~This story first appeared in Glimmer Train (1998).
There was the smell of the dust, and the smell of the sand, and the smell of the rides, and the smell of the crowds which each day had a different smell, and there was the smell of the horses and the morning and the night. There was the smell of The Thing and The Thing's shit. So it smelled. What didn't?
Well, he thought. Alright, then. So he changed it.
"I'll need talc, or corn starch if you don't have it, and a first aid kit in case it's got sores from being swaddled up so. Don't tell Old Man Dawkins. He keeps changing it every morning just like before. You use diapers?"
"So we'll go through twice as many diapers. If I'm gonna do this I don't want to be running out."
Jacobsen stared at the kid. "Okay. We'll get more diapers."
"And I'll need somebody to help with the trash. "It's too much for me already. If I got to take care of it, too…"
"I've had men quit can't take its screaming. Once it starts up…night after night screaming and won't stop. How the hell do you make it shut up?”
"What do you do?”
"I dunno. I sing to it. That's one thing."
"You sing to it?"
"That's one thing."
What he meant was, what he wouldn't tell Jacobsen was, The Thing stopped screaming before he ever sang to it. It stopped the moment it saw him.