Chapter Description: Clark takes out his frustrations in small but potentially disastrous ways.
“I love you…”
“I love you, too, baby boy.”
Wake. Wide awake. Burning up with fever and shivering cold at the same time. Dehydrated but almost too tired to drink.
And in the moment, none of that mattered.
No, no, no!
I did not just say that!
She did not just hear that!
I was delirious.
I was still feverish.
This was a fever dream.
A fucking nightmare; the same that I always had when things were either too good to last or too awful to handle all at once. Any second now I’d sit up in my crib, covered in sweat, panting and blinking away the nightmare I’d just trapped myself into. It felt real, but so did all dreams while you were in them. I’d thought I was awake and about to nod off when I was talking to Cassie in our old bedroom but then I woke up back in
“I’m sorry,” I said to Janet, my breath feeling hot in my throat. Shit! Why did I say I was sorry?! “I was having a dream! I wasn’t talking to you! I thought I was somewhere else!”
Still cradling me, Janet took a seat in the kitchen and repositioned me so that I was seated sideways in her lap, reclining in the crook of her left arm. The bottle came up to my lips. “Okay,” she said. “Drink up. I just want you to feel better. That’s all.” To my horror and shame I’d taken the nipple and a few sips of red flavored juice as she was soothing me.
I let the bottle from my lips.. Water mixed with sugary red powder dribbled out over my neck and chest for my trouble. “No!” I said. “No! That’s not what I-”
“I understand what you’re saying, sweetie,” Janet interrupted. “But that’s not important right now. You’re sick. You need to stay hydrated. Drink up.” She was being patient with me. Too patient. Infuriatingly patient.
“No! I didn’t! I didn’t say anything!”
“Just a few more sips for me.” She managed to get the bottle back between my lips..
I took a few sips. My bladder suddenly felt full, as it had been feeling all day, and I started to feel amazingly anxious. “What’s in this stuff?!”
“Water and flavor powder.” Janet set the bottle down and felt my forehead again. It was still cold but not icy.
“What’s in the powder?” I demanded. I fidgeted and shivered. Hard to focus. Cold. Hot. Had to pee. Again. All day.
Janet shrugged noncommittally. “Electrolytes. Sugar. That kind of stuff. I can read you the ingredients off the back of the can.”
“No!” I squealed, my voice cracking. “I want water!” I wouldn’t have understood the ingredient list anyways. Who could?
She sighed in annoyance. but there was a glint of worry in her eyes. “Sure. Let me get you a different bottle.”
“No!” I barked. My throat felt raw and scratchy. “Dump it out, rinse it and refill it!” I didn’t want her slipping in anything else, maybe coating the new nipple in something tasteless and odorless that would have me pissing and shitting in my pants or chemically altering my brain so that I’d be in some kind of bizarre brain damaged haze.
No! Not that! Never!
“Okay, honey,” the worry was spreading to Janet’s voice. “I can do that for you.”
“No! I want to do it! I’ll fill it up!”
“I’m not a baby!”
“I wasn’t going to say-”
“Baby boy! You called me baby boy just a second ago!” I was angry. I was scared. I was embarrassed and humiliated. I was panicking. My bladder was full to bursting again and the only thing that distracted me from it was the adrenaline and guilty terror I was experiencing. “Don’t call me that!”
“Okay,” Janet said.”That’s fine. I’m sorry. I just meant it as a term of affection.”
Bullshit! “I h-!” I stopped. She wasn’t looking at me. I needed her to look me in the eyes when I said it. She carried me over to the sink. It wasn’t modified to accommodate Littles at all. I could sit in it and the water would make it up to my belly button. And as weak as I was feeling I probably couldn’t fill up the bottle myself unless I planned on glugging it down right on the kitchen counter. “I hhhhhh!” I just panted. She still wasn’t looking at me. I needed her to know in no uncertain terms how much I hated her.
The bottle came back to my mouth. My throat felt dry. I was thirsty. So thirsty. I’d drink the water, make sure my throat was good and wet. Then I’d tell her. Look her in the eye and make her burst into tears with three simple words.
“You’re doing great,” she said kindly to me. “You don’t have to drink so fast. Just take sips. That’s it. This isn’t a race.”
“Hhhhhayhhhh.” No. Had to finish the bottle. I’d finish the bottle of tap water. Then I’d chew her out.
