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What Kind of Monsters

Baby (+) On the Way

By Roy StevensPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Top Story - May 2023
What Kind of Monsters
Photo by Jorge Alcala on Unsplash

“But why a Pizza shop?”

“This again? Every time we do the bills you bring this up, honey. It’s just a small shop; it’s more basement than anything!”

“Oh, it’s alright. I’m just a little cranky still from the meeting with Congresswoman Cobbler Browne this morning. Even face-to-face she’s nuttier than a Domaine Leroy d’Auvenay Les Gouttes d’Or! She told me she has proof that global warming is fake because it gets cool at night. Then she got into that reptile people crap again. She even looked at me funny a couple of times!”

Maria laughed at Brent’s discomfort, “Well, you do have that habit of darting out your tongue when you’re anxious…” She brought the discussion back to her pizzeria in Georgetown. “We started up the pizza shop as more of a heritage hobby after my papa died, but it’s starting to bring in good money on weekends now Brent. The weekdays are sure to pick up soon.”

“Yes, it’s alright. I get it. And with you no longer working at the zoo,” he touched her pregnant belly, “the extra income is going to be very helpful. Like I said, it was just that whack-job congresswoman getting under my skin again. I’m behind the pizzeria hundo p.”

“That’s a good thing since we’re buying up half the baby things in D.C. lately!” Maria marshalled her husband into his old den, the new nursery. “Isn’t this sweet?” She held up a jungle motif mobile bearing all kinds of appropriate wildlife figures.

Despite the tigers, elephants and rhinos Brent’s eye was drawn to the crocodile, Komodo dragon and the brown perentie. “Hold the phone, perentie’s aren’t jungle animals!” He pointed at the offending lizard like it was something the neighbor’s skittish cat had just coughed up on their pool deck. On rare occasions having a Herpetologist for a wife came in handy.

“Good for you, Sweetie,” was that a subtle note of condescension in Maria’s voice, “you passed my test and now you can move on to the snake identification round.” She smiled that smile with her glittering green, widely spaced eyes accentuating the protracted bridge of her nose which he found so appealing. Her tiny nostrils flared her amusement with him.

“Snakes! Why’s it always snakes?” Brent grinned back through his deadpan Harrison Ford delivery. As usual, he was already feeling so much better than he had been just a few hours ago.

His job as a D.C. environmental lobbyist for a wildlife fund backed by a very, very deep-pocketed liberal jetsetter was far more stressful than he’d been led to believe when they’d lured him away from the university. Now that Maria had quit her job at the D.C. Zoo to focus on their upcoming baby his trust fund and her investment in the goofy pizzeria felt to him like an awfully thin cushion, especially with a child on the way. Yet Maria could almost always lighten his mood. He sometimes wondered if she didn’t possess latent hypnotist skills.

His wife picked up a box cutter and gestured at a large box leaning against the wall beside the east French windows of the nursery. “Do you still want to assemble the crib tonight? I’ll get it out of the box.”

Brent nodded his agreement as he stepped out of the room to visit the espresso maker; with the monthly bills out of the way it was his way of rewarding himself and Maria. He pulled one of the high Eichholtz kitchen stools away from the island so he could sit and listen contentedly to the sound of the machine at work.

It was a lovely day outside so the AC was turned off and most of the ground level windows were open. The roar of the neighbor’s (they of the hacking cat) gas-powered Maserati MC20 tearing into their drive-thru and squealing to a halt drowned out the pleasant symphony of Brent’s espresso maker but not something else which resembled a yelp of pain or frustration. He pursed his lips half in frustration at the EV hating neighbors who’d transferred recently from Baltimore of all places, and half in apprehension over the source of the yelp.

There it was again just as his coffee was ready. He hopped off of the stool and dashed up the winding staircase to the nursery, imagining all manner of horror befalling Maria. In the nursery his wife was standing by the windows, her back to the doorway. Alarmed, he saw her right hand was raised to her face just before he noticed the partially opened crib box with a piece of the cutter’s blade still jammed under its thick cardboard flap. The rest of the box cutter dangled from the plaster of the ceiling where it was embedded. Brent inhaled. “Are you okay, Sweetheart?” There was no sign of bleeding.

