Play Nice

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Patricia

Briefly

[This is where the summary would go if I'd bothered to write one.]

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Baby Beluga

He lived on the 3rd floor, on top of the woman who thought he was too loud and below the man who constantly played children’s music. This wouldn’t be so strange if only the guy had any kids. As far as Tim could tell the poor guy didn’t even leave his apartment. It had gotten so that Tim found himself humming the peppy little tunes at the strangest times.

Just last week a woman on the subway asked him how old his kids were. “What?” he asked, surprised.

“How old is your child or is it children?” she repeated.

“I don’t have any kids. Why do you ask?”

“I’m sorry. I thought I heard you humming Baby Beluga.”

“Was I humming that again?”

She stared at him for a few seconds before turning her head towards the map of the subway system. She pretended to be engrossed in the multi-colored graphic. 

He shrugged and turned his attention back to the newspaper in his hand. But the damage had been done. Now he was totally aware of the tune looping about his brain.

Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.

Maybe it all wouldn’t be so bad if he could just get past that one verse. He closed his eyes and tried to fall asleep. It would be a while before he reached his destination.

“Weirdo,” she thought. Why did she always get stuck sitting next to the weirdos?  Served her right for even trying to start up a conversation. She’d thought she couldn’t go wrong by talking to a man who was humming a children’s song.

“Oh my. I hope he isn’t one of those child molesters,” she thought. The idea disturbed her so much that she got off at the next stop even though this meant she’d have to walk an extra four blocks home.

The walk would do her good. She could clear her head. Today had been a trying day. She liked being helpful, but today had tested even her saint-like patience. How did people get dressed in the morning, she wondered.

As she rode the escalator up to street level she hummed the song.

Way down yonder where the dolphins play, Where they dive and splash all day, The waves roll in and the waves roll out, See the water squirting out of your spout. Baby beluga, baby Beluga, sing your little song,

That had always been Brent’s favorite children’s song. She thought about her son and wondered how he was doing. He hadn’t returned her call from a week ago. This worried her. Many things concerning her son worried her, even though he told her repeatedly that she had nothing to worry about. Nonsense, she always said. She would stop worrying when she was dead and perhaps not even then.

Why he’d chosen such a life was a puzzle to her. She sighed and quickly corrected herself. She could almost hear Brent now, his voice full of frustration and exasperation. ‘How many times do I have to tell you I didn’t choose to be gay?’  He could get so worked up sometimes. He got that from his father.

She didn’t realize that she’d gone from humming the song to singing it quietly under her breath.

A teen-age boy, around 15 perhaps, caught a snippet of the song as he rode the down escalator. “Dayum. I haven’t heard that shit for a long time. I used to love that song,” he thought. As he walked to the turnstile he tried to recall the lyrics to a song he hadn’t heard since he was a child.

Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea, Swim so wild and you swim so free.

Published 09/05/02 in Writing • | Views: 1934 times | Print

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