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Apr. 29th, 2015 09:34 pm
sekritomg: (mew mew)
[personal profile] sekritomg
Just a little thing I won't finish about Jimbo babysitting for Stan and Shelly. I don't know if I wrote this before <lj user=formerdinosaur> posted her fic about the same idea, but that one's more complete/finished/better-executed, so check it out.


The first time Jimbo is asked to watch the baby, he’s neither pleased nor put-off, merely surprised. Randy, who’s always postured more like a drinking buddy than a half-brother, makes the request. It’s his anniversary, and Sharon wants a night in the city. “Well, Randy, I don’t know anything about looking after kids,” Jimbo says, scratching at the back of his neck. They’re drinking at Skeeter’s, hunched over the bar on a late Wednesday afternoon. At first Jimbo hadn’t been sure why Randy had offered to put Jimbo’s Coors on his tab, but now it makes sense.

“Aw, there’s nothing to it.” Randy picks at the bowl of pistachios in front of them and stares into his drink. “If it’s crying it means one of three things: He’s hungry. He needs a new diaper. Or he wants to go to sleep.”

“What if he’s not crying?”

“Then he doesn’t want one of those three things.”

“But if he doesn’t want one of those three things, then what do I do with him?”

Randy shrugs. “I dunno. Play with him, I guess.”

“And this is all okay?” Jimbo asks.

“Hell, yeah. Sharon’s been dying to get out of the house for weeks now.”

“I mean — with me and Ned?”

Randy snorts. “Well, no offense, Jimbo, but I think my influence is strong enough to counteract whatever kind of fruity … impression Ned might leave.”

“Ned — he’s not fruity.” Jimbo is surprised by how the insinuation that anything’s wrong with Ned, of all people, hurts his feelings, just a little.

“That guy’s fruitier than a bag of tangerines,” says Randy. “That mustache isn’t fooling anyone.”

“You have a mustache.”

“I know, but this is a totally normal, manly kind of mustache. Ned’s is — I dunno, can he even grow a regular mustache?”

Ned has literally had the same exact facial hair since Jimbo met him 25 years ago. “You know, it never — I’m not sure.”

“Well, anyway.” Randy’s beer is finished, so he slides off his stool, slapping Jimbo on the back. “You’ll do fine, big guy.”

Childcare aside, the whole situation makes Jimbo nervous. There's such potential for so many things to go wrong. He keeps his head down, living well outside of town and trying not to get involved with drama there. The more he and Ned keep to themselves, the fewer questions raised. He's held the baby once before, at the baptism. It was as brief as anything, a fleeting moment in the parade of people who wanted to get their hands on little Stanley. Even as a young man Jimbo knew he'd never have children. The idea of two of them in his home for the night is baffling.

Ned is so stoic about things; Jimbo finds it weirdly reassuring. "It's just one night," he says, voice crackling through the electrolarynx. "How hard could two kids be?"

"It's not that they're hard," Jimbo says, "it's just -- something else."

"You don't have to."

"No, I want to. Randy never asks me to do anything."

"He's an asshole," Ned says.

"Yeah, buddy." Jimbo sighs. "I know."

When they drop the kids off, Sharon holds onto the baby until the last possible second. "We usually leave them with our neighbors," she says. "They have a baby, too. He's a little younger than Stanley. But I guess they're busy tonight or we'd -- yeah."

"It's okay." Jimbo takes his hat off, to try to look less threatening. "I'll take good care of him."

"No guns," Sharon says.

"Aw, really?"

"Yes, please, just don't. It's only one night."

"Well, I'll have my Smith & Wesson on me, I always do. Just in case something comes in."

"We're in the middle of nowhere," Sharon says, "who's coming in?"

"Not who," Jimbo corrects her, "but what. Maybe a bear."

"Randy, are you hearing this?"

He is sulking by the door, and he brushes her off. "We should go," he says, shaking out his watch. "Reservation's at 7, so--"

"All right, all right." Sharon rolls her eyes, and finally, hands the baby over to Jimbo. She kisses him on the top of his head -- the baby, not Jimbo. "Be good for your Uncle Jimbo," she says. The baby beams at her. "Mommy's gonna miss you."

"We'll miss you, too," Jimbo says, kind of meaning it.

He carries the baby into the kitchen and puts him on the table. "Okay, Stanley," he says, looking down on his little nephew. The baby has thin dark hair and big blue eyes, the kind of kid you see on TV trying to sell you some Kleenex or maybe a life insurance policy. Stanley's looking up at Jimbo with those damn eyes, like he's wise beyond his years. He stuffs his fingers in his mouth.

"Hey," says Jimbo.

"Buh," says the baby.

"What do you mean?"

Stanley takes his fingers out of his mouth. They're dripping with spit. "Bah!"

"I'm really at a loss here."

He balls his hands together, waving them around. He screeches, but stops when it's clear this action isn't eliciting the response he wants. "Buh," he says again, putting his fingers back in his mouth.

"I wish I knew if you were supposed to be doing that."

"There's a pacifier in the diaper bag."

Jimbo swirls around to see Shelly standing there, her limp brown hair arranged into stringy pigtails. She has a kind of sour tone, though it's hard to pick out under her thick lisp. "When he gets fussy you gotta give him a pacifier."

"He's not fussy -- is he?"

"I dunno," says Shelly.

March 2016

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