Once upon a time there lived a man named Dewey Watkins, and his pretty wife Bipsy. Dewey and Bipsy lived in a pretty pink house on a big broad street in a whole neighborhood of pretty houses. The roof of their house was painted kelly green. Sometimes, especially in lovely weather, their roof would hover just a few inches above their house.
Dewey and Bipsy would be home, watching television or dusting, and they’d notice a thin strip of blue sky running all around the top of their living room.
“Look!” says Dewey. “Roof’s up again!”
“Isn’t that the gosh-darndest thing?” says Bipsy.
Dewey had a job at the Spongee Bread factory. His job was to make sure that each and every loaf that made it into the red and white checkered Spongee bag was suitably soft and pliant. He sat on a stool before a conveyor belt that slowly moved past him a never-ending train of Spongee bread loaves. With an expert touch, Dewey would reach out, and prod each one of them. If his little poke mark hadn’t disappeared in about two seconds, well then, that loaf of bread just didn’t have what it took to be a Spongee loaf.
“Too bad,” Dewey would say, tossing the loaf over his shoulder.
When Dewey came home after work, there was nothing he enjoyed better than to have his humongous black dog Slicko gnaw on his toes. As soon as Slicko heard that door latch give, he would stop whatever he was doing and come lumbering right over, dead anxious to wrap his gums around the toes of Dewey’s wedgies. (And gums it was, too, for Slicko had no teeth. Something happened to them.)
Every day Dewey would stand just inside the doorway, holding his lunch pail, while ol’ Slicko gummed his toes.
“Hi, honey!” he’d say, waving to Bipsy. “It’s me!”
One night, after a delicious dinner of cubed avocados and fried lavender cakes, Bipsy slowly put down her fork, a sparkle dancing in her eyes.
“Oh, pipsy-poo,” she said coyly.
Dewey looked up from his plate. “Yes, honey-bunchums?”
“I’ve got a surprise for you!”
Dewey, his face a picture of wide-eyed wonder, said, “What’s a ‘surprise,’ Bipsy?”
“A surprise, Dewey, is something you couldn’t imagine in a million, trillion years, no matter how hard you tried.”
“Oh,” said Dewey puzzledly.
“You’ll never guess what it is.”
“I guess not!”
“It’s a baby!” said Bipsy, jumping up from the table and walking proudly over to the kitchen pantry. She reached in, and pulled out a little burbling baby boy, all wrapped up in blue and pink blankets. She held it in her arms so that Dewey could see its little face.
Dewey quickly pushed back his chair a few feet.
“Oh, that’s a white one!” he said. Then, watching the baby, a smile came over his face. He held out his arms. “Toss it here!” he said.
Bipsy said, “Now Dewey, you big sinister idiot, this is a little baby boy, not a Frisbee. It just came today.” She gazed lovingly at the baby. “Someday, this baby will make us happy.”
“When?” said Dewey.
“Someday,” said Bipsy. “I just know it. Why, it’ll wear little red and white striped hats, and eat delicious marshmallows and sweet Hostess Twinkies, and call to us sometimes.”
“When?” asked Dewey.
“Well, like if it got stuck up in a tree. Or maybe it will try to swim, and will sink like a rock. Who do you think our baby will call to, if not to us?”
“Nobody,” said Dewey earnestly.
“That’s right. Nobody. Just to us. And if this baby ever needs us, why, we’ll come a’runnin’, because that’s what babies are for. And that’s what we’re for now, to live and breathe and spend every moment of our lives just trying to be of service to this little critter.”
Dewey swallowed a bite of avocado. “Can I still go to work?” he asked nervously.
“Yes, you can. And I will, too. Whenever I want to. But at first I won’t want to. I’ll just want to stay with this baby, and cuddle it all the time, and tickle its little thingamajig, and clean out its ears with a wet cloth. Oh, won’t it be wonderful, Dewey? Won’t we just be the most wonderful little family that ever assembled under one roof?”
“You bet we will!” exclaimed Dewey. He held out his arms again. “C’mon, Bipsy. Let me hold the little son of a gun.” Bipsy gently handed the baby to Dewey, who cradled it lovingly in his arms.
“Gee,” said Dewey. “It barely looks human.”
“I think it does,” said Bipsy. “I think it looks like you.”
Bipsy stood watching Dewey and the baby—until the buzzer on the washing-machine in the garage went off.
“Oops!” said Bipsy. “Laundry time!”
“Go ahead,” said Dewey, his eyes still fixed on the baby. “I won’t eat it.”
“Oh, Dewey,” laughed Bipsy, smacking him lightly on his ear. “You’re such a freak of nature. Okay,” she said, wiggling her fingers good-bye as she stepped through the kitchen door out into the garage. “You two boys behave yourselves!”
“Okay!” said Dewey. Alone, he continued to look at the baby, who was staring intently past his shoulder at the light above the dining table.
Dewey suddenly felt one of his toes itching. Bending forward to give that toe a good scratching, he accidentally knocked the side of the baby’s head against the table. Although it was only a light rap, it left a slightly sunken spot on the baby’s head. Dewey watched that spot, expecting it to quickly pop back into shape, like it should. But the impression stayed just where it was.
“Too bad,” said Dewey, tossing the baby over his shoulder.