We stayed in the kitchen the entire time. Outside of occasional hums and mumblings to herself that I couldn’t pick up and had absolutely no interest in knowing about, she didn’t talk. I reached up and grasped the bottle, even though she was holding onto it. Grabbing onto the vessel felt better than leaving my hands idle and my fists close up in potent rage.
When the bottle was about three-fourths of the way drained she took it away from me. There was no chance at me being able to successfully resist. “I hayyyyyy!”
“You can finish the rest with your broth,” she said and put me into the highchair. No straps or harnesses this time, just the tray and the drop to keep me there. Honestly it was closer to how I had lunch at school.
My mouth opened to tell her off. “I…”
Janet turned around. “Still want your broth in a mug and a straw?”
“I…” She was looking right at me, waiting for an answer. “Yes please…”
I slumped forward, my forehead casting a shadow on the feeding tray. Why couldn’t I tell her how I felt? The fuck was going on? I relaxed my bladder yet again and closed my eyes pretending that the dampness was just a warm compress on my junk instead of…you know.
The microwave beeped and my soup came out of the oven. A bright green bendy straw was inserted in. “You don’t have to drink the whole thing,” she said. “But it’ll be good for you if you drink as much as you can.”
I muttered out another thank you. Janet grabbed a tremendous banana from the top of the refrigerator and peeled it. Without saying a word she broke off a piece and offered it to me with a hopeful “Mmm?” I shook my head and quietly sipped my broth. I’d tell her how awful she was and how much I hated after I’d had enough to eat and drink.
If I made her too mad she’d just put some mush in a bag and gag me with it or something until I had to swallow it or risk choking. That’s what Amazons did. Even her. Even Janet.
Just thinking about that hurt what miniscule appetite I’d had. If my body wasn’t doing everything it could to try and retain water and fight dehydration I might have cried into the broth. Only babies who didn’t know how to use their tear ducts couldn’t cry. That didn’t make me feel any better.
“I…” I stopped while she slowly chewed her banana. I should wait for her to swallow. Out of politeness…
Oh fuck. Who was I kidding? I couldn’t even think of her as ‘Grange’. She was Janet. Always had been.
The fuck was happening to me? Maybe this wasn’t a virus or me working myself into exhaustion. What if this was more programming? More mindfuckery? Get me to let down my guard again and then WHAM…I’d be Ivy or Amy but without the pink and frills (and many more teeth).
“All done?” Janet held her hand on the mug readying to carry it off to the sink and toss it down the drain.
“No.” I said. She took her hand off. “Yes.” She put it back on. “NO!” The mug that almost doubled for a soup bowl went away. “I said I wasn’t done!” I whined.
“I think you’re more than a little punchy,” Janet told me.
My eyes widened. “I’M NOT FUSSY!”
My old friend drew back like a caged lion had just taken a swipe at her. “I didn’t say you were fussy. I said you were punchy. You need more sleep, Clark.”
“DON’T CALL ME-!” I stopped. My name? I didn’t want her to call me by name? I’d been so sure she’d bust out a ‘honey’ or a ‘baby’ or a ‘bubba’ or some other toddlerish pet name.
Janet removed the tray and started carrying me back to my room. “You definitely need sleep.” She said, quickly adding. “And that’s okay. Your body needs to rest and heal. Do you want me to change you before I put you down or do you think you’re not that wet?”
Fuck. Back to no-win questions. “Change me, please.” Cry. I was going to cry. I’d barely moved all day and I still felt dizzy. I tried to start myself into raging, desperate tears, but the most I could get was not-even hyperventilating on the table.
Bars sprung up around my periphery. “Do you want me to stay with you? I don’t mind sitting in the rocker and keeping you company while you go to sleep.”
I was not going to sleep. “No.”
She seemed to read my mind. “Okie dokie. You can rest here. I’ll give you some privacy. You don’t have to go to sleep.” Fuck her. I was totally going to go to sleep. She pointed to the baby monitor. “You can call if you need me.”
Her actually listening to that heap of scrap; that’d be something. Out of all the ‘presents’ I’d gotten out of that awful shower it was the thing I’d seen the most, day in and day out, and gotten the least utility out of it. Depending on outlook, that was supposed to let her spy on me or allow me easier access to her. Beyond suspicious paranoia, all data indicated that it did neither.
Skinner had said that it would be ‘educational’. The only thing it was teaching me was that Amazons were the absolute worst, and I didn’t need any help or remediation on that lesson.
