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Two Dead Babies in a Thunder Bay Hotel Room
Every now and then, a news story punches you in the stomach. And you imagine it like you were there.

Two dead babies in a Thunder Bay motel room.
Just shy of my 55th birthday. Not too young to raise kids again, right? Shelagh called before I left Alberta, says she wishes she'd taken the time off work to come with me. Says she's worried about the black ice. No worries. I've driven across Canada five times. And you can't say I don't have the experience with tots. hell, I'll be the one showing her the ropes when it comes to diapers.

Everyone knows it's for the best. Convinced the courts and family to grant me custody of the twins from my slacker son who thinks he's too good for rubbers and his jailbait girlfriend who smoked John Players' Special all through her pregnancy.

They were kind of relieved to see the babies off, I think. Along with all the toys, diapers, bottles, two warm, small bodies, al wrapped in blankets, snoozing--is that wheezing or snoring? So little, you can't believe it.But perfect. And, well, two is a lot, but you've done this before, haven't you? Got the carseats that belonged to Janice's little ones and geez, they are a lot sturdier these days. Lots more belts and head props. I hear they are getting tough with the carseat laws. I remember when Audrey was this age, we'd just wrap her in a comforter and lie her down beside you on the front seat, tickling her belly at stoplights.

I know my share about sick babies. That time when there was blood in Kevin's diapers--nearly sent me into cardiac arrest, but he was fine. Doctor said babies are far more resilient than you'd think. But the twins. If they'd only cry a bit more, I'd feel better.

Long, long, drive, but not far now from Thunder Bay. Shit, the girls look all red. the doctor said to give them loads of fluid and to keep them warm and I can't pump the heat much higher in this car. I'm already down to my sitnking t-shirt.

Pull over to the side of the road and touch their foreheads, bellies. Geez, they are both hot. Emmy's little face is all scrunched up and her mouth is open like a baby bird, but she isn't making a sound. Annie's eyes are open and she is looking right at me, the little tadpole. Just 15 minutes to Thunderbay, and I'll get your formula all warmed up.
Shit. shit. fuckinshit. mighty hell. the car won't start and I think the engine is flooded. Stupid fucking mechanic told me it would take me back to Grand Bend and back again if I wanted. Rocks in his head, that dopehead fucker.

Hail a passing truck. No I can't call the CAA, I've got these two little girls in the back they're kinda sick and I was supposed to feed them 45 minutes ago, and I am scared shitless cuz the smaller one is weezing like a lifetime smoker. Holy shit, just help me push this to the side of the road. I'll load this stuff into your car, and there. Sorry, man, I owe you for this. This is the worst night of my life. No..well..yes, they are mine. My son's.I'm taking them back to Grand Bend to live with me and my wife for a while. Swear to God, the worst night of my life.

Check into the Thunder Bay Motel Services NOW OPEN room and take off their snowsuits.Why the hell do hotel managers have to look so suspicious at you all the time and no I am not a kiddie porn sicko, fuck you very much.

Heat up the formula on a hot plate and change their sopping diapers. They are soaked through their sleepers. Christ. hands all balled up like fists.

C'mon, c'mon, eat, emmy. there's a girl, cry all you want. Just eat. Annie, just staring at me still, puffy eyelids rolled back a bit, looking doubtful, I think. probably thinkng: who is this joker? Drink, please, drink! Two is a lot. Two is twice as hard as one. here, lemme turn down the T.V.

I am dying for a smoke. or ten. whiskey. fucking valium... No. Just a smoke.

Put them in the basket on the floor and run to the bathroom for a smoke. Open the window and light a Vantage. inhale deep. Up on tiptoes, puff it out the window. Freezing bay air comes in, all my arm hair stands on end. christ. I shouldn't leave them alone. They are both crying now.

Finally get them settled. Dozed off for about 20 minute with Annie on my chest. God, that feels good, that featherweight helplessness, that blind trust, the wrinkly goodness, the inscrutable love.

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