Spotter Baby: Short Fiction by W.A. Coleman
By W.A. Coleman
Here I am burpin’ up butterfly swirls because it’s t-minus super soon till we'll be outta here in a hurry, and though they’s the happy antsy’s I’m feeling, they's still the antsy's none-the-less and that can kinda wear on a girl of my make. So I start flashin my baby some nervous pitifuls hoping he’ll catch on and cure my ill. Then he smiles big at me and winks at me because he’s snagged my woes at first glance, and he don't say nothin’ to me, he jus stares at me with a pair a eyes that are just twinklin’ silly with them "be alright’s", and then, jus like that, I'm all good again and I'm giggling at myself and shaking my head at my own self for even bein’ nervous in the first place because my baby spots rides like nobody's business. My baby jus radiates the been there, done that’s because he ain’t lyin. He’s been ta places you wouldn't believe, places you couldn’t believe. Sayin my baby’s a traveler just don’t do him justice.
Our little honeymoons started up here at this little roach nest motel right outside Tulsa. It's the one where the “M” in the big motel sign’s been flickering whacky ever since we was little, but that don't matter none. It don't need to be classy. This is jus our launchin’ sight. All it needs is a good roof, a squishy bed and a place for us ta rest up, clean up and get us our wits so we can head out.
I ask my baby if he wants mustard on his bologna but he just says he wants me instead. I can’t believe we jus got married. I smile at him with sparkle and he smiles back at me with shine and then he looks so cleaned up and razor cute in that poorly fitted tux and his hair parted all sharp like some bible man, and he's like this 007 sexy. I put mustard on his sandwich anyway because I know he'd eat mustard with a spoon if he could. I'm careful not ta get any of it on my wedding dress because it was my nana’s wedding dress. I can't believe I'm skinnier than my nana was.
I walk over and that paper plate is bowing from that hardy sandwich I made him and I sit on his lap. I tell him that I just want ta wear my wedding dress a little bit longer. He tells me to wear it all night if I want to. He then reaches out and rubs on my ear the way he does and I push my face inta his big, warm hands. His callouses scratch up my cheek the way they always do, but in a good way. His hands are all ugly worn and band-aid wrapped but they’re beautiful because they’s honest man's hands; they’s my man's hands.
He tells me that it's too big a sandwich and we need ta split it. I tell him I'm not really hungry anyway but he tells me that havin’ a little somethin’ on ya tummy is probably better than nothin’, but ridin’ lean and light is still the best way ta ride.
“ My baby spots rides like something brilliant,” I'm thinking ta myself while gazing at him with awe in my eyes. I'm jus sittin’ here in this squeaky chair catching my wobbles with twitch and smiling silly, while watchin’ him do his thing. He told me earlier that if we was willing ta ride away hungry, we'd get there quicker and he wasn't lyin, at least for me, cause it's only been minutes and he's already a movin, man-shaped blur.
I tell him with giggles and slur that he's married ta me now and that means he's all mine now and then he quips back with something along them lines of, “Some things never change.”
I guess he's right because I've been tellin’ him that hes's mine ever since we was 11 years little, and that toe headed ho Linda Ashley was pining.
I can see him grinning at me through his smeared face as he's workin’ hard at strippin’ them motel sheets off and dressing up that borrowed bed with our very own bedding, layering all them far away smells with those familiar scents and those familiar softs and familiar colors. I know now why he does some of the things he does. He used ta tell me why all the time, but I never truly gathered it until I started riding with him a lot. Sometimes all it takes is a certain familiar smell or color that helps ya gather your bearings if ya start spinnin’ outta control or it can help ya find your way back if ya ever get lost.
He finishes makin’ up the bed and he shed his clothes and takes my hand and helps me get undressed and then guides me to the shower. We’re naked and the water is this tepid chilly. I wanna turn it up to hot, but he won't let me. He tells me that creatin’ some chilly will stave off those riding queasies, and then I look at him all close, my hubby, mine all mine, my eyes shape shiftin’ ta hearts.
"Look you,.. all spottin my ride like pro." Then we kiss as all that chilly-ness rains down on us, I hear what sounds like the sky growlin’ with thunder. I ask him all muffled, while my lips are still semi pressed ta his, “That what I think it is?” He tells me that it's supposed ta storm something fierce all night and my grin stretches, and I hug him tight because he's still so warm ta the touch.
