we’re going to get the baby blessed. The more he loves her, the more he wants it done. At least he doesn’t have maggots growing between his toes. But I ate way too much sugar. French toast, scones, compote, buttermilk syrup. I’m going blind. The baby is screaming from the other room. Musette and I got in a fight before we went over to my parents, but we both pushed through and made it over there. Didn’t talk the whole drive. I got her Del Taco. Two hard shells in a soft shell, glued together with cheese. Not as good as Taco Bell. Not really all that great, but it helped merge the divide.

Home is where the heart is, and I want you to feel at home when I’m online Who’s going to accept that I just want to be alone without enduring loss? It’s got to be true. I have to give up so much. It’s the holding on that’s turning me terrible.

Help the dad out of his hole. That’s all that I’m asking. I’ve got to wake up out of my slump. I’m missing the birth of my child

Hey, shake it off, brother. Other people have got problems. They don’t want to hear you bitching and moaning about the same old shit. You’re supposed to be our hero. The dancing clown. Lights in his eyes and children in his sights. Make us laugh more, bibles. You’re so funny. Honestly, you’re, like, the funniest writer I know. So witty. So crisp. So clear. So ice cold and brutal.

It’s talk like that that helps me overcome my Destiny. Helping me wake up, face the day which has me not at work yet, surprisingly, but here, with my family, who is awake, surprisingly, the reason being that we’ve got to go, like I said, and put an IUD in my wife (as I called her).

I’ve got so much work to do. Wouldn’t it be nice if this could be the thing, the way the day progresses. I’m here, in the glider, coming to you with what’s going on currently while making trips to the basement, reanimating a dead body, the past, another life, that which it was, the road that she came in on.

She’s still alive. And, I mean, she seems fine by all accounts that I can reckon with. The two of us, my wife and I, are pretty well good in agreeance that she suffers from acid reflux. It’s something that I have to deal with, and the fact that Musette was dealing with it while pregnant only adds to this theory.

The water is getting turned off any moment now. It’s nine twenty three here. It was supposed to be turned off at nine. We’ve got some saved up around the apartment. The dog’s got some in his bowl. My wife’s got the pumping parts cleaned, and the plates are in good shape. It’s going to be off until five pm. That’s what they say. They are putting in a soft water pipe.

There’s construction out front of the store as well. Something to do with Google Fiber. Having to move the lines. There were trucks blocking our parking lot for a while yesterday, and I, like a brave boy, a strong boy, a manager, someone with some sway in this world and a ball in his sack, went out and asked how long they were going to be there.

Only just another minute, sir. I know that we’re not supposed to be here. Only just another minute.

Okay, I said. Not telling them to move, or never to do it again, or that we’d be calling the city or the superstar gay city councilman who was good friends with “my wife” and who now makes humus with “his husband.”

I just said, that’s good, only another minute is fine.

This is the guy that you’ve come to fall in love with. Love him or hate him, this is the kind of stuff that he says to a bunch of hard hat wearing bulky buddies. This is how he stands up for the store. It’s no wonder we’re falling behind the bottom line with spineless shrimps like me carrying the weight.

There are only six of us total, and who do you think will be the first to go? Who’s got two dependents and difficult to define job responsibilities?

I haven’t even got the totes listed on ebay. My boss keeps burying me in returns. It’s my plan to get better at this, now that I’m back, I tell him. I want it to be a very organic system. I don’t want to do away with consignments. It’s always been my mission to bolster the local lit scene. I want to turn the place into a countercultural hub, but it’s a little tough when any experimentation with the shop’s music or the types of books that we bring in is met with such reserve and conservatism.

Old Ben is of two decades ago. He’d shut off Nirvana. He didn’t even want me playing Yardbird’s radio, even though he has told me that they are his favorite band. He’d met Abby Hoffman, but he refused to go on television with him. Signed a copy of “Steal this Drug Test” but wishes it had been “Steal this Book”.

This is why we need to fire these people. We’ve got to save the ship. I am not the heaviest weight on board. It’s true, and we all know it. We are misrepresenting our morals here. The sails are turning against us. The water is running up and over our ankles. At least I’m here, where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do, coming to you smack dab against the face, in the present, a representation of the current moment, contemporary, fresh and countercultural. This is what I’ve been talking about this whole time. This is what I’ve been saying.