By David Sydney

The first thing children do when coming into the world is cry.  Can anyone blame them?  Consider the world today or in the past five or six days.  So it was with Ralph after he exited the birth canal.  Nine months of bliss, and then…

Dr. Franzblau, the obstetrician, pounded Ralph on the ass, as happens in the delivery room.  One look at Ralph, and he knew he had to smack him.  Some of the obstetrical nurses felt like getting in a few shots as well. His mother, Sylvia, after the epidural and pain medication, was not entirely with it.

“Here.”  Dr. Franzblau handed Ralph to her.

“My God. Is that his head?”

“Sorry,” said the doctor.  Talk about not knowing the difference between an ass and an elbow. In this case, it was a head.

“Are they always this red?”  Sylvia was concerned as a new mother coming out of the fog.

“Red’s good.”

“And how about shriveled?”

The obstetrician admitted that shriveled was another thing.

It was Ralph’s first moment in a lifetime of them.  After 60 minutes, he was an hour old and kicking.

“He was a good kicker when he was in me,” Sylvia said.

In her drug-induced delirium, she imagined soccer on the rise, with the World Cup someday attracting universal attention.  She hoped Ralph might be a professional player.  It was either that or a kickboxer, another sport she fantasized.

Not everyone can be a professional athlete.  Despite his promising start, Ralph ended up in tile and floor covering.  Weekday-after-weekday, he sold–or tried to sell–carpet remnants and variegated floor tiles.  It was a tough business, far tougher than soccer or a full contact combat sport. He could cry on coming into the world those years ago.  Soccer players get to cry all the time.  Kickboxers are red in the face and ass when they are kicked, as Ralph was so many years before in the delivery room.

Dr. Franzblau had smacked Ralph.  It was one of his perquisites.  For nine months back there, it had been so pleasant in the amniotic fluid.  Since then–and now–it was dog-eat-dog.  It was the tile and floor covering business.  He couldn’t kick the customers who constantly haggled for lower prices and bargains.  That is a major difference from kickboxing and soccer.  And, if Ralph kicked the tiles or carpet remnants when he was alone, that only made matters worse.  Then his face shriveled, and he cried out in pain.

*   *   *

David Sydney is a physician. He has had pieces in Little Old Lady Comedy, 101 Words, Microfiction Monday, 50 Give or Take, Friday Flash Fiction, Entropy Squared, and Grey Sparrow Journal.

Leave a Reply