Catherine Lacey

Robert grew a beard and long hair and grew a fetus in his girlfriend and grew tomatoes in the backyard and let his girlfriend grow flowers in little boxes and let his gut grow to fit the pants that had belonged to his father. He grew to like his girlfriend and she grew into his wife. Robert's mother grew a tumor. The tomatoes grew fat. The fetus grew into a baby and everyone gathered around the wife who screamed and the mother who cried and Robert who touched his own beard and wished. He grew to own a jealousy of the baby who filled up vast quantities of time with screaming and sucking until the baby grew into a boy and the boy had ideas that he expressed in this way:
     I am the creator of the mailman spaceship and it's underwater and so go there and sit and wait on the mail.
     Robert grew confused and so did the boy.
     Go there and wait on the mail and don't look at me, the boy said.
     The wife could play; she knew how to go there and wait on the mail. She took a cushion from the couch, placed it on the kitchen floor, put herself down and waited. And Robert could not understand this—there is the couch for sitting and the kitchen floor for walking across, spilling milk on, mopping.
     Robert's mother stopped by the house but the tumor made her slow. She said every word like it was her last. She held the boy on her knee, but he turned around and pinched her arm and then jumped off her lap and ran down the hall and into his room and slid under his bed and screamed, Don't tumor me. Don't tumor me. I don't want to die so don't tumor me.
     Robert's mother bled from a spot on her arm the size of a child's fingertip. Robert spoke loudly, did not yell, but spoke loudly and said, Come back here right now boy and apologize to your grandmother. That is no way to speak to a sick woman. Robert said this loudly, but did not yell.
     Stop yelling, Robert's wife said.
     I am not a sick woman, Robert's mother said, I am going to live many more years, she said but the next day Robert's mother died and later that week in the grey graveyard the boy grew an inch taller and said, See, it could have been me, and Robert almost wanted to believe him. He spoke in such a way, that he seemed to know what he was talking about.





One time I knew this five-year-old who was given a cat for Christmas. He immediately named it Ormen. When his mom asked him where he had gotten the name Ormen he said, "It just came out of my body." I'd say that about this story, which is not normal for me as I generally edit sporadically over many months or years before being finished. This one was just in my body and now it isn't.