Our town had become overrun with men dressed like babies. You would see them in the shadows. Even in the cold. They are not unlike the clowns of Exeter. They spread out on all fours. They weigh from one hundred to two hundred pounds.
I met one baby in a storm in the parking lot. At first I thought he was a fist. He was naked except for white underwear. There was a man in black watching from the rain in the alleyway. Presumably, this was the mother.
I ran to the baby and the man in black ran away.
Even cross-legged, the man was enormous. Rain pooled in his lap.
This is embarrassing for me, he said.
I don’t live far from here.
The sky was horrible.
It’s been an emotional day for me, he said.
We parked outside a castle.
The gateman opened an umbrella for me, which I understood was not to be shared with the baby.
The butler suggested I stay over.
I was provided with clothes, as was the baby.
When we emerged, we were matching.
Everyone is born from a baby, he said.
He lifted up his shirt and showed me his underside. I hadn’t noticed it before. It was a baby under his arm, its face and hands under his skin, as if fossilized inside him.
I backed away.
No, he said.
He took my hand—his hands were smooth—and he pressed my fingers to the baby. I felt the beat of its heart in the pads of my fingers. It turned and moved like a snake. It pushed its hands up and spread its ten fingers to feel the tips of my five.
I am a dutiful man, a good brother, he said.
In the morning, I left with the storm. I stopped my car at the bottom of the hill.
The damage from the flooding was obvious.
Who would take care of me now?
Robert Eversmann works for Deep Overstock. His website is roberteversmann.com.