SWADDLE VERDE

Are swaddling blankets supposed to be round? Jim wondered, staring down at the swaddling station.

The tiny baby in his arms let out an inquisitive sounding “Ahha?” as if in reply. “Yeah you’re right,” he said, “I can do this.”

Jim was a good Father—a new Father—but a good one. He let out a long, slow sigh and carefully set the baby down. As he stood there wondering what came next, a freckled teenager in latex gloves reluctantly shit-heeled over and with one hand, scooped the baby up. Jim froze, bewildered. The teenager mumbled something incoherent.

“Excuse me?” Jim said.

“Black or Pinto?”

“Uhhh pinto,” Jim answered casually, not wanting to let on to a teenager that this was his first time swaddling a baby.

“Salsa?”

“The green, please.”

Jim hadn’t been expecting so many questions. Hell, he hadn’t been expecting someone to pick up his baby and start covering it with Monterey Jack cheese either, but this was a whole new world, the strange realm of parenting that “nothing can prepare you for.”

The teenager deftly rolled the little baby up in foil paper and asked Jim for $6.99, and Jim happily paid itit was his baby after all and he was a good Father. He opened up the warm bundle and watched the burrito gently expand and contract.

“That salsa verde put him right to sleep,” he whispered, smiling down at the boy.

But the prideful moment was cut short as his stomach started to growl and he soon found that he couldn’t help but think about the warm Spanish rice, the avocado, the sour cream.

On some level Jim understood that his infant Son had accidentally been covered with toppings and wrapped up in a tortilla—it was simple, really. Sure, he liked burritos—hell, he loved them—but wasn’t his baby in this one? Still, the smell was intoxicating.

His pulse raced and he swallowed hard, closing his eyes. “Just one bite…”

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