The Kids Are Cute AF Though

by Dan Tremaglio

A perfect cat dad and top-rated uncle, you’re well on your way to making a subpar father. It’s three in the morning and your week-old daughter sounds like an eagle hunting a rodent the size of your brain in an electric canyon in Hades. You’ve slept as many hours in two weeks as days she’s been alive and yet you cannot legally be pissed at an infant and so you’re pissed at your own stupid self for being pissed at an infant instead. The main thing here is that she doesn’t rouse her twin brother because then you would have to go wake your wife and crack in half those three precious hours you gifted her to sleep. There’s only one trick that works in a situation like this and it is to plunge your finger into that gaping gummy gothic mouth. Doing so reminds you of a college girlfriend whose roommate came home from an internship in the E.R. one day to tell you how she’d spent the previous hour with her pointer finger buried in a gunshot wound. An occasional Catholic and all-time prude, the roommate would often complain of the sounds you and your girlfriend broadcasted from this space, but right now she’s shameless, aroused even, jabbering in the doorway in her aqua scrubs about the arc of fluids in the O.R. light and the surgeon’s order to plug that leak and how she could feel the man’s heart gyrating along the length of her finger, the two of you smirking at her from beneath the knotted sheet. Your girlfriend had taken the morning-after pill the morning after your first night together and from then on went on that other kind of pill, the morning-before type. You googled her name for the first time in decades not long after your wife got pregnant. An obituary popped up. The cause of death wasn’t mentioned, only that she died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family. She had two kids. A facebook friend reported that pills were involved. Time collapses like this a lot during these owl pellet mornings. You’re so tired you don’t think you’re you anymore. Everything seems part of a pattern that sounds simple but feels anything but, something about cycles and inevitable disappointment. You text everyone who asks that the twins are cute af and smell really good and holy shit you’re fried. Your daughter spits your finger out and howls an extra ring around Saturn and now her brother is born again and you know you’re doomed exactly the way your parents were, exactly the way every strand of DNA forever will be. The kids are cute as fuck though.

Dan Tremaglio is the author of Half an Arc & Artifacts & Then the Other Half (Mint Hill Books/Main Street Rag)a finalist for the 2022 Indie Book Award for the Novella. His stories have appeared in numerous publications, including F(r)iction, Gravel, Cirque, and Flash Fiction Magazine, and twice been named a finalist for the Calvino Prize. He lives in Seattle where he teaches creative writing and literature at Bellevue College and is a senior editor for the journal Belletrist.