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This is chapter two of "Rain in the Desert." It gets sadder as the story goes on. Again, I have to warn you that there will be adult situations later.



Rain in the Desert: Chapter Two





“Hey, what has four quarters and two cheeks at the same time?” Lazlo asked.

Lazlo and Vidcund were sitting in the kitchen area at the island in the middle of the space. They were just sitting down for dinner and not too far from where they were sitting was a pizza box.

“I don’t know, what?” Vidcund responded.

“The moon!” Lazlo cackled.

Vidcund nearly squirted soda out of his nose, laughing at Lazlo’s sick little joke. Lazlo had a gross sense of humor, but that was one of the reasons why Vidcund liked hanging out with him.





Pascal, who was sitting at the desk a few feet away, turned up his nose. “You’re disgusting, Lazlo.”

Lazlo made a face. Pascal seemed to think everything he said or did was disgusting, especially since right now he was heavily pregnant and irritable. Pascal had been abducted by aliens recently and even though he was carrying and alien child, his pregnancy was exactly the same as a normal one, complete with the mood swings, cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, mood swings, the need to use the bathroom a lot, and did he mention mood swings?

Vidcund looked over at Pascal. Pascal had less of a sense of humor than he usually did (when he had none at all). Vidcund did realize that there was a time to be serious, but it wasn’t all the time. That was most likely why he and Lazlo were so close. He felt like he could relate to Lazlo, but at times he found himself agreeing with Pascal. But whenever the two came to blows, it tore him up inside.





“What exactly is disgusting to you about me?” Lazlo asked coolly, slowly getting up.

“Well, just about everything, Lazlo,” Pascal shot back, rising.

“Well, if I’m so disgusting, then-”

“Stop it, guys,” Vidcund interrupted. “You two shouldn’t start arguing now. It might upset the baby.”

Pascal and Lazlo merely glared at each other and sat back down.

Just as Vidcund was getting up to put the leftover pizza in the fridge, he heard Pascal whisper, “Oh my god.”

“What happened?” Vidcund asked putting the box down.

“I think my water just broke.” Pascal answered, his eyes widening.





As Pascal’s contractions started, Vidcund rushed over to help deliver the baby. Lazlo stood a distance away, just watching, frozen.

“Lazlo, we need your help,” Vidcund said as he put on a pair of rubber gloves.

“I think you’re doing a good enough job…AHHH!” Pascal was cut short by another convulsion.

“Pascal, both Lazlo and I trained for this. I’m sure his extra help wouldn’t hurt,” Vidcund replied calmly.

Lazlo managed to snap out of it, approached them reluctantly, and put on his rubber gloves.

“I-I think it’s coming out!” Pascal hollered.

“I can see the head!” Vidcund turned around. “We need your help now, Lazlo! Lazlo?” Vidcund looked around. “Where’d you go?’

Vidcund looked down behind him and saw that Lazlo had passed out cold. It was then that Vidcund remembered Lazlo’s tendency to faint at even the tiniest drop of blood. Vidcund, on the other hand, was unfazed. He was no stranger to the sight of blood.

“Totally useless!” Pascal yelled as another contraction forced the child out further.





After a few more pushes (and screams), the tiny green baby was completely out. Vidcund cleaned the baby off in the sink while Pascal leaned quietly against the couch.

“It’s a boy,” Vidcund said, quietly, handing the baby to Pascal, who immediately cuddled the tiny creature.

“What’s going on?” Lazlo asked groggily, sitting up.

“Pascal just had a boy,” Vidcund said softly, so as not to scare the baby.

As Pascal held the baby close to his chest, the tiny boy pawed at the strands of black hair falling over Pascal’s face. “I think I’ll name him Shawn,” he said, cuddling the child again.

“He’s adorable.” Lazlo smiled.





“Yeah, isn’t he? Little green angel.” Pascal nuzzled the baby.

Vidcund smiled. Even if it only lasted for the night, his brothers were at peace with each other. He only hoped that they could keep it up so his nephew was not exposed to any unnecessary violence.

