The Horror

About five years ago, my wife and I were doing what couples do best together. Shopping. Walking around one of those soulless, yet wholly gratifying suburban homemaker centres, hand in hand, flitting from shop to shop, without a care in the world and not really bothered if we bought anything. Until we happened upon one of modern society's abominations. The baby superstore.

Standing underneath the awning, the cheerful multicoloured wording looming over me threateningly, I knew deep down, that I was in a world of hurt. You know when your leg goes to sleep and you get that really uncomfortable pins and needles feeling? I was overcome by it. My body become one big, pincushion in baggy shorts. I could feel my heart-rate quicken. I could actually hear it. Like you do in movies, when they slow down time and amplify the action hero's pulse to heighten the suspense.

Anyway, I felt my arm being wrenched towards those giant evil letters. I was being sucked into the cavernous opening, the faint parp of a lullaby wafting menacingly on the wind. I remember looking up at my wife, to warn her, but she was already lost. And so it began.

Suitably aghast and no longer in control of my appendages, I found myself gaping like some slack-jawed muppet at the myriad mobiles dangling murderously from the ceiling. I even remarked at "all the pretty colours". My wife, meanwhile, was caressing nursery furniture with more passion and lust than she ever had me, her lips all aquiver, her eyes blazing with desire.

I don't know how long we were in that store. It could have been five minutes, it could have been days. It didn't really matter. The damage was done. And trying to gather my strength as I leant against a rubbish bin outside, the fragrant aroma of a mouldy Big Mac (is there any other kind?) and an undying cigarette singeing my nostrils, I felt as small and pitiful and helpless as almost every man, yet no man should. My wife, now towering over me, eyes steely and determined, said quietly, in the most measured, calculated and horrific tone of voice I've ever heard.

"I want a baby".

The horror. The horror.