Walt could not be more pleased with their baby boy, now they’d had him home a couple of weeks. With his fuzz of orange hair and sparkling green eyes, the child glowed. Rando laughed almost as soon as he came from the hospital. Ginger’s Dad called when he got back from The Islands. He could hardly believe it. He had given up hope of his only child making him a grandparent.
Rando came three weeks early, fully formed, Walt informed Ginger’s Dad. Would you believe it? A father at forty-two, after a double bypass hit him wham, sucker punch to the solar plexus. Ten days later he had this fine scar down his naked chest. They took the few chest hairs he had before surgery. Never grew back. He missed them. He had given each one a name and knew their families.
Turned out, they didn’t need the specialist after all, just like Paul said a few years back. When Paul said he was glad it worked out, whatever the reason, Walt insisted he knew the reason. He had taken the nasturtium cure. He had a new crop in the kitchen window already, happily germinating themselves. When they lift the paper towel, they’re ready for planting.
Nasturtiums, hey? Where do you apply them? Ha, ha, ha!.
I don’t know, said Walt, but they exude a healthy air, sir. There’s a patch out there ready for them, ten feet wide, bordered by lilies to either side. Those little pea-sized seeds grow into the loveliest vines covered with orange flowers.
And don’t the butterflies like them? Hummingbirds as well. They communicate a quietly robust air.
How do you mean, said Paul, communicate? And, like I said, where do you put them?
Well, said Walt, once they cover that wall there, I come out here in my shorts and stand in front of them with my arms spread and get myself irradiated. Their influence suffuses me with masculine energy. I suppose it would do the same for you or even a woman, so watch your wife around these things. You don’t want her growing a beard.
A beard, you say.
Five minutes each working day this past summer, 10:30 on the nose, I drop my shorts around my ankles and take it full on the apparatus. Just five minutes and during this time the two of us in rut irrespective of the time of day. And there you have the proof, right in there, the old QED in that bouncing boy.
Walt, Paul said. It’s finally happened. You’ve lost your mind.
Nope, said Walt. They told me I had lost my mind when I married your daughter. But then I found it behind the furnace, where the dog dragged it.
Have you told anyone else about this?
It stays in the immediate family.
Thank you for sharing that charming story. Now, would you please put Ginger on?
Well, sir, she’s nursing the baby right now, and I don’t think you’d want to talk to her in her present state. She’ll call you back sometime.
Well. All right, I suppose. What choice do I have?
There you go, said Walt.
Robert Pope’s most recent book is Disappearing Things: Selected Flash Fiction of Robert Pope, which includes flash fiction that first appeared in Fictive Dream, Granfalloon, Mystery Tribune, The Fictional Café and others.