“I’m perfectly alright, Honey, but there’s something you need to know.” She still had her back to him. “It was going to have to come out before the baby… babies arrived, but I wanted to hold off just a little longer, at least until you were more settled with the pizzeria. For obvious reasons I’d have to tell you sooner than later…” She dropped her hand and turned to him, the right side of her face flapping down over her cheek as she moved.

Brent’s left hand leapt to his mouth, stifling a scream. The flying box cutter had sliced off the right side of Maria’s face from her nose to near her jawline. Beneath where the flesh had been, shiny brownish-green scales surrounded a yellow eye with a vertical slit iris blinking back at him.

Maria held in an anxious sob, “I love you, Brent. I’ve loved you ever since we met at the zoo that day! All the hormone shots, the estrogen treatments, that was to make us compatible enough for me to have your babies. There will be lots of them, we usually lay at least a couple dozen when we mate with you mammals. Lizzie Borden had over one hundred once… It’s all for you Brent, I couldn’t bear to live without you!” She grew silent, frozen.

Brent leaned against the wall and slid to the floor, still staring at her with his hand to his mouth. The body-calming techniques of his boyhood Tae Kwon Do lessons helped him center himself. He looked at his wife. If anything, she was even more beautiful to him. Then he thought of the pizzeria and its oversize basement. “You won’t eat our kids, will you?”

Maria’s shoulders dropped in relief as she barked out a laugh, “No silly, we don’t do that! What kind of monsters do you take us for?”


About the Creator

Roy Stevens

Just one bad apple can spoil a beautiful basket. The toxins seep throughout and...

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (41)

  • lovel cute9 months ago

    great content

  • K. C. Wexlarabout a year ago

    Very vivid characters and good thematics

  • MaRaabout a year ago


  • L.C. Schäferabout a year ago

    Oh I HOPED this was where you were going to go with this one! Here's me, fingers crossed, "please she's a lizard, please she's a lizard..."

  • Testabout a year ago

    The depth and authenticity of your characters make them come alive, and I found myself easily connecting with their struggles and triumphs. The way you explore profound themes with grace and sensitivity is both inspiring and thought-provoking. This story has left me with a renewed sense of hope and a deep appreciation for the power of humanity.

  • Moesha Reid about a year ago

    Great one

  • Testabout a year ago

    That was so fun and so well written. Really enjoyed it💙Anneliese

  • Serhat Köseabout a year ago


  • Ricardo de Moura Pereiraabout a year ago

    that nice

  • Ahna Lewisabout a year ago

    The reptile people reference got me wondering at the beginning, but I certainly didn’t expect it to end like it did! Great job with this one and I love how well you played the last line.

  • Md. Yousuf about a year ago

    very good writing skill

  • Andrei Z.about a year ago

    That was one unexpected turn of events! Great read!

  • Yayyyyy congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Samya Mohammedabout a year ago

    Tips anyone please ?? 🥹🫶

  • Samya Mohammedabout a year ago

  • Awesome storytelling 😉✨🎉Congratulations friend on your Top Story🎉🎉🎉

  • ALI HAMZAabout a year ago


  • JBazabout a year ago

    Love that last line...And the rest of this. Jeez I had no idea where you were going with this. So good. Congratulations on Top Story

  • Judey Kalchik about a year ago

    Well that escalated sharply at the end!

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Fun and entertaining story with a twist!!! Roy, it was fabulous!!!💖💖💕 Congratulations on Top Story too!!!

  • Kurt Maxeyabout a year ago

    Gave me a nice chuckle at the end. Very engaging!

  • Ariba Abbasabout a year ago

    Excellent work! I also have stories on my page.Please read and enjoy 😊

  • Testabout a year ago

    Congrats on the top story! Well done! What a great read!

  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    Congratulations on Top Story. Well deserved. I forgot the "like" when I first commented, so I'm glad to have the opportunity now!

  • Naomi Goldabout a year ago

    Congrats! 🥂 I’m so glad to see this as a Top Story. It was one of my favorite reads this week.

Roy StevensWritten by Roy Stevens

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