She set the bundled infant into the hole she’d dug to the side of the path in the empty park. Her friend sat behind her, balanced on the handrail, feet swinging.
“This is stupid. And probably illegal.”
“Like you know anything baby babies, Manda.” The young mother smiled sweetly at her son as she tucked dirt close around the sleeping child.
“You’re killing your baby Trish. I don’t need to know shit about babies to know that. Been a mother a week and you’ve already managed to kill your son.”
“Shut the fuck up, Manda. This is the best thing I could do for him. Haven’t you ever read a book. This is straight mythology. My son will be a goddamn king. And what are you? Nothing.”
Manda swung her legs, popping her gum loudly. “I may be nothing, but I know better than to bury a goddamn baby.” She popped her gum again. “What the fuck kind of books you been reading?”
“I told you. Mi-thal-oh-gee. Do I got to spell it out for you?”
Manda snorted. “Like you can spell. What is that, three syllables? Four? You couldn’t suck a dick that long”
Trisha turned and threw a clod of dirt at Manda’s head, but Manda dodged it. She went back to tucking the baby into the earth, a little at a time, not wanting to wake him. “He’s beautiful, isn’t he?” Manda peered over Trisha’s shoulder’s, lifting herself off the rail so she could peek down at the sleeping infant. She shrugged. Trisha ignored her and sighed, smiling. “How the hell did I ever make something so perfect?”
Manda snorted again. “Pretty sure it was Terry Colchide and that hideous Chevy he’s always speeding around in. Or was it that Rob guy from the bowling alley? Getting an extra set in?”
Trisha ignored her, still smiling as she went back to work, sliding small handfuls of dirt down the slope of the hole and pressing it against the pale circus print of his blanket.
“If he’s so perfect, Trish, then why are you burying him in the park?”
“I told you, it’s the best thing for him. He’s too perfect to grow up here like we did.” Manda stared at her feet as they swung. “Didn’t you ever pay attention in Mr. Crosses class? He made us read all that mythology, remember?”
Manda popped her gum. “No way. I can’t believe you did either. Only reason I passed that class is that t.a. was so desperate for a handjob.”
“That’s disgusting, Amanda. That guy was so gross.”
Manda shrugged. “Why you think it was handjobs? Least I never had to kiss him. Besides, none of your boyfriends were hot neither. Don’t care what you say about that squish faced child, he’s gonna be ugly as his daddy. Whichever he was.”
Trisha spun to glare at her friend, holding back tears. “How dare you? You don’t know a damn thing, you stupid slut.” She leaned over her baby and sniffed. “He’s perfect. He’ll grow up to be a god or a king or something. Not some dumb washout in this dumb, stupid town.” She hunched her shoulders and cried. “He will! I swear he will.”
Manda sighed and hopped off the rail, squatting carefully at the edge of the hole. “Hey now, Trish, don’t cry.” She reached out and laid a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Trisha. Come on now. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. He’s a fine baby, look at him. You don’t want to wake him up do you? Look how fine he is, sleeping there.” Amanda figured she wasn’t lying, since babies all looked the same to her, and he was quieter than most.
Trisha sniffed and looked up at her friend, then down at her son. “He is, isn’t he? He’s gonna be a fine man.”
“Trisha,” Manda picked at her tights, speaking softly so she didn’t upset her friend again. “I still don’t get it. How can he grow up to be anything if we bury him in the park? He’ll just die.”
“You wouldn’t understand.” Trisha started back to work, somewhat less carefully, scooping mounds of dirt over the boys feet and patting it down so he’d be comfortable.
“Tell me. Please.” Trisha watched Manda’s face, hands still as she frowned. “Please, Trisha? I won’t make fun of you, I just want to understand. Besides, if I’m gonna be your accomplice, I should know why we’re doing this. Right?”
Trisha sat back on her heels. “You don’t think I’m stupid then?”
“No way. You’re way smarter than me, Trish. That’s why it’s you whose gotta explain it.”
Trisha smiled. “Okay then.” She patted the dirt down over her sons feet gently. “See there was this goddess…”
“Which goddess? Aren’t there, like, a whole lot?”
“Shut up and let me tell it if you want to know so bad.”
“Alright then…” She screwed her face up as she thought. “So there was this goddess, and she had a baby. A mortal baby. I mean, like, she had one in her hands, I don’t think it came outta her. Because she was a goddess and she was too perfect to have a baby like that.” Manda nodded but said nothing, so Trisha went on. “The goddess didn’t really have anything to do with the baby and she didn’t want to take care of it anyway, so she did something real smart. She took the baby and she put him in a box. Then she took the box and she carried him down under the ground and left him there for safe keeping.”
“Which goddess though?”