I tried one last time before Janet left. “I…hhhhhhhhhhhhh.” She walked out before I could tell her and closed the door. “I hate you.” The curse came out a full thirty seconds later as a growled whisper. The monitor certainly picked it up at least.
I rolled over, sneered at the baby monitor, and tried to come up with a plan.
One afternoon, a few days later, I sat in my stroller while Janet pushed me around in it. I was leaned back, but sitting up, and drinking from my ba-ba. Red! My favorite flavor! I was just wearing a nice sky blue t-shirt and a diaper, but Janet had given me a knit blankie to keep my legs warm.
Maybe it wasn’t just a few days? Maybe it was weeks or months? Years? Time meant less to me, recently. (There was an ironic statement).
I leaned back and looked at Lion. “Lion?” I asked. “Do you want some juice?”
He didn’t respond. “More for me.” I kept sucking on it, enjoying the sweet red flavor of it. Delicious!
The Grown-ups walked by. Some waved. Some didn’t. That was okay though. Grown-ups are always super busy. Always worried about all their responsibilities and bills and stuff that they had to do. I used to be just like them.
Then Janet found me and became my Mommy.
I knew she wasn’t really my mother. ‘Mommy’ was a job title; like teacher or artist or ax murderer. And as Janet liked to remind me, being my Mommy was a full time job with no pay but benefits she wouldn’t trade in for the world. I didn’t have a job title anymore. Didn’t need one. Littles with Maturosis were special.
Deep down I knew I didn’t have Maturosis. I knew I was really an adult and not a baby that would never grow up? But why fight it? At least everybody was friendly towards me now. I didn’t have to worry about somebody snatching me up or putting me in diapers; because it had already happened.
Speaking of which, I took a moment go pee-pee, sighing even while I continued to nurse my ba-ba. Drinking and going to the bathroom at the same time: There was something I wasn’t allowed to do before!
Other strollers with Littles passed by. We waved casually at each other; smiling; content that we were both in on the secret. A few grumpy or sad Littles pouted. Screaming. Shouting about how they weren’t really babies. Just like I had. They’d come around eventually. We all did. The big people knew the true secret to happiness, and not able to have it for themselves, they shared it with us.
It was Amy’s Mommy. Amy waved from me over in her stroller. “Hi Clark!” Finally! Finally I saw her coming before she said it. “Did you know that platypusses are the only semi-aquatic egg laying mammals that start with the letter ‘p’?
“Yeah!” I said. “I did! Did you know that the Muffets creator got his start by making coffee commercials?” That used to bother me considering how often coffee was used to mask stronger stuff. Not anymore!
“No! I didn’t! Did you-?”
“Say bye bye to Clark, Amy.”
Bye Clark! See you at daycare!”
Oh yeah. I never went back to Beouf’s room. I’d been so good and been making such progress that it was decided I should just go straight into daycare. How had I forgotten that? Probably because I didn’t need to remember it. Whether I remembered it or not, Janet was taking me there. So why fight? Why worry?
This time I had to look up. Mrs. Beouf was leaning over and waving at me. “Hi Mrs. B.” I suddenly felt very, very, shy. I always did when I saw her outside of school. It was like she was somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be, but I wasn’t brave enough to point that out to her. She’d gone a whole long time without telling me where I belonged. It was only polite. I raised Lion up over my face, using him as a feline shield. Sorry bud.
Mrs. Beouf took it in stride like she always did. “Awww, Hi Lion! Good to see you, too. How’s he doing?” That last question was directed towards Janet.
I kept drinking my ba-ba, while the Grown-Ups talked. I didn’t think it was weird that there was so much red juice in it. It was a really big ba-ba. Big enough for me!
Honestly, I kind of tuned them out, listening less to their words and more skimming the cadence that their voices made. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Two old friends catching up. Small talk.
I looked around at my surroundings. Where were we? Were we inside or outside? It was hard to tell. Nothing was obstructing my view, but unless I really concentrated, I couldn’t tell. On one side of my stroller, it was grass and sunny, like a park. To the other side of me were tiled walkways and storefronts.
Where in town had something like that? Had we moved and I’d forgotten? Directly in front of me, it was just the Grown-Ups talking. Janet had stepped in front somehow and was now talking with Mrs. Beouf, yet I still could only make out the cadence in their voices. Did Grown-Ups have a secret language that I was only now just aware of? Was that how they did it?
