A couple days later, my car won’t start. AutoZone tells me that my battery is bad. My boss had said that a cold front was coming, but I had ignored him. I don’t have time for repairs; not until the weekend. Today is Saturday, which is my Friday, and I have to take an Uber.

The driver is heavyset. He has a beard. I’m sitting in the front seat with him.

I’ve also driven your dark-skinned coworker, who is gay and who you’re always being unintentionally facetious to, he says.

Yeah, well today, I told him that I am writing this book, and that he has inspired me to make this next chapter erotic, and he jokingly asks me for royalties.

I say that I am indentured to him, and that I must pay him in kisses.

I came off sounding like an ass, right? But it’s not untrue. I could hang out with him all day. I wouldn’t mind living with him. It would be alright for me to touch him if he was alright with it. Petting his arm could lead to further explorations, but there is nothing wrong with a kiss. Penises can stink sometimes, and they can harbour diseases, but not all penises are stinky and bad, and vaginas also pee, grow yeast, bleed, and birth. And I’m always trying to get my wife to squirt. And I’d like it especially for her to squirt around my penis. A guaranteed ejaculation would be miraculous. I’m always rubbing the clit, wishing for magic. I’d take it in my face, or in my butt. My sphincter popping you off because pleasure is more important to guys than making babies. Babies pumping, the biggest load you’ve ever had. Solid seed infecting into a womb cancer that I’ve been dreaming about coming to strangle me with more responsibility and break into my computer which harbors the same big fat veiny horse dick that I’d found fucking a farm girl on my dad’s computer. A constant curse. Something for the kids to chew on.

The norm’s just not enough…says the driver. There’s more to life than the straight and narrow. There are some boundaries that need to be pushed in order to become something better than the bad guy.

There is no such thing as a bad guy, I say. I mean, whose bad are we even talking about? The Lord’s, mine, yours? Some of us are having tough times. We’ve got to be touched. Right now, you could reach around and clamp my breast. Give me two pudding pops up my mirth canal. Show me what being a man is all about. What’s stopping us? There’s no harm in a foul. They say the inner voice is the voice that your parents talked to you with when you were younger. My inner voice sounds like God watching my every move and judging me. The Lord’s got it out for me. It is not happy with my presence. It has a horse dick that it’s not hiding anymore. Call it a touch of Satan. My household is a monster, and my father is the head of it. My mother is under his dominion, like an arm or a consumed twin. I am like my mother, under its control as well, but I have an opportunity to break the chain. The life of my unborn child is at stake. It’s the size of a pecan now. It’s absorbing my wife, and it’s coming for me. I have to cut the infection out of my inflection. Once my wife pops, the imprintation won’t stop. I’ve got to keep my dick to myself. There will come a time when the baby will remember it, swinging before his face, Saturn’s pendulum dripping evil, pointing the way to the moaning farm girl, who squirms, buried in the toilet paper of our patriarchal pursuits.

Why don’t you just tell them? says the driver.

I’m waiting for a heartbeat, I say. A spark within the darkness. Proof of life. We have an appointment in a couple of days. Two days after Christmas. We’re spending Christmas with our families this year. It’s been a while since we’ve done that because we’ve been living out of state. Time’s got to be split. Everybody loses. We’ll be spending Christmas Eve with my parents who will be going to church the next day because Christmas is on Sunday this year, and the Christmas session is the most important session of the year. Christ’s birthday. It’s important to make an appearance, but then we’re going to my wife’s mother’s. I’m not even going to try to buy more time with my family. I know how to trigger a fight. The mood swings that my wife is enduring are not to be taken lightly. Usually I can find a keyhole within the weather, but there’s no being rational with her raging hormones. I have to accept my fate. I’m not happy with my parents going to church. It’s not what Jesus would do. Mormons are supposed to be all about family. My family doesn’t even want to go, They feel obligated.

There’s a binky and a rattle in a tiny stocking, buried beneath the tree. I am Santa. My stepbrother has been playing surrogate in my absence, and I need to recall my rite. I’ve put it off for far too long, but then it’s just sitting there in the open, and I have to touch it. Musette is growling at me, but it’s too late. My sister is on it like Blue Bonnet. There’s no turning back. She’s like, what is that? and I spill the beans.

The baby is ten weeks along, I say. I’m praying for a boy, but I know that that’s selfish, because babies can hear prayers because they’re still so tightly connected to Jesus.

My mom cries. My dad gives my sister a big wooden ruler so that she can keep her child’s height with her forever. He gives me a thermos that keeps its temperature for a long time. It has his work logo printed on the side. And he’s like, this could be us, but you’re playing at being a writer and making me give up the company to your cousins. Good luck raising that abomination inside of your whore wife. See you after you seal your marriage.

They go to church, and we go to my mother in law’s. There is urine caked into the carpet, and there are no presents under the tree. The presents are on the table because the golden retriever will ruin them if he gets the chance.

He’s got to go, I say. Babies take priority. The best present that you could give to us is to be a good babysitter. As much as I don’t want you to, you’ve got to move into our building. We need you within walking distance. Musette and I have got work to do. I know you’ve given up on that long ago.

Be grateful for what you’ve got, she says. One day you’ll be old, and I’m excited to see how somebody so similar to me turns out. That bookstore that you work at is on a collision course with unemployment, and you’ll be the first piece of dead meat that they chuck.

She hands me a hand-sewn pillowcase with dinosaur print on it and a Harry Potter shirt with blue-colored sweatpants to commemorate my being sorted into Ravenclaw on Violence’s computer.

We give Violence a special edition of her favorite movie, which she has watched over ten times, and then we spend the next hour bashing the movie because she asked us if we like it.

We go out to the car but can’t get our car doors to close because it’s so cold, so we have Musette’s dad tie a piece of the string that we wrapped the Christmas tree with to our door handles, and we drive like grandparents into the new year.


“Race Relations” is an excerpt from Bibles’ new novel in progress, The Better Face of Fascism.