I get out and I'm woozy but woozy good. It's chilly and I'm still too woozy to dry my hair so I just sit on the edge of the bed in my pink robe, and peak through my wet, dripping hair with some groggy delight. I watch my baby's skinny bum naked reaching with stretch and draping one of them thick n" slick, soft cheap motel comforters over that big, thinly curtained picture window. He stuffs the top in the curtain rod and the sides in the window sill and it's already eclipsin’ most of the light in the room.
He then comes over and dries my hair for me. I'm holding my brush in my hand like I don’t know what to do with it because I’m slippin in zombie land, so he takes it and brushes my hair for me. I love it when he brushes my hair for me.
He helps me take my robe off and then he pulls back them covers and guides me in that soft familiar, and it smells like home. He turns off the lights so it's pitch black perfect. The rain’s really startin’ ta come down and the sky's mad-dogging this constant low growl and now I'm startin ta talk ahead a my mouth, and I can hear my mouth lagging behind and now I'm soundin nuttier than a squirrel turd, and then I start ta laugh and I can hear him laughin at my laugh and now I’m doin the breast stroke in them covers. Swimming in all that homemade soft is jus heaven.
He tells me that I feel warm as he’s feelin my head like he’s some doctor or something. I was chilly before but I'm warmin up in a hurry and he detects this and pulls the blanket off me, exposing my naked ta that chilly air and it sharpens my titties ta spear tips. I go for the blanket, but he doesn't let me and instead starts rubbing his big warm hands all over me and now he's whisperin to me in my ear that he wants to keep my chilly forever warming. He’s trying ta get me in that sweet spot between too cold and too warm, and his warm breath is doing it right and I'm getting all goosy and then he starts ta kiss my neck and my chest and his mouth is warm and soft and better than ever. Then he starts sucking my titties and his tongue feels almost hot and I know that If I wanted to right now, without even climbing there, I could come, but I've chosen to hold off and gather up that pressure.
He then moves down between my legs and he starts ta eat me this real, sloppy- slow-hungry, jus like I like it, and his mouth has never felt warmer, and never felt better or wetter and then suddenly my coming hits me like some Sunday sucker punch, cheap shotting me silly and now I’m in orbit because I didn't have any time ta brace for it, and it's continuin ta batter me clench-less, and it's pelting me with this goddamn gorgeous like something otherworldly and I'm trembling and bridging because sometimes ecstasy is jus too much. Now I'm screaming like something poltergeist and it's like my flex is jus outta reach, it's jus outta reach, and if I could only get to it, I could shield some of the gorgeous, I could regulate some of this goddamn gorgeous, but my baby's pleasures gone brutal. It's gone mad, and he’s not giving me a chance ta catch up. I can hardly breathe. I’m suffocating on the gorgeous because he's eatin me like starving, he's eating me to death and now I think I’m dying because I can feel my eyes open, but my sight closing. Then the darkness commits ta nothin.
I wake up with the “oh my gods” set on repeat and I play that phrase out in my head until I’ve tired it out for life, and then I give up on it because it’s not like the words are even doing justice ta what I'm feeling now, ta where he's taken me now, because it feels like when he made me come, he put me atop my own peak and left me there, and now my comin’ is a constant, and it’s stuck, and this is meltin me silly and I’m like this subtle seizure, this putty-paralyzed, and I lie here and I can feel my baby near, but I can’t see him no more. I call out to him and tell him that it’s all too much, it’s all too much, but my words, they’re comin out shapeless, just soft whimpers. Then I start getting a bit panicky and I’m gaspin heavy because our flesh and our bloods ain’t ever been meant for this kind a holy buzz. But my spotter baby reads my whimpers like somethin uncanny, and I feel his grip on my wrist, my anchor to that world. Then his voice begins coming through in soft whispers, and I hear him tellin me ta breathe deep and ta stop fighting what can't be fought and what shouldn't be fought, and ta stop running and just relax in the ride and let it take you wherever it wants, and I trust my spotter baby more than anything, and so I commit to the ride. I relax and go all passenger like, and then my sight begins ta fade back in. I look up and gaze at my baby looking down on me with careful watch, the man that's brought me ta this joy with plan and care. And then I realize that he’s stayed sober. I can see it in his eyes. He’s doin’ it because he wants ta be the best spotter he can be for me and all I can think about is how much I love him, and how long I’ve loved him. He's strokin my hair, and I'm starting to cry like mad because this coming is endless and now too much is just perfect because I already decided to drown in it and now, I’m soakin in it. I watch him with saucer eyes; leaking eyes that want so bad ta float away into my head but I hold them still cause I want ta witness him a bit more, and watch him as he’s strokin my hair. He's crying too and smiling down at me because he knows where I am and he knows what I’m feelin, and he’s so happy he got me here. And here I am, this naked gimped, this naked helpless, and I'm open and I’m wide and I'm wet and his ravage is there for him if he wanted, if he was so inclined; my hurt and my heart is there for him ta crush if he wanted, but that's not him. Not his soul in a thousand lives. And so I watch him, the way he treats me when I’m at my weakest, the way he touches me with that delicate fragile, while kissing me so gently, like I’m something so sacred, like I’m something holy, like I’m someone dying, and then he looks down on me like I’m his everything, and I feel it. I can feel his love and it breaks me.
