3 Kids
Bud Smith

My girl, Tracey, has three kids but none of them are hers. She found these kids.

It's none of my business, really.

She alleges she found the first boy, Evel, crawling in the drainage ditch behind her parents' house. She was suntanning on their roof, saw Evel below moving through the reeds like an animal in hunt.

The parents were at Disneyland. They've gone there every year since Tracey's dad turned 40. They've never taken Tracey.

I'm supposed to feel bad about this but I tell her, "The place is horrible, babe. I've been there twice." I've also told her I've been to Afghanistan, two missions, but can say no more.

Drainage ditch, back to the drainage ditch.

There was Evel, naked and covered in green mud, just slopping around on his belly. So Tracey walked out into the yard and walked down the embankment in her bikini and pulled Evel right out of the muck.

He's good at drawing and loves to dance around the house. He's not hypnotized by the Nintendo like his 'brother' Jim, and doesn't sunlight-bounce or moonlight-trampoline-flip like 'sister' Kim, but he still does hunt around the outside of the trailer sometimes, on his belly, like he's stalking some invisible force. Some things you never outgrow.

We found baby Jim and baby Kim lying shirtless on their backs in a red-hot parking lot. Tracey was going to pull into a parking spot. We almost ran them over. But I screamed! So did Evel.

We carried the babies into the store and stood on line at the customer service desk—like to return them. But when the lady said, "Can I help you?" I had second thoughts. We left, and Evel didn't even get the Slip and Slide that was his reward for a good first report card in school.

Tracey drove. I held these two babies. Kim all cross-eyed at first and Jim with his lone tooth. But they were docile babies. And they were lovely babies. And Evel even cradled Kim in his room that night and I explained to him, "Probably you shouldn't mention these babies at school."


"People might get angry."

"Cause we're lucky to find such nice babies?"

"That, yeah, a little that."

"What else?"

"We should have called the cops."


"It's just what you're supposed to do."

"Why?" he said.

"Why what?" I said.

"Why what why?"

"Give me that kid, I want to hold him now," I said.

And Evel pinched my arm where my rose tattoo is and I ignored him. I'm posing as an Army Ranger, not a clerk at the Dollar Store. Army Rangers feel no pain.

And in the other room I heard Tracey with Jim bouncing on her knee and she said, "You're a good baby, yes you are. I'm going to take you somewhere nice soon—" she hissed this— "Dissssssneyland."

Evel has only asked me once to take him with me when I leave. That was years ago. I'm gonna take him hunting next week. I'm going to let him shoot a mean dog.

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