Mulholland Books Popcorn Fiction Popcorn Fiction - Whacking the Baby by Larry Doyle
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A man goes to great lengths to get some sleep in this darkly hilarious tale from award-winning author/screenwriter Larry Doyle.

Whacking the Baby

I want to kill the baby. These feelings are perfectly normal, I am told by Jimmy Ray DeHavre in A Regular Guy's Guide to Rugrats.

He's monopolizing your wife's funbags, your funbags, sucking all the fun out of them (he's already plowed her love canal into the Chunnel); he's done something to your wife's brain making her a baby slave with no time or inclination to service your needs; he's a crap factory, he's crying every goddam second and you haven't slept in five days: of course you want to kill him. But don't. It's against the law. (p. 29)

My wife bought the book though I doubt she has read it. There is much in it with which she would disagree.

I haven't slept in two-hundred and thirty-four days. According to, I should be experiencing auditory and tactile hallucinations, severe motor and mental impairment, irritability and death.

But more likely, you have slept. Perhaps you have fallen into micro-sleep for periods lasting up to several seconds without noticing. Or perhaps you have fallen asleep and dreamt that you were awake and unable to fall asleep. Nevertheless, sleep deprivation can be a dangerous medical condition. If over-the-counter sleep deprivation drugs prove ineffective (to buy, click here), you should visit a doctor (to make an appointment enter zip code [ ] and click here). If your problem persists, you may need to see a psychiatrist (click here for a live streaming therapy session). She or he will help you identify the source of your sleep deprivation, and eliminate it.

She or he told me that every new father goes through this and that my suspicion that the baby is trying to kill me is unfounded and had I ever been institutionalized? Seventy-five dollars for fifteen minutes.

No point in confiding in the wife. She'll just take the baby's side again. There's definitely something going on between those two.

On day 246, I find myself in Little Italy, not knowing how I got there. I am standing in front of a building that I recognize from a 4news&more report, the location of a social club reputedly frequented by alleged organized crime figures. I go in.

—I need someone whacked, I announce to no one in particular.

They seem entertained by my boldness. They let me up, and ask, who is it that I would like, how did I so colorfully put it, whacked?

—The baby.

I tell them I am not shitting them. They beat me up pretty bad. I walk into the apartment, a faceful of bad meat, and the wife says, quite concerned, I think the baby has an ear infection.

On the jacket of his book it says

Jimmy Ray DeHarve has written several Regular Guy books, including A Regular Guy's Booty Tips, A Regular Guy Wedding Planner and A Regular Guy's Guide to Knocked-Up Wives. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

Directory assistance says there's a James DeHarve on Carroll Street. I call and ask for Jimmy Ray and there is initially some confusion. Finally Jimmy Ray comes to the phone and I confide to him, regular guy to Regular Guy.

—Jesus fuck, he says, did you even read my book? Did you even read the next paragraph?

But trust me, the first time you're walking down the street and he tugs on your arm and says, "Hey, dad, check out the rack on that one," you'll know it was all worthwhile.

I call Jimmy Ray back and tell him I can't wait that long; he hangs up on me, but not before advising me that only a "real scumbag" would even think about killing a baby.

It should be fairly easy finding a scumbag in New York City, you would think. I approach several groups of youths congregating on corners.

—I'm looking for a scumbag.

—Who you calling a scumbag?

Followed by some kind of a beating. Eventually, one fellow owns up to being a scumbag. We make arrangements. For an admitted scumbag, he has a very inflated view of his value.

He is supposed to come on Tuesday night, but doesn't. I'm out a thousand bucks. Never trust a scumbag.

He comes on Wednesday night. I can hear him banging down the hallway. He'll wake the wife.

He'll kill the baby.

The scumbag has a knife.

The wife is downstairs, waiting to let the paramedics in. I am in the baby's room, pinching my gut, trying to form a tourniquet out of a fat roll. I should probably tell the police he was a black guy, or maybe that's racist. I wonder if they'll believe a Chinese guy. The baby wakes up and starts to cry. Great.

My wife won't like me getting blood all over the baby, but I pick him up anyway. Something about my warm, wet lap soothes him. He looks up at me, into me.

—Dah-dah, he says.

He puts a pacifier in his mouth and closes his eyes. I close mine. I'll get some sleep in the hospital, I think, and it's going to be all right.

About the Author

Larry Doyle is the author of the novel, I Love You, Beth Cooper, which won an award, and was made into a movie, which did not. He currently makes his living writing screenplays and writes for magazines whenever he can afford it. His next novel , Go Mutants, will come out next summer, if he finishes it.