Flash in the Pan


A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Morning Routine Of A Suburban, Thirty-something Male


by Eric Wilder

Baby's awake.

I feed Baby.

Baby burps. Baby sleeps.

It's early morning, way too early.

Fingers jab the Web on a tablet. Politics. Sports. I'd like to watch a game. I'd like to watch a movie. Movies. Celebrities. Wardrobe Malfunctions? No! Politics. E-mail. Sports.

Dog makes a commotion. Does she want to poop or be fed? Fed. I've got time.

Politics. E-Mail. Wife and Daughter should be getting up soon. Coffee would be nice.

Clank! Clank! Clank!

Dog is licking her empty bowl. She's going to wake Baby!

"Quiet!"

I feed Dog. Wife and Daughter are not up yet.

E-Mail. Why aren't they up yet?

"Time to get up!"

Coffee beans grind. Water boils.

Dog jumps at the door. Outside air is cold. Stand at threshold. Leash tethers Dog. Dog relieves herself.

"Good girl."

Kettle whistles. Coffee steeps in the French press. I breathe in the aroma.

Good morning, Wife. "Here's your coffee."

Good morning, Daughter. "Get out of bed!"

Clothes go on. Yesterday's pants are good enough. Yesterday's shirt is good for now. Fresh socks are a must.

Deodorant goes under arms. Deodorant goes on the shirt? Shave. Bleed.

I need to feed Daughter.

"How about breakfast? Square cereal? Scrambled eggs? Toast? Yogurt? There's no time for pancakes. Square cereal? I said NO! Yogurt? Yogurt… French toast."

Eggs crack. Milk pours. Whisk. Whisk. Bread soaks. Sizzle. Sizzle. Slather syrup. Serve.

Wife has changed Baby. Baby still sleeps. I love Wife.

Lunch is packed while Daughter gorges. Objections to healthy choices are avoided.

Wife's getting ready for work.

Time to dress Daughter.

"Upstairs! Get your clothes on. I'm not carrying you."

Oh, my back!

"You can't wear that. It's too cold out. You can't wear that. It's not Halloween. It's this, this, or this. This one? Okay, that one. No, you're big enough to do it yourself. And put clean underpants on."

Coffee is cold. Half-eaten French toast? Toast. Bread. Carbs. Fat. Stop! Greek yogurt.

Shoes are on. Coat is on. Hat conceals bed-head.

Wife has tucked Baby in his carrier. Baby still sleeps. Wife's ready for work. Wife's fast.

"I love you."

Kiss. Kiss.

"Mom's leaving." Hugs. Okay, hair in a pony tail; no time to brush. Coat. Sneakers. Hat. Mittens. To the car. "No, Daddy's car. Mommy took hers to work. You can bring Lamby, but not into school."

Baby's carrier clicks into the backseat. Daughter's seatbelt is buckled. Garage door is open. Key is in the ignition. We're on the road.

Daughter wants music. "What song? Rumor Has It? Oh, Boomer Has It." Scroll. Select. Play. Come on, Play!

Police!

Phone is held low. Play. Raffi? Shit. "You used to like this. I can't change it now. I'll get pulled over."

Arrive at school. Park near entrance. Baby still sleeps. Car doors are locked. Other parents are avoided.

"Learn lots. Have fun. Hugs?"

Car tears out of parking lot.

Arrive at home.

Baby's carrier is placed on floor.

New coffee is brewed.

Pour.

Sip.

Baby's awake.

Eric Wilder has a career in advertising. He lives in suburban Rochester, New York with his wife and two children. He has published several short stories in prose and comic book format.

Twenty-eighth Flash


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