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First off, if you’re going to blame someone for this, it should be Faye, not me. That woman never explained a damned thing; she just asked me if I had any plans for the next couple of hours. Stupid me, I thought she wanted to hang out with a friend, you know, shoot the shit, bake some brownies, enjoy some girl time—that kind of thing. How was I supposed to know she planned to trick me into watching her kid, whom I hadn’t met, while she slipped off to cheat with the ex-boyfriend, Mr. Wonderful, again? And sure, she said “Taurus” once or twice, and mentioned he was an animal in the sack but, come on, cut me some slack here. She’s a tie-dye wearing, granola-crunching hippie. Of course, I assumed she was talking about his astrological sign.

Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you, not only am I a lousy, hermit crab of a neighbor, I’m also not that good with kids. There’s not a mothering bone in my body. Hell, I hate the little monsters. That’s part of why I’m still single at my age—a conscious decision not to breed. My biological clock isn’t damaged; I disassembled it and scattered all those pathetic frilly cogs and pastel gears to the wind a few years ago. That’s why I waited so long to check on Little Bullman, despite all the weird noises coming from his room.

So I had been sitting on the couch for a while, taking advantage of all the exotic Cable stations I’m too cheap to pay for (don’t judge me) when I started noticing this sound. It was a crazy, audible pattern, emanating from the other side of the kid’s door: thump, squeak, retreat/thump, squeak, retreat—over and over again. At first, I tried telling myself it was nothing, and then I wrote it off as a temper tantrum. Face it, you’d have them too if your mother had given you a shitty name like Little Bullman. Eventually, the fear that the kid might be hurting himself got the best of me, and I put down the spoon and pint of Rocky Road I had snagged from the freezer and crept into the hallway.

Now, I know I’ve told you I’m not the mothering kind but even I was surprised by the series of heavy duty sliding bolt locks I found on the outside of the kid’s door. I mean, who in the hell does that to a three-year-old, right? Seriously, the “terrible two” days were already behind him. He had motor skills and everything; the little guy was catching balls and drawing circles with his crayons now, not drooling and shrieking and trying to eat them. At this point, determined to save Little Bullman from the worst parenting ever, I slid open the locks one by one, and then I twisted the knob and opened the door.

Up until that point, I had thought of Faye as an award-winning housekeeper: Not a dustball on the furniture or a title out of order on the shelf, from Kerouac to Siddhartha to Tolkien. But I’ve got to tell you, that kid’s room was an eye-opener. Seriously, it was a bizarre maze of toys, potted plants, multi-paneled dividers, and over-the-top, museum quality Grecian style furniture. Had I spent a lifetime touring shitty open houses hosted by suicidal realtors in the meth capital of every state, this would still have been the most confounding, chaotic room I had ever seen. Regardless of this, I bravely entered and followed those thump/squeak/retreat sounds around and around, in and out, twisting and turning my way in the direction of poor, neglected Little Bullman.

Just as I was just about to give up hope—the room hadn’t seemed that large when I stepped into it—I saw a glimpse of something just past the next divider. I could have sworn it was a large teddy bear in a Viking helmet, which didn’t phase me. Kids, they have such vivid imaginations, you know? We all did at that age, and there was nothing wrong with it. I had girded the loins of more than one boxful of annoyingly perfect, plastic fashion dolls myself, for warfare and barbarian mayhem, to stem the rising tide of boredom. A smile crossed my face at the thought, and I found myself rounding the corner like a responsible adult, calling Little Bullman’s name softly to ensure I hadn’t startled him.

Before we go any further, I need to make one thing clear. Never before had I flung a child. I’m not one of those non-breeders that ooze giant bucketloads of ill will toward the rest of you and your rugrats. Seriously, that’s not me, and I don’t care how obnoxious the little bastards are. The problem, you see, was that I didn’t know that it was a child at the time. How could I? Faye never told me she was Pasiphaë, freaky bull-loving daughter of the gods, mother to a Minotaur. I thought I was facing down some furry battery-powered demon toy whose on-switch had broken, goring the hell out of Little Bullman’s bed with its surprisingly realistic horns. So I flung him, ran out, screaming at the top of my lungs, and then, I locked the damned door.

The incident might have shaken him up a bit, but the little guy’s a trooper. Really. He’s perfectly fine now. Faye has some New Age Oracle chic moonlighting as a therapist coming by for weekly sessions, and he’s totally forgiven me. No need for curses. Look at me; I’m single, a borderline agoraphobic, and I have the housekeeping skills of a rabid ferret.

—Let’s just call it even, okay?