Tock by Chauna Craig

The baby latched on like he was starving. He’d fed an hour before. And an hour before that. I nursed a water bottle while the baby nursed me, and we both listened to the insistent clock tock.

At least there would be trout for dinner. I hoped.

“Traffic,” he said, when he finally walked in, whiskered now and shadowy.

“Traffic? Was there an antelope stampede? A cattle drive? Was it grasshopper rush hour?”

He brushed a thumb over the baby’s brow. The baby flinched, and I rocked faster. “Sometimes,” he said, “You’re still funny.”

He started water for a shower, I started water for pasta, and the baby drowsed, his seat set to a gentle bob. When, soapy clean but still faintly fishy, my husband appeared, I asked what he’d caught.

“Nothing worth keeping.” He reached for my hand, holding it up by a finger. “Where’d you leave your ring this time?”

“I take it off when I bathe him. You know that.”

“Someday,” he said, “you’re going to lose it.” He dropped my hand to crack open a beer. I watched the water bubble into a slow boil.


Chauna Craig is the author of the story collection The Widow’s Guide to Edible Mushrooms and associate editor of Best Small Fictions 2018. Her flash fiction has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, People Holding, Flash International, and elsewhere. She is creative nonfiction editor at Atticus Review.