Flash Fiction: 572 by Dylan Taylor

The baby is coming. Learn each one of these bathroom tiles. Un-cap the bleach, grab the toothbrush, put your nose to the grout. 572 tiles compose the bathroom floor—that makes 2,288 grouted sides. The shower has 391 subway tiles. If you’ve ever seriously considered the incessant propagation of germs at 4 am 8 months pregnant, then when your Better Home’s cover story reads “Subway tiles; Backsplash for life,” you will remember Lysol’s 1% inadequacy.

All sleepwear stained orange, marking the spot your fecund belly has dragged amidst the disinfectant. Before sleep, eyes flutter towards that glowing stain. Gentle reminder to dream of bristles, ammonia, purging grit from grout.

Nightmare, a perfect baby using its tongue, tracing the squares of the bathroom in absolute quietude of deepest, unbabymonitorable night.

You wake up musty, anxious, alert.

Fingertips have lost their prints. Bleach open, toothbrush in hand, when Amy turns on the light.

“What are you doing?”

‘It’s not clean enough. I could feel the bacteria growing.”

She nods, takes her own toothbrush.

“Over there hasn’t been cleansed.”

She kneels. The two of you scrub in unison. Tomorrow her toothbrush will be in the trash, yours, beside the bleach.

The baby is coming.

Dylan is Dad who sneaks off in the small hours to write. Dylan is a writer who spends his afternoons as a dinosaur. He has work published in Entropy Magazine, Literary Orphans, WhiskeyPaper, and Hobart. His book 101 Adages for the Millennial is available through Maudlin House. Find him on twitter @MacTaylor89

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