Saturday 18 June 2022

'Finding Claymore' by Bethany Browning

I was late to pick T-Dog up at the airport and I got there as fast as I could so he wouldn’t be in a sour mood. He hates standing around. Thinks folks are staring at him on account of his eyepatch.

Probably should’ve done that drive-by thing, but last time I fetched T-Dog after one of his weekends in Branson I got a ticket for malingering. Making T-Dog walk 100 yards with his rollie bag might tee him off, but I’d rather pay the two dollars for short-term than the seventy-five I got charged because he missed his flight.

I was rehearsing this logic in my head as I exited my truck.

I heard a strange sound, like a rabbit being clubbed, coming from the direction of a Toyota Tercel.

My knees popped as I knelt down to look underneath. The wail was coming from a live, human baby.

Did some terrified girl give birth to this baby on the way to catch a flight, and now she’s a mile over Kissimmee, washing down pretzels with a half-can of Canada Dry?

There wasn’t much to do but scoot him out of there. Slimy little thing. Nubbin of an umbilical cord that looked chewed off.

I experienced an upwelling of emotion. Looking into this baby’s eyes made me feel things. Reckless, yet responsible.

Tick-tock went the clock, and if I thought T-Dog would be in a fit before, showing up with little Claymore here would guarantee a whooping. Or at least a vigorous hair-pulling.

I took off my T-shirt, wrapped Claymore in it, and secured him on my lap under my seat belt.

Me in my bra and Claymore in my shirt, we zoomed off toward my Ma’s in Clearwater. I hear the schools are pretty good there.

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