THE FATHER OF TOADS
by Russell Edson
A man had just delivered a toad from his wife's armpit. He held it by its legs and spanked it.
Do you love it? said his wife.
It's our child, isn't it?
Does that mean you can't love it? she said.
It's hard enough to love a toad, but when it turns out to be your own son then revulsion is without any tender inhibition, he said.
Do you mean you would not like to call it George Jr.? she said.
But we've already called the other toad that, he said.
Well, perhaps we could call the other one George Sr., she said.
But I am George Sr., he said.
Well, perhaps if you hid in the attic, so that no one needed to call you anything, there would be no difficulty in calling both of them George, she said.
Yes, if no one talks to me, then what need have I for a name? he said.
No, no one will talk to you for the rest of your life. And when we bury you we shall put Father of Toads on your tombstone.