Later on that night, after the police had come and the excitement over Biggs’ discovery had reverberated throughout the neighborhood, Markoff found himself standing next to his son looking across a dimly lit tent in the direction of Baby Man. Outside, his wife and daughter were sitting at a picnic table eating cotton candy. Here beneath a dirty-striped canopy he watched the freak scream and be pelted with eggs. It was a disgusting site.
The man bordered on being morbidly obese. He wore a diaper and a bonnet in an oversized crib that was set ten feet behind a metal barricade. Red and orange lights shined up at him as he sat cross legged just as an infant would. He was covered in slime and broken egg shells, crying and sucking his thumb. The children laughed and taunted him.
Markoff hadn’t wanted to do this but the carnival was only in town through this weekend and he’d planned on spending most of it either playing golf or out working on his deer lease. The cops that were walking in and out of their cars and taking measurements in the Biggs’ backyard had been all the inspiration that he’d needed to get away from the house and have the whole thing over with tonight. The added fact that Kinkaid had wanted to tag along and see Baby Man for himself only made the outing all the more easier to bear.
The builder watched as his neighbor hurled the six eggs that he had been given at the entrance in rapid succession. Each one hit the grotesque man somewhere on or near his head. Baby Man wailed as they slowly dripped off of him.
“Hot damn!” Kinkaid spat punching Markoff on the shoulder. “I ought to go get some more and just keep throwing them at this sorry bastard all night long. This is fun.”
The builder nodded and patted his son on the arm. “Alright, aim higher than you think you need to.” He told the boy.
He watched as the child gleefully cocked his arm and let an egg fly. The first one fell wide missing the man entirely.
“Straighten it up.” He advised.
When he’d married Myrah six years ago she’d barely been old enough to legally drink but she’d already come with this four year old boy. He was younger then and less mischievous but the builder’s relationship to the child had always been defined by a nervous power struggle between the two of them. The first full month that they’d lived together in the same house the kid had pretty much tried to drive Markoff away from his mother every second of the day.
The builder would come down in the mornings to find his shoes pissed in or a pile of blueprints lying torn and scribbled all over in his study. The boy always claimed innocence and Myrah favored him so much that there was little that Markoff could do in the way of discipline. It took time, video games, new bikes, and an entire collection of beeping robot toys before the kid started to forget his real father and give the builder the kind of respect that he needed in order to live under the same roof. In a sense, he’d bought her sons love fair and square.
He watched as his son side-armed another egg in the direction of the freak. It glanced off the bars of the crib and fell in a moist hulk on the floor.
“Why’d you do that?” Markoff asked leaning in close to the boy. “You know you ain’t got no aim throwing like that.”
The kid nodded.
The builder was younger when he’d met Myrah but still relatively well off. He’d had a few properties on the outskirts of town that had sold for well above their market value and still more on the way. The suburban sprawl had rapidly crept outwards from the borders of Houston and he’d somehow monopolized the areas commercial construction. He had a nice house, a new truck and money in the bank.
They’d been introduced to one another through the family of a foreman that had been working for Markoff at the time. He’d been invited to a Quinceañera that was being held for the man’s daughter and while there his own kid had played with her son all evening long. Back then Myrah was nothing but a shy, soft spoken little Mexican girl who was taking classes in cosmetology and wearing second hand dresses. He found her remarkably attractive and felt the need to take care of her.
At his side the boy quickly rocketed two eggs at the freak. Both of them hit him on the right arm. Baby Man glanced down and sucked his thumb.
Markoff hadn’t wanted to get remarried. The builder had vowed never to do that ever again after his first wife had run off and left him to raise their daughter all alone. She’d just vanished one day with a redneck idiot who’d gotten rich leasing shrimp boats all along the gulf coast. They’d been drinking buddies together when the man was in Galveston for the summers. He owned a vacation home out on West Beach and Markoff had met him through the some early work that he’d done remodeling one of the man’s bait camps to look like a gigantic wave.
One day about eight years ago, the bank had come and called Markoff’s notes on a few of his fledgling properties. The event had damn near sunk him and once he’d settled them and financed all of his existing projects himself both he and his wife were penniless for a time. She’d dealt with this set back by taking up residence in that bastard’s mansion somewhere out by Shreveport. She still got to see his daughter four times a year but only because the builder hadn’t had enough money to hire a better attorney for the divorce at the time.
Markoff looked at his son. “Slow down and think about where you’re throwing.” He said.
“Screw that.” The boy spat. “Mr. Kinkaid didn’t look and he hit him every time.”
The builder watched as the boy hurled an egg in a high arch over the man’s head.
“Slow down.” He said sternly.
The problem with Markoff’s plan to evade ever having to get remarried was that Myrah was very protective of the boy. She wanted insurance that theirs was not just another short term relationship that would end once the builder got tired of her. She might have been soft spoken when they’d first met but she’d told him almost from the beginning that he’d better not be wasting her time. She wielded the boy like a weapon over their courtship and included him on almost all of their dates. Markoff didn’t know what to do.
As they saw one another more and more Markoff continued to look after his daughter, build shopping centers and promise Myrah his devotion. One day, she told him that she wished that there was a grocery store somewhere closer to the apartment where she and her son lived. He built her one a mile and a half away.
For the grand opening they’d left the children with a sitter. The gleaming aisles were stocked with freshly delivered bounty. Myrah said that it was the nicest thing that anyone had ever done for her. Markoff bought her a ring the morning after and they were married in the summer on the beach while a tropical storm loomed on the horizon.
In the tent Markoff watched as slowly their son cocked his arm back and forth gauging his pitch before releasing his final egg. The white shell flew through the air in a tight arch before coming down directly on the freaks forehead. Baby Man flinched and began to wail loudly.
“Hell yeah!” Kinkaid shouted holding his palm out for the boy to slap. “Way to make that stupid gimp cry!”
“Good job son.” The builder said. He patted him gently on the head and for a moment Markoff forgot about everything that annoyed him about being this child’s father.