Newborn

About a week ago, my wife gave birth to a goblin. I’m disappointed.

When it came out, I asked the doctor to look again to see if there was a boy still in there. “Look near the back,” I said, remembering my father’s tip on how to find good milk in the supermarket. The doctor didn’t answer, but gave me a sympathetic smile. This must happen all the time.

It doesn’t look like how I imagined a goblin to look, but I know that it definitely is one. My father had a couple of things he used to say: “True love can surprise you”, “2-for-1 on bread is an liar’s bargain” and “When it’s a goblin, you’ll know.” The thing looks normal; filthy and squealing like a disconsolate flesh peanut. But I knew.

I knew.

Early next morning, as my wife slept, I silently approached his hospital cot. I looked down at it, and it looked up at me, tiny mouth slightly open. I took it in my arms and held it close to me, chubby cheek to cheek.

“I know what you’re doing,” I whispered. “Unlike you, I wasn’t born yesterday. Now, are we going to have a problem?” It responded by vomiting on me. “Well then,” I replied. “Loud and clear.”

My wife has insisted we bring it home. She’s been very unreasonable about all this and has rebuffed all my offers to drive it out to the woods and bury it, even though she knows how much I hate driving.

She wants to give it a name, but I fear this will bind it to our mortal world. She said:

“What about your father’s name?”

“NOT HIS NAME,” I screamed into the wooden prison we bought for it at the Early Learning Centre, but it just started to laugh at me. What does it know about my beautiful dad?

My wife also demands that I feed it. I have killed a pig and left it by the wooden prison. It is a big pig. It should last at least four moons.

Despite my best efforts, I’ve had no luck convincing my wife that she has birthed a goblin. My wife’s lack of trust is alarming. I flicked holy water right in its face and it started to cry. What more proof does she require?!

“I’m starting to get really scared” she said.

“Correct!” I cried, flicking more holy water on the treacherous shrieking beast, but she just picked the thing up and ran out of the room.

I should have seen this coming. They’ve been in conference for nine months after all, sharing secret umbilical thoughts, swapping dark lies across a scheming placenta. It has bewitched my lovely wife, and in kind, she feeds him white liquor from her duplicitous teats. “No,” I shouted, slapping her nipples from its mouth. “They are not for you, Beast!!”

She shouted back “We must feed him!”

“IT HAS NOT TOUCHED ITS PIG!” I bellowed. I am outnumbered here.

I have taken to sleeping in the garage, something my wife has not argued against. There is petrol in the garage, and rags. I have everything I need, but I couldn’t do bring myself to light the flame. I called my father. With his blessing, I thought, perhaps I can find the courage to do what must be done.

I explained it all to him, hoping for his reassurance and tips on how best to burn down a house, but he just laughed.

“Oh my dear boy,” he said. “Of course he’s a goblin. So are you!”

My heart nearly stopped, and I dropped the jerry can I was holding.

“What?” I said.

“Knew it soon as looked at you. Tiny little goblin, you were.” he said. “Of course, my first instinct was to drive into the woods and bury you.”

Oh Dad, I thought. I do love you.

But I thought, ‘you know what? Give it a few years. See what happens. I can always bury it later.’ And over the years I taught you to walk upright, taught you our language, taught you not to hunger for human flesh.”

I suddenly had a flashback to my childhood. So many dead pigs.

“But, Dad,” I said, looking back towards the house, where I could just about hear my wife singing to it a sweet, soothing melody. “I’m scared.”

“You’d be a damn fool not to be,” he responded. “Now go and teach your goblin not to kill.”

I hung up and walked back into the house. My wife had her back to me, holding the baby close as she sang. I could see its eyes peering over her shoulder at me. We held each other’s gaze. I nodded to it, a peace offering. Then it vomited on my wife.

Well then, I thought. This isn’t going to be easy.

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