A Burnt Offering

Urology“Take off your pants,” she said, “lie down, and cover yourself with this sheet.”

“Okay,” I said. The room was sterile and bright. I was cold.

She returned to the operating room. “All ready?”

“Yep.”

She ripped the blanket off. I was exposed. Don’t make eye contact, I thought.

She grabbed, stretched, and prodded me. “Uh, huh,” she intoned. “I see. And you’re sure you don’t want anymore kids?”

“Pretty sure,” I said, my voice rising.

She lifted and poked. Am I cheating on my wife?

“Alright. Looks good. I’m going to shave you now.”

Don’t think. Don’t think. Don’t think.

The blade whirred. Leave your body.

The blade buzzed. You are not here.

The blade jiggled. Master your passions.

“All done,” she said. “I’ll get the doctor.”

“Great,” I said, my legs spread and vulnerable.

“Nice to meet you,” the doctor said, slipping on his gloves. “Now, I’m going to stick a needle where it doesn’t belong. Okay? It’s probably going to hurt.”

“Oh, well, okay.” I jerked upwards in shock. My loins burned with acute pain. “Whoa, that was quick.” I was starting to sweat.

“You’re doing great,” he said, mindlessly. “I’m going to start cutting now. Tell me if you feel anything.”

I did. He was tearing apart my manhood. “I fell that. I feel that!”

“Oh, gosh. Sorry about that. I guess I should have given you more anesthetic. Here you go.”

I sat up. He had pricked me again. “Ouch.”

“Yeah, that can cause a little discomfort,” he said. “Why don’t you go ahead and lie down. Yep, like that. You’re doing great. So brave. Alright, now I’m going to sever you, burn you, clamp you, and then sew you shut. Is that okay?”

“Sure.” Holy God, let this work.

“Let me know if you feel anything other than a dull ache.”

He began his work with a worrying absentmindedness. “So what do you do?”

“I’m a teacher.”

“Oh, yeah? What do you teach?”

“Uh…a life skills curriculum…like job readiness…and stuff.” I was having trouble focusing on the conversation.

“You know,” he said, stopping and pointing his scalpel at me, “that’s such a great idea. We needed that in my high school.”

“I’ll bet.”

“You and your wife have three kids, is that right?”

“Yeah.”

“What are their names?”

“Uh,” my stomach began to roll, “uh…Regan…uh…Ellis…uh…and…and…” What was that new ones name? “Magnus…yeah, that’s it…Magnus.”

“Strong names.”

“Yep.” My body began to rock back and forth as he tugged and pulled.

“Do you know why I went into urology?”

“No.” The smell of my burning vas deferens wafted towards my nostrils.

“I get to help people, you know? I mean, really help people.” He was staring into the distance and not at my open and bleeding wounds. “It gets me out of bed, you know?”

“Yeah, sure.” He was yanking on a string that was connected to my body. I wanted to look, but I was afraid. I couldn’t bring myself to lift my head and peer down.

“Alright,” he said, smiling. “All done. I’ve sewn you up.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Now, let’s get started on the other side.”  

Parenting: The Perilous Adventures of Eagle Girl

Eagle Girl“Dad,” she whispered. “Daddy, wake up.”

I opened my eyes. My daughter’s face was centimeters from my nose. “What?” I mumbled. It was still dark.

“Dad, Eagle Girl is here.”

“Who?”

“Eagle Girl, Dad. She’s here to protect you from the dragon.”

I jerked awake. “Dragon? Where?”

“Shh,” she admonished. “You don’t want it to hear you. Besides, Eagle Girl is here.”

My daughter, four, had recently created an alter ego by the name of Eagle Girl. She did this because her cousin, a boy, was rapturously in love with Spiderman. Eagle Girl though, or so my daughter said, was infinitely better than Spiderman.

Eagle Girl was half eagle and half lion. She could fly and run. She could speak to elves and dance. Eagle Girl was a voracious eater of ice cream, but, surprisingly, hated peas. She was big, but not too big, and when she wanted to, she could make herself as small as a thimble. The best thing about Eagle Girl though, was that she was a unicorn. I tried my best to untangle this amazing fact, but to no avail. Eagle Girl, my daughter insisted, was half eagle, half lion, and all unicorn. And how, exactly, did Eagle Girl identify as a unicorn? “Well,” my daughter would say, “because she has a corn on her head.”

“So,” I was back in bed on a dark night, “what is Eagle Girl going to do with this dragon?”

“Hmm,” my daughter placed a slender finger on her chin, “I think she will tickle her.”

“The dragon is a girl?”

“Yes.”

“And Eagle Girl is going to tickle her?”

“Yes.”

“No sword?”

My daughter cocked her head, “Sword?”

“Nevermind,” I said, drawing the covers over my head. “That sounds like a good plan. Do you need me or can I go back to bed now?”

“I need you.”

“Why?”

“Well,” she said, “because Eagle Girl is afraid of the dark.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Okay,” I slid out of bed and snatched up Eagle Girl, “let’s go.” We shuffled to her room, navigating our hallways by the shallow glow of nightlights. I kicked open her door and dumped her into bed. “Does Eagle Girl need me to sleep with her?”

“Maybe. I think so.”

I lifted Eagle Girl’s covers and crept into bed alongside of her.

As I finally started to drift asleep, my daughter whispered into my ear: “Dad, Eagle Girl needs water.”

Parenting

Trees Make Sad Faces

The door creaked as my daughter’s head poked around the corner.  “Daddy,” she said.  It was five-forty five in the morning.  I bookmarked the page I was reading.

“Good morning,” I said as she jumped into my lap.

“Four things,” she started, “one, we will go to Lydia’s house; two, we will read all the books in the world; free, we will go back to Lydia’s house; and sixteen,” her voice fell to a whisper, “we will go see your favorite movie: Curious George.”

“Today?” I asked.

She nodded.  “Oh, and nineteen, we will eat hot chocolate.”

“Sounds like a good day.”

Looking over my shoulder and out the window, she changed the subject: “Do you see that pretty pink color in the big-blue sky?”

I turned.  “The sun is waking,” I said, “rising over the edge of the world.”

“Beautiful,” she said.  “I like pink.  But what about all of the trees making sad faces?”

“What?”

“Look,” she pointed.  Bare and leafless trees were creeping over the edges of the window, obscuring the sunrise’s pretty-pink colors.

I kissed her on the forehead.  “I guess they do,” I said.

“I have to go potty.”

We stood.  I held her hand as I directed her to the bathroom.  She hopped on the seat and smiled.  “Daddy,” she said, “you have to leave.  I need my pregnancy.”