Early this morning I was traveling down the road and I came across a woman in front of Our Lady of Mercy who was walking a baby. She had the infant on a rigid, white, three-pronged, metal ‘leash’ that ended in a ring that went around the baby’s neck. Because it was stiff and she was holding it out in front of her, the baby could kind of walk as it dangled along, but when it couldn’t (on it’s tiny, rubbery, bowleggedy legs) she just sorta dragged it.
Clearly this was fucked up and I had to do something.
My best course of action, I thought, was to pretend to be quite friendly to the woman, but she was unresponsive like she couldn’t hear me or maybe she didn’t speak English. Yet, her affect was flatter than flat. I suppose you can be insane AND not speak English both at the same time. I bent down and started petting the baby and the woman said her name: “Phoebe.” (In a strange coincidence this was the same name as the neighbor’s shih tzu that I bent down to pet and was introduced to just the other day while I was out going to pick up some hot wings.) I released the baby from her leash. I don’t know if an infant can really express relief and reassurance with just a look, but his one did. I was careful to properly support her head the way you’re supposed to. I lifted her up delicately and held her like a baby.
Then we went into the church. There was a bazaar or a pot luck happening and I was trying to get the crazy lady to eat some food while I went around telling everybody about the horrible way she had treated the baby. I needed this justification because I decided that I wasn’t giving the baby back. The crazy lady, who was Russian or French I never did figure it out, seemed ok with this so she just wandered off and faded away. And voila! I saved a baby.