The silence in the car was punctuated by Allie’s sniffles and Desiree’s snores. You’d have thought one would have cancelled out the other, peaceful baby making happy mommy and all, and after about five miles, I tried logic.
“It’s not like they hurt her,” I said. I knew I sounded defensive. “And we did spring her on them at the last minute. And they had all the couch pillows underneath–”
“Shut up, Henry!” Allie yowled. Desi woke up and began to cry. I couldn’t blame Desiree. She’d been a good sport. But when Alison walked down the stairs and saw our five-month-old duct-taped to a wall of my best friend’s man-cave, something changed in our marriage, and not for the better. Before tonight, I’d always thought that “good sport” described my wife as well. Guess not.
Maybe it was genetic. We’d spent the night bailing my pouty and ungrateful mother-in-law out of jail after a drunken spree with her four best buddies. They had all won motorcycles on a trip to a game show in New York. Instead of selling them to cover the taxes, they had named themselves the Hogettes, and proceeded to act like it.
So when we got the call, we thought we were making the right decision when we dropped Desi off with “Uncle” Jaffe and his poker game instead of hauling her to Night Court with a gaggle of septuagenarian biker chicks.
Jaffe ran the town’s auto body shop and tutored the high school kids in physics in his spare time. He had a theory that duct tape could do anything, and I was willing to admit it did just fine as a baby wall-chair. He’d even noosed Mr. Daddles next to her without so much as damaging his plush. It made sense, as there was no space in Jaffeland that could even remotely be called “child-safe.”
But when I pulled up to the house, Allie snatched Desi out of her car seat as if she’d rescued her from ravening wolves pursuing the chaise. “You can sleep on the couch tonight, Mr. Thinks It’s Funny! Maybe you can make yourself a blanket out of duct tape.” We have a door at the top of the steps to the bedrooms and all, a leftover from when her mom used to live in the house, and it slammed and clicked. Lucky there was a powder room downstairs, I guess.
So I went on the Internet and then back to Jaffe’s, seeing as the hardware stores were closed, and he fixed me up. Can’t say it didn’t take me a while, but I made me my blanket out of duct tape. All different colors, too. Man, it pissed Allie off that next day.
What’s a fella to do?