He sat at the table holding the baby. She seemed only slightly younger than the black girl that flashed into his meager consciousness with each blink. Black, all bright teeth and big eyes looking up at them in confusion. He could still see the bows in three pigtails. The left one red, the middle one blue, the right one green. He couldn’t imagine how colors could be so bright.

The baby squirmed and grunted to get down. He put her on the dirty tiles and watched as she half walked and half crawled toward the front room. Beyond the darkness of the toy cluttered room he could see his wife bent over the sink washing her hair. She was naked from the waist up. Her heavy milk-filled breasts hung freely against the cold porcelain. Hardly the fancy dancer she wanted to be when they were high school sweethearts.

He picked up his beer and stepped into the darkened room. He stood there. The baby gooed and clucked as she explored the darkness with her hands and mouth. Tonight. She knew better than to beg off three nights running. The afternoon seemed far away. He stumbled forward.

I growed up po and ignant in Alabama. Then I went off to college and became a socialistic atheistic business school grad with an MBA. Not wanting to add evil capitalistic bastard to my resume, I obtained an antidote degree -the MFA. What a difference a letter makes. Now I teach college and make art. That's more fun and I'm less prone to drift toward the dark side. So, at the advanced age of sixty.... I have chosen mind over matter, joined the League of Defensive Pessimists and have no better answers, only fewer questions.

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