This story doesnt have any connection to Mallory and Gunner, it's just fun. "New Dad" earned honorable mention at the 77th Annual Writer's Digest Short Story contest, the "genre writing" category.


New Dad
By Christopher Ryan


Ramon lay in Alice's bed, his muscular chest and six-pack abs exposed. One week since he left Danielle (okay, got kicked to the curb), and he was all moved in with another chick. This was the best part of his smoothness with women - he hadn’t paid rent in four-and-a-half years. Well, not with money, anyway. He smiled at this, and of course, she thought he was smiling at her.

"What are you thinking, hon?"

Ramon let his smile broaden; worked every time. "Thinking how happy I am."

Now she smiled. Sex was minutes away. He deserved it too; got home in time for dinner tonight, even remembered to take the flowers off the fat chick's desk so he'd remember this one for Valentine's Day.
"Me too, Ramon." Her eyes got dreamy. Yep, it was on, baby.

Then her brat coughed. Ramon hated when they had kids; cramped his style. She definitely wasn’t giving it up now, not with the kid awake in the next room. This chick better not let her problem ruin his Valentine's Day. Not after he brought flowers. Not with these abs. "It's getting late for him to be up," he murmured. "I'd never tell you how to raise your beautiful child, but he's got school tomorrow. Getting enough restful sleep is important preparation for a good education."

"He likes to read at night," Alice smiled proudly. "That cough usually means he's starting to fade. He’ll be asleep in a few minutes." At this she raised an eyebrow, the smiled turning playful.

"He sleeps with the light on?"


Did she really expect Ramon to make his move with light streaming in from the little punk bookworm's room? He got up, tugging on gym shorts. "That's not good for him, or us."

"Ramon, he likes sleeping that way. Let him be, honey," she tugged at a spaghetti strap of her pajama top.
It was tempting. Why should he care what she lets him see, as long as he gets his? But no, he hated it when a kid walked in on him doing what he did best. It ruined the experience for him. He had to set some ground rules right now.

Tommy was reading when the new Dad walked in. "Hey buddy, I heard you coughing. You okay?"
"I just cough sometimes at night, that's all," Tommy shrugged. He didn’t really want to talk to this guy who didn’t even remember his name.

"Look, pal, it's getting kinda late for you, you know? School night and all…"

"Okay, I’ll go to sleep in a few minutes. I just want to finish this, okay?"

Ray-mud nodded, but he wasn’t really listening, not really really. "Yeah, yeah, so you got a lotta lights on,"
he moved to the wall switch. "Want me to get this one for you?"

"No, thank you, he doesn’t like the lights out," Tommy murmured, intent on getting this guy to leave.  Try reading with someone you hardly know standing in your room practically naked.

"He?" Ray-mucus sounded annoyed now. "Kid, you’re the only one in here; who's ‘he’?"

"The monster in the closet." There, that ought to get rid of him.

"Oh, please kid. You got to know I am not putting up with this," Ray-mindless snapped the light switch off — half the light in the room disappeared. "There's no such thing as monsters, not in closets, not under your bed, not under the stairs. Okay? Got it? You read too much of that crap."

"Don’t do that; he hates those lights out," Tommy shook his head, "It gives him nightmares."

"Look, I’ll prove it to you, you little idiot," he stomped over, yanked the closet door open. "See, no monst-"
There were three quick sounds: a slash of giant claws, a gasp by Ray-gone when powerful arms grabbed him, and then a crunch as a huge, sharp-tooth mouth bit down.

Tommy observed the proceedings calmly. "Hmmm, perfect bisection."

Slurping sounded from immense purple lips as they sucked in all the spilled blood before it could touch the polished wood floor. After a moment, a long, spiked tail slid out and flicked the lights back on.

Tommy called out. "Mom, we need another new Dad."

Alice called form her room, "I was getting bored with that one any way."

"Can you get a baseball player this time? I wanna learn how to pitch."

"You got it, hon. Good night."

"Good night," Tommy said, then turned to the half-opened closet door. "’Night, puppy."

A low, happy snort answered, and then kept chomping.

The End.

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Christopher Ryan spent eight years as an award-winning Bronx crime and politics reporter, winning awards as Best News columnist (NYS Newspaper Association), Journalist of the Year, and a DeWitt Clinton Masonic Award for Community Service, among others.
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