They never imagined what change the next few days could bring.



The brothers couldn’t just drop their jobs to take care of the baby; they had to bring in money to put food on the table and in his mouth somehow, so they hired a nanny.





The nanny the brothers hired was extremely old and extremely forgetful. The brothers would have looked for another, except she was the only one available and they desperately needed childcare.

One day, while the brothers were at work, the nanny decided to try to cook toaster pastries. A few minutes into cooking, she decided to take Shawn out of his crib only to place him on the floor. While she was with Shawn, a fire broke out in the kitchen.





The smoke detector sounded and sent out a signal to the fire department. Within seconds, the firefighters were in the kitchen, putting out the fire. The nanny, hysterical over the fire, made a run for it, leaving Shawn alone at home. She didn’t notice the black-clad woman observing her through the window.

Later that evening, the brothers came home from work. Pascal heard Shawn crying and went to feed him. Lazlo parked himself in front of the television, and Vidcund sat next to him on their cheap couch.

Over the noise of the television, Vidcund and Lazlo heard a car pull up and a knock on the door. “Who could that be?” Lazlo asked as Vidcund went to answer the door.





“Hello-hey!” Vidcund was pushed out of the way by a woman in a black suit. The words “Social Services” were embroidered on a badge on her blazer.

“Is this the home of a Shawn Curious?” she asked curtly.

“Who wants to know?” Lazlo responded, just as coolly as the woman had asked.

“The Strangetown Social Services wants to know. I’ve had reports of a neglected child from neighbors in this area,” the social worker stated.

Vidcund’s eyes widened. The social services couldn’t take Pascal’s child!

“But we didn’t neglect him,” Vidcund protested in vain.





“No, but your nanny did. As the child’s parent, your brother should have done a background check on the nanny before hiring her,” the social worker replied. “You hired a Ms. Karen Bruty, who not only has outstanding DUI charges, but has no training in child care whatsoever and has severe aspiration disorder.” She turned to face Lazlo as well as Vidcund. “Now, where do you keep the child? I’m going to have to remove him from this household.”

“Like hell you will,” Lazlo said, bracing himself.





Vidcund bolted down the hall into Pascal’s bedroom, where Pascal was putting Shawn to bed. “The social worker’s going to take Shawn away!” he cried.

“What?! That’s ridiculous! Why?” Pascal gathered Shawn up against him. “We never left him alone.”

“But the nanny did because she has a lot of problems, and now they’re going to remove him!” Vidcund’s voice dropped to barely a whisper.

Just then, the social worker entered the room. “I’ll be taking the child now.”





Pascal backed away from her, holding Shawn firmly against his chest. Shawn’s black eyes darted back and forth between his father and the social worker.

“It’s illegal to resist following a social worker’s command,” the black-clad woman warned. “I trust you know that, don’t you, Mr. Curious?”

Pascal retreated even further.

“Give me the child or I will be forced to report this to the police,” the social worker commanded, her voice steady.





Pascal’s dark blue eyes narrowed. He then thrust the baby at the social worker.

“Fine. Take him,” he spat.

“Thank you.” The social worker took the child and left.

Vidcund turned to Pascal, who was staring at the spot where the social worker had stood. “Pascal?” he whispered, tiptoeing closer.





Almost immediately after, Pascal collapsed against the wall in tears. Vidcund ran the rest of the way and took him in his arms.

“I’m a horrible parent,” Pascal sobbed, his words lost in his tears.

“No, you’re not,” Vidcund soothed, holding Pascal’s head against his shoulder.

“Yes, I am!” Pascal was nearly shouting. “If I were any kind of parent, I would’ve checked to make sure she wouldn’t do something like this!” Pascal continued to wail into Vidcund’s shoulder.

Vidcund gazed over Pascal’s shoulder at the empty crib. “Shawn should be crying right about now,” he thought. “And Pascal should be the one to hold him.”

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