“Thanks for catching up with us,” Janet said. “But I gotta get this baby boy home.” She poked my diaper through the blankie. “Hmmm…maybe a change, first. I don’t want you leaking in your car seat.”
Oh wow! She was right! I really did need a change! What’s more, I had to pee again.
“Say bye bye to Mrs. B.”
I took my ba-ba out of my mouth. “Bye bye Mrs. B!”
“Bye-bye Clark! I love you!”
“I love you too.”
Janet pulled a lever and my stroller reclined back. She grabbed the diaper bag and started fishing out the appropriate supplies. She didn’t have to go potty, so no need to go to the bathroom. She could change me out here in the open. In front of everybody.
Janet reached down to the tapes of my Monkeez. “Let’s get you nice and dry again. Then we’ll go home and you can take a nap.”
The sound of those two words rocketing out of my throat woke me up like a loud snore. I sat up in the crib, dripping wet from head to toe hyperventilating. “No!” The only thing that wasn’t wet was my diaper, ironically.
The nursery was dark, but tiny motes of sunlight shone through the curtains. It was late afternoon more than likely. The computer of my brain updated itself and made sense of what I’d just seen and experienced.
A dream. Just a dream.
Random garbled nonsense from my brain. No wonder Amy had been the most coherent in it. My bladder was still screaming too. That’s why I couldn’t stop peeing in my dream. That’s why the bottle never got empty no matter how much I sucked stuff down.
The door to the nursery opened. In walked Janet. “Clark? Are you okay? I heard you over the monitor.”
Was I okay? No. I wasn’t okay. Not even a tiny bit.
“You’ve been asleep for almost four hours. Let’s get you up so you’re not up all night. Get you a snack.”
My stomach growled at hearing the word ‘snack’. I finally felt hungry and invisible hands were reaching out of me, desperate to bring food down into my belly.
I responded by sitting up in a ball and huffing my way back to my normal breathing pattern. Janet walked up and pressed her hand against my forehead. “It looks like your fever has broken.” She sighed with relief, even as she wiped her hand on her pants. “Good. Now we have the whole weekend to get you better.”
Better? Clearly, I was getting worse. I looked away as Janet checked my diaper. “Uh oh. Dry. Let’s get some more fluids in you.” A light on the baby monitor was blinking. Had it always been blinking?
No. No fucking way.
“I hhhh….” Only hot air came out of me. That and something else.
“Ooops. Never mind! I felt that!” Janet chuckled. “How about I change you after snacks? Just in case?”
“Hhhhh…Yeah.” I said. “Sure.”
I couldn’t tell Janet that I hated her. I was having batshit dreams. I couldn’t even think of her as anything other than Janet and…and… and now the ‘educational’ baby monitor was blinking.
I was being mindfucked. Totally and completely mindfucked. There was some kind of sensor in that monitor that scanned and recorded my vitals and waited until I was in REM sleep to start pumping out subliminal messages to turn me into a drooling stupid doll. Me staying up so late was protecting me.
“Mommy,” I squeaked. Even my voice sounded better. “Can I please sleep with you tonight? In your bed?”
“I don’t know how comfortable I am with co-sleeping, Clark. I don’t want to accidentally roll over and hurt you in the middle of the night.”
Stoked by resentment and desperation, I wasn’t at my best yet, but I could still feel my mojo coming back to me. “Pweeeeease!”
“I don’t have a cot in my room,” Janet said. Then she got a look in her eyes. That classic, typical Amazon baby crazy look. “Yet. I don’t have one yet. I wonder if Babhub delivers this late.” She dug around her pants pocket for her phone. “It’s just a cot.” A cot wasn’t ideal, but better than the monitor. “We’ll see.”
I nuzzled into her. “Thank you…Mommy.”
I didn’t spend the night sleeping in a cot by Janet’s bed. Four o’clock on a Friday was just too late for whatever Amazon delivery company specialized in delivering baby furniture for spur of the moment Little abductions.
I did, however, sleep in Janet’s room. She went to the trouble of moving a playpen into her room and then decking it out with every spare pillow she could find.
I slept like the dead. Nice and dreamless, only waking up every one to three hours to make sure that some other bit of blasphemy hadn’t escaped from me or if I had to pee. Janet slept in the bed, wearing silk pajamas that I was positive she didn’t normally wear. She snored, too, but the rhythmic sawing actually helped me sleep. Since my poisoning and downfall this was the first night that I hadn’t slept alone.
