I cannot goddam believe it, but I'm actually trying to talk Lary into having a baby. Not with me, Jesus God, get that out of your head. I mean with his perfectly normal (sorta) girlfriend, Kung Fu Kitty, who is young, beautiful, fertile as a little sperm whale and -- here's the important part -- actually wants to brave the invasion of his teeming seed upon her body. If you ask me, that right there is akin to allowing yourself to be attacked by a pool of piranha.
But, you know, it's not my body. It's hers, and Lary is damn lucky if you ask me. Until now, I was not at all positive Lary was a real human, but rather an adulterated version of a human being instead, like maybe he was an Egyptian jester living out his second century under an evil curse or something. His teeth are not pointed, but he smiles at you as if they were, and his face looks like it's made out of iguana hide -- not that he's ugly. No, he's oddly handsome in a weathered, British-rocker-with-a-bad-haircut kinda way -- but that doesn't mean he's human.
Then I got a strange e-mail from someone claiming to be his sister, and she professed to have, in her actual possession, actual photographs of Lary as an actual baby, proving not only that Lary has mostly human DNA but that he was once, like, young.
"Jesus Christ! Gimme those pictures! Gimme gimme gimme," I shrieked at her (so much as you're able to shriek at someone over e-mail), and after 20 attempts, she forwarded me a file, which for some reason I'm not able to actually open, but regardless it affords me "thumbnail" viewings of the photographs inside. Upon perusal I must say, without sarcasm, that Lary was quite an adorable little sprogette back before he grew scales. Hence my reversal of conviction regarding any fruit of his rickety loins. "Give her the baby, you greedy, moss-eaten bag of crap," I told him yesterday.
"Whore," he responded, "babies make good parting gifts, and that's about it."
He'd been working in Chicago for the past couple of weeks and I was happy to see him, which explains the high level of warmth between us that day, but way back when Lary had first mentioned there was a person willing to incubate his offspring, none of us believed him. As someone who's actually spawned, I personally couldn't fathom anyone wanting to infect herself like that. Who knew what that embryo would be capable of? For example, Lary occasionally awakens from amnesia-addled fugues to find himself surrounded by complicated industrial scaffolding erected in his living room. "How'd this get here?" I'll ask. "I must have put it up," he responds, spent LSD molecules emanating from his pores.
So if he can erect buildings in his sleep, his kid could probably MacGyver its way out of its mother's womb by fashioning pliers from a few half-digested cantaloupe seeds or something. Seriously. Knowing Lary and how he hates to be trapped, I figured it'd be two months tops before the Lary part of the poor zygote ripped its way out of there Alien-style, of that I was sure. So of course I couldn't believe anyone would willingly risk that. But then here comes Kung Fu Kitty, who is tougher than any of us put together, including (and especially) Lary. She's tiny, but I wouldn't look at her wrong if I were you. There are rumors about people who have, and rumor says it'll be a few months yet before these people can feed themselves unassisted again. Granted, most of those rumors are spread, proudly, by Lary, but still. The point is this: She's tough.
"Give her the baby, you bovine," I told him.
"I've gotten this far in life," Lary smiled, "why fuck up the final stretch?"
Keiger, who was there, agreed with Lary a little too wholeheartedly, if you ask me. In fact, it's hilarious the way guys in general pretend not to want kids at all, while at the same time maintaining they're inherently incapable of fidelity because they are genetically predisposed to fuck around in order to, that's right, propagate the species.
I'm not too hard on them, though, because parenthood was never a conscious goal of mine, either. But then my girl came like a comet out of nowhere, and every day I fall to my knees to thank the cosmic card dealer who played this lovely little joke on me. Even Keiger loves her with a wholeness of heart he probably didn't know he had. The other day, she rode a two-wheeler in front of him for the first time and looked, for a second, in his opinion, to have come a little too close to traffic. Understand, she did not veer off, but for a second, like a flick that was immediately corrected, she gave the impression that she would, and to this day Keiger grabs his heart when he thinks about it. To this day, he won't ride bikes with us unless hers is attached to mine.
I get it. It's not for everybody, watching the things you love grow legs of their own, maybe veer off, maybe disappear into traffic. I grab my heart almost every minute of every day. The pain is unfathomable. The pain is amazing. You have to be tough.
Hollis Gillespie is the author of Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories and Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood. Her commentaries can be heard on NPR's "All Things Considered."