March 23, 2016 by RJ
Helen holds it in her arms. It coos, opens its hands, closes them. “Want to hold him,” she asks. I don’t correct her. I take it into my arms. I pretend to marvel over this alleged miracle of whiskey and two broken condoms.
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH
Neil cries when the clown crouches down. The clown honks its nose and Neil wails.
“He’s too young for this,” I say. “We shouldn’t have brought him here.”
Helen pulls the stroller away from the clown, turns it so the handlebar is within my reach. “You never want to do anything fun with him,” she says. I hear a whip crack, a lion roar in response. I cringe.
My father once held me over the lion habitat at the local zoo. He said it was so I could get a better look at them. I knew he wanted to feed me to them when his grip faltered for a moment. He put me down before my mother could catch him.
Pinpricks of blood emerge from beneath what’s left of the shaving cream on my left cheek. I soak the razor in the sink before taking another pass.
My father only shaved after we moved into a new place. I would watch him inspect what was left of his beard before he squeezed a dollop of shaving cream into his palm. He always made me scrub the bathroom sink after until there was nothing left.
Neil laughs when he sees toilet paper freckling my cheeks. He shakes his head after I offer to teach him how to shave.
J. BRADLEY is the author of the flash fiction chapbook, No More Stories About The Moon (Lucky Bastard Press, 2016), and the linked short story collection The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016). He lives at iheartfailure.net.