31 “Bop bop, baby, don’t stop!”

While the dead bicyclist was swept away and little Drew and Aunt Kar enjoyed the aromas of “coffee and confusion” in San Anselmo’s most popular cafe, another baby held court at a table for six. Baby Drew noticed that his contemporary seemed to draw bicyclists to him like flies, by the simple fact of being a baby and employing some of the concommitants.
One of the lycra monsters, who hadn’t removed his helmet, saw fit to squat before this other and ask several questions, with occasional nods to the beaming parents. They addressed age, pre-school, and further matters of concern to a stranger whose adrenalin promoted deep indentification with Providence.
Baby Drew knew the type, even though he wasn’t permitted to talk to bicyclists. People of every diversion squatted without invitation to speak to babies. In his very own pre-language, he told himself the spectacle was pathetic. Besides, not a few of these “glad hand Harrys,” as Drew had heard them called by Granny Guss, were possessed of bad breath.
“Alfred!” the Plip Plop’s barrista shouted genially, “Double wet non-fat cappucino.” Baby Drew and Aunt Kar took a couple of steps forward in line.
“Can you say the alphabet?” the bicyclist cooed, still with helmet strapped on his head. Drew suspected, from a distance, the forward fellow was compensating for a double chin, or at least the beginning of pouchiness. It was an anathema to the sport, as it were, of bicycling as opprobrious as the Guss house and home was to the solid citizens of the Yolanda Drive, Alder Avenue confluence.
The baby’s mother finally broke out of basking repose and gladly told her child’s chummy interrogator that her son could count, at which the child pounced. He counted to twelve perfectly, and continued:
“Sixteen, nineteen, seventy!”
“Oh!” everyone laughed but the baby, whom Drew, a few steps closer than before, assumed had been sincere.
“Smoothie, blueberry, and a croque monsieur!”
The milk foamer on the espresso machine made its signature Whoosh!. The multi-pierced cashier accepted the next customer’s bills and watched out of the cynical corner of her eye whether change dropped into the tip pitcher half a hand’s width from their fleshly exchange.
With a spoon, the baby holding court at the table for six, mother and father and family friends and the self-invited bicyclist, hit same on his helmet when he appeared to lose interest and stood.
Drew observed all this, and instead of holding the child’s step into bathos against him, decided the kid, given his overriding statement at the end, might be someone worth knowing.
As for the bicyclist, Drew thought if he was looking for numbers all in a row, Drew had a mother he could introduce him to.
He wasn’t exclusively critical, and the clangings and hisses and choppings behind the counter, given the safe feeling of his hand in Aunt Kar’s – and knowing, in “The Madison” phrase, he was looking good, cabana-style – were pleasant music to his tiny ears.
Of course, the adults, so to speak, of San Anselmo couldn’t resist such a cute little thing. Drew was approached by one of them* in bicycle togs conforming to the enthusiast’s who’d just been bopped on the head. It was a chance for one to out-do the other, true to their insipid non-stop competitive spirit.
Drew gave the baby the high sign, who caught it and, ignoring his entourage, waited.
“Aren’t you quite the little guy?” the sportsman, as it were, stooped and gushed.
At first, Drew stepped back, believing the man was a big fly. Then he responded evenly, his first real words ever.
“Get lost.”
While Aunt Kar hugged and kissed him, giddy with honor to be there for this milestone event, Drew peered over her shoulder at the table for six. The baby winked back.

*It begs the question why they weren’t at Memorial Park to support their team at tournament time, when games were scheduled morning ’til night.


One Response to “31 “Bop bop, baby, don’t stop!””

  1. Peter Smith Says:

    This impending conspiracy of tough babies is totally original.

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