collage by smith

textbook times by s b smith


I’m lost in a reverie. I’ve just looked at a high school friend’s site, and she’s posted pictures of her giggle of a girl. I imagine it’s joyful to watch a wiggle grow up, but it would be a totally different life. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. My main concern would be the child.

Smith and I can’t have children. He had a vasectomy shortly after his first marriage.

“Whatcha thinkin?” he asks.

“Oh, I’m just sitting here thinking about kids and what it’d be like if I had them.”

“Well, I don’t know. You’d have to write me about it, because I wouldn’t be here. Unless, of course, you could have the kids for just a week — if we were selling them.”

I say, “Well, some people do that. Rich women who are sterile or don’t want to get fat — they have someone else carry their kid.”

“And frequently the surrogate mothers run off with the kid. I guess it’s hard to carry a baby and then give it away.”

“We could try that,” I say.

“Yeah, and if you were pregnant, every day, I’d ask you, is it ready to eat yet?” He likes to joke that babies belong in soup cans or cages.

The sun floods in unexpectedly.

Smith comments, “That’s anti-Heisenberg sunshine. It only comes if you don’t expect it. And it won’t be there if you go out and count on it.”

Then, “We could have ovary beads instead of rosary beads we could sell to the fertility clinics. Instead of holding rosaries, they’d hold little ovaries and say the fertility prayer 17 times.”

“I love you,” I say. “You’re cool.”

“Yes, we’ll have a service where we rent cool people to parties. We’ll say, ‘We’ll rent you two cool people for your parties.’ And then we’ll go ourselves.”

“Airfare included,” I say.

“And drug fare.”

“And fanfare.”

He shifts in his seat. “You know, we could probably remove these testicles ourselves.”

“Yeah,” I say. “We knew how to change the bike tire. Now we can do anything. We could do your testicles too.”

“You know,” he says, “We could do it with rubber bands, like what we used to do on the farm. On a calf on the farm they put the rubber band up above his testicles, really tight, to cut off all the blood flow. Everything past the rubberband withers and dies. After a couple weeks, you just cut them off, snip.”

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