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Belly Boss


My belly is so big. It’s full of the shrunken heads of children. I have always loved children, especially with collards and corn pone. They shake like pebbles in my belly boss. The children cry. I jump up and down, do jumping jacks, the babies in my belly-boss giggle and roll together, bumping their indigestible heads.

The collar of my dress is hillbilly-frilly. Don’t touch it, don’t even. When I don’t want to talk, my head sinks so far down into my frilly well that I can see the dry bottom of it there’s a rat skeleton too.

I’m going to buy some shoes. It’s my favorite shoe store, when I bend over, my booty gets nudged and rubbed as college kids try to squeeze past me. No harm intended, none taken. There’s so many college kids here! Everywhere, sidewalks, streets, rooftops, gutters. I’m clumping down the hill. I can’t make it to the store. My boots are made of lead. They come to a halt right in the intersection. There’s no cars, only kids, only heads, heads, lots of heads, blonde, brunette, curly, straight, all the flavors. They charge past me, coming from all sides; so fast the whoosh blows off my wig, exposing my skull. I wave and nod. They nudge and bump me as they pass. I can hardly lift one foot from the street.

Here comes a pregnant burro, parting the waters. Clop, clop. “Clown,” she says. “You’re blocking the flow. You have to leave.” A little monkey sits on her shoulders. He wears an evil grin on his squished-up face.

“Who the hell are you?” I say. Indeed, I am the only circus freak out here and I’d like to keep it that way. “You are ridiculous, green with huge pink eyes. And an evil goblin on your back, like a tick with a tail.”

She is one big mama, I wonder if the monkey got her pregnant. She raises her vein-pulsing neck in the air, “Uuurrhgrrr. You have shrunken heads in your belly boss; I can hear them from here. Don’t you know their mothers are searching frantically for them?”

“Ha, how do you know I didn’t run over ‘em with my boss-mobile, then pick the children from their cold dead hands?”

“You better watch it,” said the little monkey in a voice like a roach. “Somebody’s gonna take you to clown jail. You’re gonna shrink down to the size of a doughnut and a mass murderer’s gonna pick you up off the floor and eat you. How d’ya like that.”

The college kids were all swarming around and past us, they’d seen it all.

I said to her, “This is my turf, understand. If you give birth here, you’re in trouble. I’ll just take the infant and shrink its head and eat it.”

The burro glared at me. “You! Why! HHhhr! She snorted and pawed the street. “Hang on, Chiquito,” she said to the monkey. She heaved and hefted her whole big-bellied body up til she balanced on her hind legs. With both forelegs, she then pawed the air, I was being whooshed by the winds, my eyelashes fluttering back against my face. My lips were blubbering and stretching back to my ears. The breeze whistled through the gaps in my teeth. She was digging furiously into thin air, close to my nose. Whap-whap-whap. After a few minutes, she slowed down, her breath was ragged. She fell back down to all fours. Sucking wind, trying to catch her breath.

“Oh…mercy. For…God’s sake, ruh…run away,” she said. She waved a weary foreleg. “Just. Go.”

“I can’t go,” I said. “I’m stuck. My boots are too heavy.”

“Then, take em off,” she said.

“My belly’s too big,” I said.

She said, “Oh, oh.” She leaned over and toppled onto the street. The little monkey went, “EEyyy OOhhh ooo.” The college students stopped. She lay on her side, breathing heavy. She shuddered and groaned and whinnied. After fifteen minutes, something happened. Everybody craned their necks, stretching all the way from the back of the crowd to see. A lump slurped out onto the pavement next to her tail. It was covered in sticky goo and attached by the umbilical cord.

A young man broke away from the crowd. “I’ll take care of this. I’m a pre-med student,” he said. He knelt down. “You got this, Mami,” he murmured. “Scissors please, anybody!” A dwarf came running over with a pair of scissors. The pre-med student clipped the umbilical cord. The monkey’s teeny eyes squinted with jealousy. He took off his monkey cap and set it on the student’s head. The monkey said now you’ll be a better citizen. Ssh, said the pre med student. I’m trying to focus.

The young man carefully picked up the squirming mess. He took off his shirt and began wiping it off. All the college kids said, Aaahh. Ooooh. Then he stopped. He stared. He looked at the mother. She looked at him. He raised the thing in the air for all to see. What was it. An apple, squirming and squawling. A deep intake of breaths all round. About to hand it to the mother to nurse it, he stopped. He said, “I haven’t eaten for two days.”

“Idiot,” the burro said to him. “You can’t have it. Jesus!” I reached out for it. At that moment all the shrunken heads in my belly came clunking from from under my dress out one by one two by two on the street, I squatted down so they wouldn’t break. They swarmed over to the pre-med student, wrestling the apple away from him. And began feasting on it like little pigs at their mama’s teats.

The pre-med student cried, “No! Filthy beasts!” He snatched the apple-baby from them and stuck it in his mouth. He chomped away, amniotic fluid running down his face.

It cried piteously. So did my boss-babies.

Kim Salinas Silva lives and writes in Rhode Island with her musician husband and her rescue dog, Zelda.

Instagram @Kimsalsilv

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