Child’s Play – SHORT STORY

stuffed animals fallen over

...I PEEKED IN the bedroom door, checking on them as I waited for the eggs to boil.
Anabelle had left Jenny with me and my little tyke, both too young for school, a shock waiting to happen in the fall.
Consistent with the times, my boy was name-neutral, like a Native American he would earn his title, something grander sounding than ‘It’ or ‘You’.
I loved It. His adorable mess of brown hair, pudgy features and button nose. My eyes. My wifes hair. Not literally.

He could be anything he wants when he’s older. As long as it’s being a doctor. That joke grew old. But there was a disturbing determination in my wifes voice, a look in her eyes that said she was serious.
The eggs! I left the kids to it, surrounded by a myriad of stuffed animals; blonde Jenny and It.

I turned the hob off then remembered. Allergies. What if Jenny was gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant? What if she was on the Atkinsons, or a low glycaemic diet!
I poked my head around the corner once more. “Jenny..” I began. Then noticed she was sitting arms crossed, pouting.
It looked at me, that slightly vacant look kids have, their minds still not scrambled, harsh realities still several years away at best.
I noticed all the stuffed toys had fallen over.
“Why are all the animals on their sides?”
Jenny piped up angrily. “He said they died!”
“Is that true?”
It nodded enthusiastically. “There was a airborne viwus and it wiped out all the adimals!” He gestured with a sweeping motion to illustrate his realistic but grim point. I refrained from correcting him on pronounciation.
“Remember, play nice!”
I looked at Jenny. “You can bring them back to life!” She smiled and looked defiantly at my kid, propping a tiger on its feet.

I disappeared to make lunch. Egg mayonaise, some scarcely edible cress, between some multigrain bread. I forgot to ask Jenny about allergies.

I didn’t quite make it to the door before hearing the following sentence. “I’m doctor It! It’s time for your abortion!”
Oh dear.
Entering the room I saw my son holding a coat hanger, towering over Jenny who looked terrified. Well, she should have been. She looked confused and a bit irritated instead.

“Jenny do you have any allergies?” She looked at me dead on, and shot a hand out, the finger undoubtably pointing at It. Witty. Slightly offensive however. That was my son.

Something caught my eye beyond her, next to the bed, an unfamiliar book. I walked over, stepping around the toys, and reached under the bed, pulling a hard cover book out: ‘Obstetrics and Gynecology for Dummies’.
I smiled. Never too young to learn. Maybe my wife was right.

.

lion around 2

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