The infant was tiny for two months and appeared even smaller in Maguire’s massive body builder arm. The baby, not yet filled out with baby fat, showed veins that made Maguire’s already large veins seem even larger and ready to pop his skin on notice. While Maguire held Baby, my baby, Adam, was asleep in his car-seat-carry thing.
Maguire’s wife Pam, tan and blonde, sat next to him at the kitchen table. She looked her same extraordinary self. This was our first get-to-gether with the Maguires since the babies were born. We had met at natural child birth classes. Me and Elaine, and Ben and Roxie, became parents the same weekend as the Maguires. The Maguires kept to themselves, but the four of us became friends.
Roxie and Elaine were no slouches in the looks department, but unlike Pam, neither spent two hours a day working out. Our wives looked great to Ben and me. We were just happy to have passed the six week mark.
“I’d been X-ing out the days on our kitchen calender and one evening I noticed that week four had a quarter smiley face sticker,” I said. “I knew Elaine was roaring and ready after I saw half a smiley face on week five and a full smiley face on the beginning of week six.” Elaine blushed. Pam turned away.
“We went out that last night for a non-celibation celebration,” Ben said to Maguire.
“Some celebration,” Roxie laughed. “They took us to the Panda and Dragon Restaurant so we could be out of there and home in an hour. What do you think of that, Maguire?”
Maguire was engrossed with Baby and didn’t answer.
Suddenly, as if a great idea had come upon him, Ben asked, “Do you think there may be a market for “non-celibation” cards for new fathers?”
“Why limit it ?” I asked. “How about for released prisoners, astronauts, and defrocked clergy?”
“Good idea. Add commercial fisherman, explorers, and sequestered jurors to the list.” Ben said.
Ben and I were having a good time, then I noticed Pam’s hands flat on the table, her eyes downcast.
Maguire held Baby in front of his face, smiled, and licked Baby’s cheek. “Baby, Baby,” he said.
“Bet you were glad to have those six weeks out of the way, Maguire,” I said, doing my best Groucho leer.
“Six weeks? What is this six weeks deal?”
Pam stood. “Coffee and cake, everyone?”
Maguire licked Baby’s other cheek, twice. Big, full-tongued licks. “Don’t go ruining all your hard work with that sugar, Pammy,” he said without looking at her.
Roxie and Elaine started to follow Pam into the kitchen, but she waved them off. She took a little too long bringing out coffee, cake, and a bowl of fruit. Elaine and Roxie wore loose fitting shirts over stretch slacks. Pam looked svelte in a bright blue pullover top and matching mini-skirt. Pam’s eyes were a bit red. Elaine and Roxie chatted her up with small talk. Maguire had Baby’s foot in his mouth and didn’t notice anything else. He licked Baby’s feet. First one, then the other. Maguire licked noisily. “Any closer to a name yet?” I asked.
Elaine picked up Adam and handed him to me as she opened her blouse and bra. She unsnapped the front of the bra, took Adam, and began nursing without any attempt at being discreet.
Pam bit into an apple and watched. Maguire, turning away from Elaine, now had Baby’s leg in his mouth—up to the knee. He slid it out with a whooshing sound.
“We’re waiting a little bit longer for her to develop a personality so we can fit the name. Too many kids hate their name and I don’t think they would if they weren’t named so quickly.”
“Is there a cut-off point?” I asked. “Say, kindergarten?”
“I finally got Maguire to settle on five names,” Pam said. “Each week we drop one name off the list and the one we end up with is Baby’s new name.”
“I’m getting quite fond of Baby,” said Maguire.
He turned Baby to face us, and with his massive tongue licked Baby’s back as if he was painting it with a roller. Pam pretended not to notice. I took a sip of coffee and when I looked up from my cup I saw Ben entranced with Maguire who now had Baby’s arm in his mouth—all the way up to her armpit and he was sucking on it—sucking it into his mouth and pulling it out.
“Oh my God, the sitter,” Ben said to Roxy.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “We don’t have to be home for another hour.” She put her palm to her forehead and closed her eyes as she realized the missed opportunity.
