It was several seconds before Thomas realized that the baby in the sky was headed straight for him. This caused Thomas to forget his current endeavor, being getting lunch at the corner deli. The tempting allure of roast beef on wheat was put aside as the infant plummeted towards him.
Thomas pondered briefly where the baby had come from. He did not see any aircraft in the area that it could have dropped from. He also knew that the city currently frowned upon the launching of babies, small children and various household pets from catapults, ballista and enormous slingshots since the trailer park in the suburbs received national recognition after video footage from there ended up on one of those television programs that featured footage of animals doing things that wasn’t really funny but people laughed at anyways and grown men receiving painful looking blows to their testicles.
Thomas knew he could not ponder this for long, as the baby was getting closer. He could not hear it crying, but was sure that it was since that seemed like the logical thing for a baby falling out of the sky to do. Thomas resolved to catch the baby. It seemed to be heading right for him, so he would not have to run out into traffic to make the catch. This was good. Thomas remembered all to clearly running after the pop fly ball in that pick-up game of softball when he was eight. Bad enough to be hit by an ice cream truck, but the horrible man driving the truck made him actually pay for this Bomb-Pop after picking himself up off the pavement.
This would be much easier, Thomas thought. Then Thomas pondered what would he do with the baby after catching it. The obvious answer would be to take the baby to the authorities. They would be much better equipped to deal with a sky baby. But then he remembered the television show that critics were currently raving about with the pretty blonde girl who finds her genetic donators years after they put her up for adoption. Certainly, the pretty blonde girl seemed to turn out alright but the television show let him know in no uncertain terms that she had spent fifteen horrible years in the foster care system and had a terrible hole in her soul because the gene donors foolishly thought being fifteen was too young to raise a loin spawn. Surely, this show knew more than Thomas, after all, it was written by people who get paid to write television. That and the thought of a sky baby showing up years later upon his doorstep asking why he put it up for adoption did not appeal to Thomas. What if he were entertaining guests? No. That would be much too awkward.
So Thomas decided to keep the sky baby. He did not know what he would name it, but he was sure that would come to him. He reached up to the sky preparing to catch it. No one else seemed to see it, but that was just as well. He did not want competition in catching the sky baby. This was easy part. Finding an apartment in a better school district would be much more difficult. He hoped to find one for a reasonable price since he heard college tuition was quite expensive and there was little chance that it would go down in eighteen years. His last girlfriend had broken up with him basing her case for the demise of their relationship in Thomas’s seeming inherent irresponsibility. This would certainly show her since he doubted severely that the guitarist with the tattoos and piercings had ever caught and raised a sky baby.
Just as Thomas thought he heard the baby crying, it changed course. The baby was now rocketing down the street at an altitude of about thirty feet, give or take. Thomas sprinted down the sidewalk after the sky baby, which sure enough was a boy. He weaved through the foot traffic, careful to try to keep his eye on the baby. He feared he would lose it after it rounded the corner, but spotted it again after turning from Granby Street onto Westover. He thought about calling out to the flying baby, but that would just seem weird. What would the other pedestrians think? Bad enough he was running like a lunatic after a sky baby, but there was no need to raise a fuss over the matter.
He rounded another corner onto Busch Street and halted dead in his tracks. Flitting about the intersection of Busch and Brambleton were scads of sky babies. They flew playfully about, looping in the air and occasionally swooping down towards the traffic. Thomas struggled to find his sky baby in the group. They all looked like miniature, flying Winston Churchills. Thomas thought Winston would be a fine name for a sky baby.
Thomas then spotted his sky baby, and what’s more the sky baby spotted him. It seemed to hover for a moment. Without warning it let out a cry like cat being stepped on by a large German. The sky baby flew towards Thomas and the others formed up upon him. Thomas grew wide-eyed. He knew he could not afford to feed, clothe and shelter an entire flock of sky babies and maintain his premium membership on his favorite amputee lesbian porn site. He fled as fast as his legs could carry him down the sidewalk. He ran into a few pedestrians along his way hoping the sky babies would descend upon them instead.
Thomas spotted the deli which had been his original destination when this all started. He hoped to hide in there. Thomas had read on the Internet that sky babies had difficulty opening doors, so it seemed like a safe bet. He ran across Granby Street and nearly made it before a smart car hit him. Thomas and the car bounced off each other, and Thomas hoped that the sky babies would descend upon the driver of the small pseudo-vehicle. Thomas fled the scene, seeking refuge in the deli. The driver of the smart car was out of his car now and waved his fist in the air looking remarkably like a driver of an ice cream truck. Thomas watched as man got back into the car and puttered away with the faux air of superiority which hung over the smart car like a particularly noxious fart.
Thomas could see the faint shadows cast by the flocking sky babies moving about the street. Cars passed under them, as well as people about down going about their day. Thomas knew that if they bothered for one moment to look to the sky they would see what he was running from. Then he realized that it was because he looked to sky that the sky baby picked him. His innocent glance to the heavens had marked Thomas. The sky babies were there and prepared to inflict themselves upon him.
Thomas ordered the sandwich he had been wanting. After finishing it he noticed no flitting sky baby shadows upon the pavement outside. He left the deli studying the pavement with every step.
Thomas never looked up again.
# # #
Submitted for the February writing challenge, “Baby.” This story was written in response to the prompt, “It was several seconds before Thomas realized that the baby in the sky was headed straight for him.”
Marty Nozzarella is a weird guy living in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife and two daughters. Neither of them fell from the sky. His other work can be found at www.duckandcoverstudios.com.