“A fine healthy baby,” someone says, slapping my buttocks. Two heads I’ll recognize tomorrow as my parents’ peer at a small flat shiny thing. “Phone” will be my first word. “Want phone” my first sentence.
T-r-i-l-l! On Wednesday I’ll scroll back to Monday’s Twitter feed and find that @Ma&PaGrundy wrote: “Doc sez our baby helthy! ☺.”
Only one person, @weirdshit, hearts the tweet.
“What’ll we call it?” Mom asks Dad. Dad suggests three relatives.
“Tossers,” says Mom. She names three of hers.
“Retards,” says Dad.
The only book in the flat is The Book. I’ll devour it on Friday. Mom opens it at random.
“S it is,” says Dad.
T-r-i-l-l! “We luv u, S!” I’ll spell out slowly tomorrow.
“Phone,” I say softly. They don’t hear me.
“Want phone,” I say, louder.
“Shut up and sleep,” says Mom. “If you sleep now I’ll get you a toy phone tomorrow.”
“Want real phone,” I say.
“Okay,” she says. “Now go the fuck to sleep.”
I long to be held, but I hear my parents arguing about which baby photos to post.
I go (the fuck) to sleep.
My Twitter handle is @fonafiliac. Chip off the old blocks.
“With this ringtone I thee wed,” I whisper, clicking on “I Will Always Love You.”
Mom takes me out in the stroller. A burning yellow ball dazzles me. A black feathered thing swoops down and raps on my iPhone.
“Go ’way,” I say, replaying my favorite @natureamazin clip. A baby panda tries to stand and falls over, over and over. It makes me laugh.
“Something wrong with my milk,” Mom says. Dad ignores her.
Clearly, she wants an “interaction.” I unclamp my lips. “What is it?”
“Little things,” she says, squeezing a few droplets into my palm.
Smiley faces, frowny faces, up-and-down-pointing thumbs.
“Emoticons,” I say. “Not things.”
“Whatever,” she says. “Is that bad?”
“We’ll soon find out,” I start to say. A blue thumb lodges in my throat. I cough. And cough. It won’t come out.
I keep coughing. Finally, a neighbor yells: “Stop that or I’ll drill through and make you!”
Mom doesn’t mention the emoticons to the doctor. She’s forgotten the word. I don’t mention them, because I can’t.
My end is nigh. I crawl over to The Book, lying where Mom and Dad left it. I said I would read it today. Fake news. I follow @GoodBooksaith instead.
After I die, my spirit circles Mom and Dad. Will I get a good tweet-off? I fixate on Dad’s busy fingers.
“Rest in peess, darlin S.”
Orthographically challenged Hallmark. I could’ve done better. Tweet-wise. Parents-wise.
They find a pastor on TenderLink. They drive down his price by promising shoutouts.
“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away,” gabbles the pastor.
His phone tings. “Lordy-lordy, my galloper’s won!”
I drift above twenty bent heads. Their voices, arguing about betting apps, grow faint. “BettaBet … horses4courses … PuntersParadise …”
Ah, the Cloud! I can gobble infobites to my wings’ content. Forever and ever.
So this is the end of Solomona Grundy.
Faye Brinsmead lives in Canberra, Australia. Her flash fictions have appeared in journals including MoonPark Review, The Cabinet of Heed and The Ekphrastic Review, in Reflex Fiction’s anthology The Real Jazz Baby, and in Ellipsis Zine Six: 2119. She came third in Meanjin’s 2019 competition for Twitter fiction. She sporadically posts microfictions on Twitter @ContesdeFaye.