I wasn’t here to be nice, however.
Saturday was one big nothing. Janet insisted that I take it easy and we just spend the day resting in doors. In truth, I needed it. Just because the source of the spasms had gone away didn’t mean my muscles weren’t still tired from all the shaking. At least she dressed me up in something besides my crinkling plastic padding.
Sunday was my opportunity and I took it.
“Whelp,” Janet clicked her tongue. “We’re here.” She didn’t have the same sing-song voice she did first thing in the morning. Not that I could blame her. No teacher wants to be at school on a Sunday morning. Papers still needed to be graded.
“In and out,” she said. “We’ll grab the papers and then go right back home.”
“Or,” I said. “I don’t mind if we do them here.”
Janet nibbled on her lip and looked at me from the rear view mirror. “I didn’t bring your diaper bag.”
“That’s okay. I’m dry.” I suppressed the blush that was coming. I was a grown-ass man. I shouldn’t have to be talking about the state of my so-called underwear. “It’ll be quicker if we do it here. Less for you to carry back and forth. Less chance you’ll forget something at home.”
“I’ll need to enter them into the gradebook too,” Janet said, sounding unsure.
“If I get too w…” I stopped and corrected myself. “Worst case scenario, I start to feel bad and we go home?”
Honestly, it didn’t matter where we graded the papers. This was more on the principle of getting Janet to do what I wanted. Get the giantess to listen more. To obey me.
“Come on, Janet.” I said. “Let me play teacher. It’s not like anybody is around to see.”
The sparkle in her eyes died a little bit. I probably should have called her ‘Mommy’ but that would have been laying it on too thick. If I used the M-word it’d become the default and expectation.
No. Janet wasn’t getting that unless she was good or I really wanted something.
I might not be able to say it out loud, but fuck that bitch.
I knew I’d won when Janet walked around, got me out of the car seat and took me by the hand instead of carrying me.
No one was around and her classroom was empty. The air conditioning didn’t run on the weekends, so it was more than stuffy inside. Good. I’d use that discomfort to mask any of the residual guilt I was feeling.
I stood in a chair, leaning over a student’s desk, two piles of papers presented in front of me. “It looks like the substitute still did the spelling quiz and the math test. Which do you want?”
My former friend didn’t flinch. “Okay,” she said. “You can start on one. I’ll grade the Science and Social Studies work and come back to help when they’re in the gradebook.” She caught herself. “If you still need help.”
A weak smile managed to show itself on my face. “I don’t think so,” I said. “If it’s spelled wrong, I mark it wrong. Same with math. I don’t need to know history or states of matter or whatever.” That seemed to make her feel better, an admission of ignorance.
Then, unholiest of unholy, she made the mistake of trusting me with a red sharpie. “Get to work,” she said. “Or play. Whichever.”
I took it, cordially, and did a tiny bow. “Thank you very much Ms. Grange.”
She reciprocated. “You’re very welcome Mr. Grange.” Then went over to her teacher’s desk so that she could grade and enter things into the school computer while I marked things down.
If I wasn’t already about to do something awful before…
My dirty deed took only slightly longer than an hour, all told. I breezed through the spelling tests, first. No calculations to do. No work to show. Used my best handwriting.
I was random too. Fair. As far as I could be. Every third paper I marked, I left alone and graded fairly. If they got all the spelling words right, they were given a hundred. If they made a mistake, I took my bright red marker and scratched out their misspelled words and then in my neatest, smallest, most precise handwriting I’d write the correct spelling of the word. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Technically, scratching out the wrong answer and writing the correct answer wasn’t the best method from a pedagogical standpoint. Yeah, the kids would see the correct spelling, but I was also robbing her massive third graders the opportunity to see what their mistakes were.
That was intentional.
By marking and correcting the real errors like that, it made it more plausible when I inked out a correctly written word and copied it next to its remains. The same happened with the Math tests, though only one out of five got ‘Gibsoned’ since I was intent on showing all my work and many of her students did their math in such chaotic margins that finding the answer- correct or otherwise- turned into a scavenger hunt.
The grade point average on these tests and all tests in the foreseeable future were going to slowly but surely go straight down the toilet. The real errors helped me with the forgeries. If not-so-little Kelly made a mistake like forgetting a silent e or thinking that the shorthand for pi was three point five instead of three point one four, then not-so-little Connor would make the same sloppy mistake. It was easier for teachers to believe that groups of their students were all struggling with the same concepts than to believe in complete randomness.
