by DANIELLE RESH
Baby Toss by Shane Gorski | Flickr
I would not advise it, but if you happen to find yourself irrevocably in the position of having to care for one of the horrid things, there are a few techniques you should be aware of beforehand.
When you place your pointer finger on the structure protruding from its face and intone “bop!”, a small squealing sound will emerge. Now, you can either repeat the provoking action and achieve the desired effect again, or you can leave it alone in its highchair and go fix yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
If you choose the latter, expect the following:
It will begin as a small squeaking noise. Then, like a train chugging closer, the screech will grow and grow until it is all you can hear. An abyss will swallow its face. If you peer in, you will see a black hole, and maybe a few cheerios.
An unfortunate design flaw, it carries no buttons or switches or even a “power-off” option. Proceed by trial and error.
Input: applesauce, milk, what they call a “binky.” Pat its backside.
After analyzation, you can calculate the material and quantity of the following input.
If none of the inputs succeed in plugging the contraption, you may have to switch tactics. The following method is not recommended if you can avoid it, in protection against dangers which will be addressed later. Proceed with caution.
Pick it up from the highchair, taking special care not to scrape the two chubby hot dogs dangling down from its center. Orient it in various positions and configurations until the sound ceases.
Don’t cradle it sideways, as you would a football, or else its lips will pucker into a tight “O” and it will look up expectantly at you, waiting for you, like a cow, to begin exporting milk.
Remember-- you are not a cow. You are not a milk factory.
If reconfiguring it does not work, you may need to make yourself into a popcorn popper, or a bouncy ball pit. Imagine a teakettle whistling on the stove, water particles steaming the glass top. Mimic the particles, bouncing up, up, up until the sound stops.
Eventually, you will have to transport it to Dreamland.
Stand with it in your arms, rocking side to side like a sumo wrestler preparing for battle. It might open and close its mouth as it is readying for sleep. You might look at it and suddenly notice its little button nose, its cheeks flushed pink, its tiny, fluttering eyelashes. It might reach up to grasp your finger, and you will look at the tiny digits curled around yours and think for a moment that when you return this one to its rightful owner, you might consider acquiring one of your own. Don’t--this is the true danger--and if you choose to forgo this warning and travel down that path, there is no instruction manual which can assist you then.
Danielle Resh is an avid writer and creative writing teacher based in Houston, Texas. Her poetry has been published in the Sunlight Press, Hevria Magazine, the Jewish Literary Journal, Poetica, and Valiant Scribe. She is currently seeking publication for her novel about a small Jewish town in 1800s Poland whose Torah begins miraculously growing. Her manuscript was recognized as the winning historical fiction manuscript of the Writers’ League of Texas’ 2020 Manuscript Contest and as a finalist in the science fiction/fantasy category. More information about her work can be found at www.danielleresh.com.