by Stephen V. Ramey

baby pacifier

Photo Pacifier – © Pahham |

Flame burst from the ground after baby Adam’s first word.

“Fuck!” baby Adam said, and Whoosh! the backyard lit up. Even through the windowpane, Miriam felt its heat.

She turned from the window, frown imprinted upon her face. “You taught him that, Joe. You and your foul mouth.”

Joe chuckled. “I think it’s cute. Wait ’til I tell the guys at the mill.”

“This is not funny!” Miriam shouted. She jabbed her hand toward the window. “Do you think that’s a laughing matter?”

Joe’s smile scrunched down but did not entirely disappear. “Well, it’s kind of impressive.”

“What it is,” Miriam said, “is a sign from Hell. You’ve cursed Baby Adam, Joe. You’ve cursed us all.”

“Oh, crank it down a notch, would you?” Joe pushed the pacifier into Adam’s mouth. “It’s obviously from the fracking down by the apple orchard.”

Baby Adam spat the pacifier out. “Fuck! Fuck ooh!” He watched the towering flame, eyes glistening with reflection.

Joe looked sheepish. “I’ll call the fracking company in the morning, okay?”

Miriam sniffed. “You do that, Joe. You do that if there’s still a world tomorrow.”

“Oh, come on, Miriam. Just because Baby Adam says an off-color word does not mean the world is coming to an end.”

Miriam glared. She turned and marched down the carpeted hallway. The bedroom door slammed.

Joe sighed. “Fuck. It’s going to be a long night, Baby Adam. She’s really pissed.”

Baby Adam looked up, lips forming an oval. Joe rubbed the pacifier on his pants, pushed it into that baby mouth, and held it firmly in place. I should’ve done that sooner.

Stephen V. Ramey lives in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania, a rust belt city on the edge of resurrection. His work has appeared in various places, and he edits the Triangulation anthologies from Parsec Ink as well as the twitterzine, trapeze. Find him at

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