Kevin Spaide

The newspaper was full of fires and wars and little girls getting murdered and thrown down wells, so I looked at my wife and said, “I don’t think now is the time to be having children.”

“Children are so little,” she said, after a moment of contemplation.

“Right, I think that’s what I’m getting at. The world is huge and fucked and spinning around at a thousand miles per hour. It’s no place for children.”

“And yet here we are,” she said.

“Here we are.”

Then she said, “We are each the last of our line.”

She was cooking paella in our kitchen. From the size of the pan you would have thought there were more of us.

“That smells great,” I said.

“Oh, shut up. I don’t need your bullshit comments.”

I looked down at my newspaper and read a story about the end of the world as we know it. There were dead people scattered all over the hillsides, victims of the monstrous inertia of the human race.

My wife said, “Anyway, I never wanted to be a mother.”

“You’d make a good one,” I said.

“Do you hear what you’re saying over there? Do you sometimes listen to the crap flying out of your big fat mouth?”

“If you had a kid, you’d do it right,” I said. “You wouldn’t screw the thing up like everybody else.”

“The thing? The thing?”

She walked out of the room. The paella bubbled in its pan. I went over and stood in front of the stove. I didn’t know what to do.

Finally she came back.

She said, “I had to go look at the sky for a minute.”

“The sky?”

“Put the spatula down, please. Get away from there.”

When the paella was ready we sat at the table and ate. I tried not to look at the newspaper.

I said, “I like when you burn the bottom a little and it sticks to the pan and you have to scrape it off with a spoon.”

She said, “I just don’t think I’d have the patience to raise a child.”

“Maybe it’s something you don’t get until you see your own baby in your arms.”

“I might just set it down. And then what?”

After we ate we went for a walk. We said things like, “This town’s turning into a shithole,” and, “People are so stupid,” and, “Can you imagine the human race in a thousand years? A hundred years?”

We complained and complained.

Then we walked back home and finished off the cold paella and watched some movie about prisoners on an island. Halfway through the movie we had sex on the couch without using any form of birth control.

Kevin Spaide is from Auburn, New York. His stories are in Witness, Per Contra, Necessary Fiction, Frigg and several other publications, both online and in print. He has a blog you probably don’t want to look at, and he lives in Madrid with his wife and son.