Monday, March 8, 2010
Blake is the kind of small baby anxious parents dream about accidentally drowning in the sink.
“Where is Blake this evening?” Inquires a friendly luncheon guest.
“Blake?” Mother raises a quizzical eyebrow as she swallows down a piece of quiche.
“My…?” She drops her fork to the floor as the realization falls upon her like a shroud. “My baby!” she cries as she springs from the table and rushes to the bathroom.
But it is too late.
Here is Blake, however, alive and…well, alive. Blake is one year old today and his mother has taken him to get his first professional photograph. She dresses him in a green sweater vest and khaki dress pants, visions of his future in the Ivy League dancing greedily behind her heavily made-up eyelids. Surely, he will grow into his cement-block-shaped head. Surely, that vein in his forehead which pulses with all the obscene ferocity of a demonic timepiece keeping the hour in Hell will disappear with age.
I find Blake on the sidewalk outside of the travel agency next to the bookstore. The picture is face down so all I can see is the jagged row of letters that spell out his name; it’s as if he scrawled it on there himself. I put this picture on my stash at work, and he comes to life.
“It’s my baby,” I tell everyone.
“What on Earth did you get into this weekend?” Asks British Steve.
“Clearly, the wrong person’s van,” I reply.
I try to pass Blake off to a coworker. I tape his picture up next to the swarm of photos she has of her six-month old Adonis.
She points at it immediately upon entering the break room. “Who the hell’s baby is this?”
I throw up my hands in defeat. “Foiled again!”
“And where is Blake this morning?” Someone asks as we price books.
“I left him in the car with the windows rolled up,” I say.
“And what is Blake up to today?”
“He’s locked in the closet with seven feral cats I haven’t fed in a week.”
“You know,” my shift leader grows concerned, “that is a real child you are talking about. That is someone’s baby.”
“I know.” I sigh. “I pity them every day.”
My shift leader has a difficult time understanding that when I speak of Blake, I am talking about a fiction, an unlovable baby who has the unfortunate look of a young Ben Grimm. The real Blake could be anyone, he could have any number of lives, he could be any age. My Blake is alone, he is immortal, he is always one year old.
“What are you up to this Saturday?”
I am going to feed my cat and watch porn until two in the morning.
“I am going to take Blake to the zoo and see if they will keep him.”
It’s a much more interesting life, with Blake around.