“Salt?” Ben asked no one in particular, but I think that I was the only one who understood. Biting my lip to keep from laughing I walked over to their entertainment center. Calmed, I asked if I could put on some music.
“Sure,” said Pam.
Ben followed me across the room . “Any Maurice Chevalier?” he asked under his breath.
“Ben,” I said. “Be serious for a minute.”
He nodded. “Don’t you think it’s stingy of Maguire not to share?”
“If Maguire keeps that up with Baby’s arm,” I said, “do you think Baby will have an orgasm and her little fingernails will fly into his mouth?” Ben turned away from me and I knew he was attempting to stay composed.
I put Brubeck on as Maguire joined us. He held Baby face down in both his palms as if he were serving canapes. He was licking her side and probing her underarm with his tongue. He slurped.We headed for the living room. I looked over at our wives turning pages in a photo album.
“Tell me, guys,” Maguire asked sitting in his lounger, “what is this six month deal you keep talking about?”
"Six months? You mean six weeks,” I said.
“Okay. Six weeks.” Maguire took a lick-break. “What’s the deal?” The wives joined us. Pam held the bowl of fruit in one hand and bit into a pear.
“Is that your second piece of fruit, Pammy?” Maguire asked. Pam put the pear in a napkin.
“Go on with your conversation, guys,” Elaine said, shooting Maguire a look, “we don’t want to miss out on anything.”
“I’m explaining the six week rule to Maguire,” I said. “Can you believe he thought I said six months?”
“Six weeks is the time, the minimum time the doctor says, to wait before having sex,” Ben said.
“No,” I said. “That’s not exactly right, Ben.”
I looked over at Maguire and was immediately sorry I had. He was licking Baby’s head—big swirls of tongue going round and round her fine wispy brown hair. “Maguire,” I said, “listen.”
He stopped licking and looked at me.
“Six weeks is considered the normal healing time for a woman before having intercourse. That’s different from sex. Sex, in some form or another you can have right away— and often with your own wife,” I said, smiling at my own joke.
Maguire had a blank look on his face. Elaine and Roxy giggled. Pam didn’t.
“This whole discussion is disgusting and not really necessary.” Maguire went back to licking Baby from heel to diaper.
“He won’t come near me,” Pam said, “until I’m back to my normal weight and shape.”
“We hardly could tell you were pregnant,” Roxy said. “How much weight did you gain?”
“Twelve pounds. “I’ve lost nine already,” she said.
“Pam, I could work up a real dislike for you,” Roxy said. “I gained thirty- five.”
Elaine looked up from her pastry and nodded.
Maguire appeared indifferent to the conversation. He had both of Baby’s legs in his mouth, his head tilted back like a sword swallower.
“What about your husbands?” Pam was the only one not looking at Maguire. Elaine wiped her mouth. “What about them?”
“Are they turned off by your weight?”
“We had sex two hours before Ben drove me to the hospital,” Roxy said, “and I had to keep a stick on my side of the bed when I got home.”
Pam looked astonished.
Maguire pulled the sword legs from his mouth, “Whoa,” he said. “Certain things should remain private.”
“So Maguire won’t have intercourse—how about other things?” Elaine asked.
“He says he gets turned off seeing me naked.”
“It’s the extra weight, Pammy,” Maguire said, “It’s nothing new to you. It’s not like my attitude is a surprise.” He began licking Baby on her face—from neck to hair.
“Three pounds disgusts him?” Roxy asked.
Maguire performed his nod and lick maneuver.
“You know how much he is into the body,” Pam said.
Maguire held Baby up, under her arms, facing forward while he leaned over her. He moistened his lips, and with his cavernous mouth wide open, filled his mouth with the crown of Baby’s head. Slowly he worked his mouth down to her eyes. Pam bolted from the room. Maguire didn’t notice either that or when Elaine and Roxy followed and brought back our coats. Ben and I stood to leave. Our wives waited by the door. We watched Maguire with Baby’s head in his mouth, from her wispy brown hair down to and covering her nose and he appeared to be heading for her chin as we left the room without looking back over our shoulders, listening fearfully for a belch.