“Damn it, Trisha! Let me tell the story.” Trisha held her hands up in surrender. “It was Aphrodite, I think. She’s a beautiful love Goddess.”
“Oooh, that makes sense.” Trisha thought that smart, pretty girls didn’t get knocked up without wanting to, but she didn’t say it, because she didn’t want to hurt Manda’s feelings.
Manda nodded. “Right. Anyway she left the baby there, and went on being a goddess. After some time she heard about this perfect, hot stuff guy that was living in the underground and she went down to see him herself. Only he was the baby she’d left in the box, all grown up and outta the box. And he was perfect and gorgeous and had a great cock, and everybody loved him just as soon as they saw him. Oh and he could never die, on account of growing up under ground.”
Amanda popped her gum in appreciation of such a guy.
“So see, Amanda? This is the best thing anyone could ever do for a baby boy. He’ll be perfect and he’ll live forever and everyone will love him”
“But Trisha, if this is something you learned at school, shouldn’t more people know? Why doesn’t everybody do it this way? No diapers, no nothing. It’s way easier.”
“Probably everybody else’s too busy giving handjobs in the hallway to learn anything good.”
Trisha nodded. “That makes sense.” She snorted and popped her gum. “Oh my god Trisha, did I tell you? Nicki’s been blowing Steve from chem! And that weird-looking redhead kid from math!”
Trisha gasped. “No way!”
“Yea, I know right? And I heard that Jake Weller’s been fucking Coach Tim.” Amanda was very proud of her gossip.
Trisha stared at her. “For real?” Manda nodded. “Damn. He could do so much better. Coach Tim’s hella old.”
Amanda watched Trisha piling dirt over the baby’s middle and patting it down.
“Hey Trish.” Manda waited for Trisha to look up before continuing. “Shouldn’t we name him? I mean, he’ll be all alone under ground, and won’t we need a name to recognize him when we dig him up? Like a name no one else will have? Something no one else will think of.”
Trisha frowned, thinking about it. She was annoyed she hadn’t thought of it herself, but figured that was okay. She was still his mom, and it was her idea to bury him in the first place. “How about Mantrish? No one could possibly be that creative at naming right? Like, everyone uses lists or something.”
Manda nodded, leaning forward to kneel at the hole, excited now at the idea. “Yea. But maybe we’ll call him Mantrish Rhiall. Like both our last names combined to make his last name? Since I’m here helping you? I’m better than whatever idiot his daddy is anyway.”
Trisha smiled. “I like it. Mantrish Rhiall. It’s perfect.” She dug her lipstick out of her pocket. A too orange-red color, called Perfect Pistola that she had stolen from the Wal-Mart by the school. Carefully she drew out the letters of his name onto his squishy, sleeping face. Manda laughed at the red lines. “That way he’ll know his name when he’s old enough to read.”
“You’re such a good mom, Trish.” Trisha beamed at her friend and tucked the lipstick back into her pocket. “Hey, can I help?” Manda hesitated, hands over the baby. “I mean, can I help you finish burying him?”
“Yea, Manda, I’d like that.” They settled themselves closer to the hole and stared down at the sleeping baby, messy lipstick letters all across his forehead. “Rest well little Mantrish.”
“We better do it quick so he doesn’t wake up. I think it’d be too hard for him if he starts crying, better for him to just wake up underground, right?”
Trisha nodded, gathering dirt up in her hands. “Yea, that’s smart. Let’s count together.”
Manda popped her gum and they counted. “One… Two… Three.”
Together they scooped dirt into the hole over his head and face, quickly filling it in and patting it down, making sure the top was smooth and nice, so one would think to see what might be underneath. Once they finished their work they stood up, Manda helping Trish to steady herself, since she was still sore from having a baby. They dusted their hands off and started down the path toward the road.
Manda spit her gum out over the grass. “Hey Trish, what if we forget where he is? I mean it takes years for a baby to be a man. What if we can’t remember where to dig?”
Trisha laughed. “Don’t be stupid, Manda. I’ll know. I’m his mother, and a mother knows.”
“You haven’t been a mom more than a week. You sure he was with you long enough for you to know that kind of thing?”
“Shut up, Manda. I’ll know. Okay?”
Manda was silent for a few steps. “Hey Trish?”
“Oh my god, what?”
“You sure this is gonna work? I mean, yea I know it worked for Aphrodite, but she’s a goddess. So how do we know it’s gonna work?”
“Fuck you, Manda. I’m doing the right thing for my son.”
“Okay, yea. But how do we know? You’re definitely not a goddess.”
“Shut the fuck up Manda. You know nothing about babies, so just keep your dumb mouth shut and let’s go home. My baby’s gonna be a goddamn king, you’ll see.”