I shouldn’t be doing this, a tiny voice that almost sounded like me buzzed in my ear. These were just kids. Some of them had been my students. My babies all grown up. Even the ones that hadn’t been in my class were names I’d learned and belonged to faces that I’d seen around campus. They weren’t Janet. They weren’t Beouf or Brollish or Forrest or Madra or Skinner or Winters or Sosa or any of the other giant condescending authoritarian hypocrites in my life.
They were just kids.
Except they weren’t. They were Amazons. Living in an Amazon world with Amazon parents. Even the kids I’d helped and taught if they hadn’t directly turned on me had immediately accepted the ruination of my life as normal and natural. Three-hundred and sixty nonconsecutive days spread out over the course of two years wasn’t going to undo a lifetime of further indoctrination.
I couldn’t change the world for the better. I couldn’t even change my tiny corner of it. I could only make the Amazons in closest proximity to me have a more difficult life before the programming and mindfucking and gaslighting finally broke me down.
Fuck these kids. They’d get over it. Undeserved failure would only breed character in the long run.
“Finished?” Janet said, coming over from the computer. “Already?”
I grinned. “Yes, ma’am!”
“You really are such a fantastic helper!” I was dead inside so I didn’t flinch when she kissed me.
I sat down, pretending not to stare as Janet went over and entered the grades. “Russel?” she scoffed. “Really?” She shook her head and entered the grade the kid had ‘earned’. She turned over to another paper and kept typing. “Guess we gotta cover this again.”
Everything was going to plan. Janet was going to have a ‘rough batch’ this year of kids who just didn’t quite get what she was teaching. Especially if I was allowed to grade. More time in remediation meant less time covering new topics, and unneeded remediation and lowering grades would lead to frustration for the students. Frustration led to angry parents and kids acting out. None of it would come back to me. I’d even stopped from putting my initials down at the bottom corner. No proof would link this to me.
“Mommy,” I called out, distracting her. “Can I sleep in your room again?”
Janet yawned and dabbed her forehead with her sleeve. The stillness of the air was finally starting to get to her. “I don’t think so, honey. We’ve both got school tomorrow and need our rest.”
“Pleeeease!” There was no way I was going to sleep with that baby monitor again. Not if I could help it.
“We’ve been up late the last two nights and I don’t want you super tired in the morning.
I blinked. That’s right. Both Friday and Saturday night, Janet and I had gone to bed at the same time. She’d laid me down, then gone to the bathroom, changed into her pajamas and crawled underneath her comforter. I’d never considered that.
“What if the cot is delivered by tonight?”
“I still don’t want to wake you up when I come to bed.” Then she tacked on “Website says that the model I ordered is on backorder.”
“Maybe we can sleepover together next weekend.”
“No.” She wasn’t angry, but it was final.
‘Final’ was for quitters. “Pw-”
My blood froze with the stare she sent my way. Looks like I was out of luck.
I opened my mouth to tell her what I really thought of her, and stopped. No. I’d let her listen over the baby monitor like always. Stay up as late as I could until I passed out. Disrupt my own sleep and dreams and keep towing the line towards exhaustion and sickness.
Why stop a good thing that up until now had obviously been shielding me? If I played my cards right, I could trick her into getting actual sleep on Friday and Saturdays at the very least.
I brooded on it, staring and glaring at her while she played into my trap. Twenty minutes later the work was done and she was standing up and stretching. “Grading done. Now all I gotta do is plan for this coming week. We can do that at home.”
“We can stay here and do it.” I was just being obstinate. The warm stagnant air being heated by the sun wasn’t any more comfortable for me considering that I had a layer of plastic coating my nethers.
Janet was in no mood to deal with my nonsense. She picked me up and carried me. Like a baby. The game was now over for her. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s go home and eat some ice cream or something.”
“Okay.” I ceded. “Do we have any more of that goat’s milk?”
She smiled weakly. “No. I threw that carton out. I was afraid it was expired or something. We can get some more at the store if you like.”
“No thanks,” I said. “Just curious.”
“Come on,” she said. “It’s time to go.” As if I had any say in when or where we went.
She was right about one thing: It was go time, alright. She just hadn’t figured it out yet.