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KrisAnne Madaus Life and the Four-Tiered Cake On a tired morning RJ watched his girlfriend Kayla’s baby while she attended her last recovering addicts meeting. He worked third shift operating heavy machinery in a factory downtown, and since last year, when the man who gave him the job was crushed to death by a forklift, RJ felt uneasy. Whenever he got home from work, he was always awake and anxious for the rest of the day.    The baby peeked over the top bar of the Pack N Play and slobbered her teething mouth on it. As soon as Kayla returned this afternoon, they planned to celebrate the baby’s first birthday. He was sure that Rhonda, Kayla’s mom, would make an appearance, too.    Now that the baby was awake, he stopped pacing the room and turned on the TV. Fresh Prince was on—the episode where Carlton finally loses his virginity.    “Can you do the Carlton, Jenny?” he asked the baby. His fingers snapped and his noodle arms swung from side to side. She looked at him and cried.    Kayla warned him about the “stranger danger phase.” It made sense. Jenny was only here on a special court appointed visitation. Her dad, Gino, had had custody since she was born.    The apartment was small. Carpet, piss stained from the last tenant’s dog, would not come clean, and the only furniture (save for the loveseat Kayla had found in an alley) was a barstool that was only useful for ambiance when RJ, after a couple Buds, felt calm enough to play guitar.    He took Jenny out of the playpen and sat back on the loveseat, holding her in place on his bare chest.    Anything with buttons, he learned, was a potential toy, so while he flipped through channels he held his arm out in an arc. He decided on Animal Planet and watched a zookeeper care for a rejected lion cub.    Jenny didn’t go for the remote, but she would not stay still. She was figuring out how to crawl.    The zookeeper raised the lion cub in his home. Photographs of him with his arm buddy-buddy around the lion’s neck panned across the screen in slideshow, the lion growing older with each frame. In the end, the lion turned on the zookeeper, and he was found mangled and gone.    “Sit still,” RJ told Jenny, who couldn’t understand. First her fat knee dug into his gut, and then her fingers reached for the tangled hair of his overgrown beard.    Instinctively, he pushed away from her. It wasn’t a hard push, but she teetered on the edge of the couch, and before his arms could catch her, she fell, landing within one of the larger old piss stains.

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Profile for SprinGun Press

SpringGun | Issue 9 | 2014  

Kiik A.K. • Oxlip and Pearl • page 1 Chaim ben Avram • from the philadelphian talmud • page 2 Jill Darling • Laundry, and Other Domestic Adv...

SpringGun | Issue 9 | 2014  

Kiik A.K. • Oxlip and Pearl • page 1 Chaim ben Avram • from the philadelphian talmud • page 2 Jill Darling • Laundry, and Other Domestic Adv...

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