I wake as this spectator of me now, of us and I’m running on this goddess, all knowing buzzed, this immortal energy. I float in hover and observe us, or now, them, and I watch her with him lying in a swaying cradle while drugged a gimp limped. Her eyes are wide like tea plates but empty and blind and long gone.
I watch him as he blows these gentle cooling breezes across her flushed face and beading forehead, while stroking her hair. Soon her skin begins to goose with response and her empty gaze rises from the dead with the flickers of the conscious. She looks up at him from her swaddle and smiles weakly while letting out this sweet pitiful moan. He kisses her tranquilized lips and begins to rub his big hands across her roughened, prickly chilly.
I then begin to try to recall the feeling of his hands, of that dragging, scratchy and smooth-less rough. That uncomfortable comfort that I loved so much, but I can no longer imagine the pain that long ago once was. I feel too far now and then I begin to worry because without the pain, what am I? And suddenly the room stretches and expands like something cosmic, like something big bang, and now I look at us, at them, and I realize that my fears are coming true, and now they are these faint twinkling stars, this ancient light that most likely lived and died long ago.
I try to shake off the buzz, the gorgeous, the painless, the incredible that is now beginning to feel only numbness. I miss home, and I miss him and I miss us and I miss the clench and bracing that was us against the pain and the agony that was home, and so I call out ta the lord and I ask the lord ta help guide me back home, but he is deaf to my pleas as usual and I should know better. But then I feel this cool breeze begin to roll over me and I know it’s my baby. I look up and smile and call out my baby’s name and he responds with an artic breeze that begins to chill me to the bone. I begin ta tremble with glee and then I arch and wince with smile as this wave of immense nausea rots my stomach through and I want to cry with joy because I know he’s found me now. I double over with a purging of something so vile the taste of it rallies my purge with constant. I puke until I am broken and exhausted and defeated and mortal again. As I sit up in wobble, I begin to feel my baby’s arms, his thin but wiry strong arms noosing around my body tightly. I let out a sigh of relief and fall into him, into his cradle. I relax into him and relish in his smell and that post puking high.
I come to in his arms, on the bathroom floor with the taste of the upchuck on my tongue. He’s draped my chilly with a pink motel bath mat and the sounds of the just recently flushed toilet is a soothing sound. I look up at him and he’s smiling silly. My lips wiggle a bit because for a moment, I feared that I’d never seen him, but he looks at me with sweet and calm and he shakes his head like he knows the exact flavor of my frets.
“I had ahold of ya the whole time.” He says with a big grin and some cocky.
I smile back.
W.A Coleman is a freelance writer based out of Tulsa, Ok. His work has been featured in Gone Lawn, Thrice Fiction, The Evergreen Review, Houston Literary, 3 am Magazine, Crack the Spine, Typehouse and many more. His first collection entitled Wound and Suture (Montage Press) was published in 2014.
The following discussion has been provided by the author
For some, sobriety can become a kind of fetish, where these righteous identities are created. The feeling of being grounded, or of always being in control becomes a badge of honor. While there's nothing inherently wrong with this, oftentimes it breeds a sense of superiority and this is where problems can occur.
The truth is there is beauty in inebriation too, and originally it was my intent to show this.
It can take you places farther away than you could ever imagine. Farther than you could get on your own. Although I believe my story touches on some of the beauty of riding that perfect wave, the story took a turn from its original intent and evolved into a love story. The immense love and trust the narrator has for her husband quickly overshadows the rest of the story. She clearly sees her husband not only as her soul mate, but as an experienced and masterful travel guide, so to speak. A person that has gotten her there and back many times before; a person she clearly trusts with her life. This young, poor couple spoke to me, and the bond they shared made it seem as if they were sharing the same soul.
Or maybe no one spoke to me. Maybe I was just really fucked up when I wrote it.