Baby Love Not

Prompt: Baby

honest-diapers

Why did I agree to this? I hate kids, and I hate poo. I want to take the kids to the bridge and toss them over, or jump into certain death myself. It’s not my fault. Who would hire me? I have a tattoo of a rat on my neck, where everyone can see it, and a rusted heavy gothic rod pierced through the left side of my nose. I think it’s a beautiful thing, but my mother now pretends she is childless. I overheard her tell my father she would like to have children someday. I will never have kids. I hate them. Especially when they poo into paper. This is NOT worth twenty dollars. Who would hire me?

 


  • From a 100 words challenge
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Parent Pair

Prompt: Invitation

chick-and-egg

“I’m not going.”

“Of course you are, it’s all about you.”

“It’s not about me, it’s about the baby,” said Virginia. She combed her hair while seated in front of her vanity mirror in the master bedroom of the coachhouse. She looked like a duchess from an English mini-series. “This is about your parents and their friends, and I refuse to play Madonna when I’m dead tired.”

“You’re hormonal,” said Cash, immediately regretting it.

“And you’re not, Mr Morning Sickness, Tender Nipple Man, Moody Bastard?”

“That was because I love you and Echo,” Cash said.

“They didn’t ask me, they just planned and invited. I had no say or warning. I’m tired Cash. I might even be fucking hormonal. I want to have a glass of Guinness and maybe a nap today. Fall asleep in front of the TV.”

“Babe,” said Cash. “Father and Mummy are just proud of you, of us. They want to celebrate their first grandbaby. Aren’t you proud? Don’t you want to celebrate?”

Virginia rolled her eyes so hard they almost flew out of their sockets. “You take the baby to the party.” Virginia looked at her watch. “She’ll most likely sleep through the whole thing.”

“Me?”

“You, the baby’s father and half of her parent-pair.”

“What if she wakes up?” said Cash.

“Then the world will end,” said Virginia.

“People will bring expensive gifts,” Cash said.

“Fantastic. I’ll write the thank-you notes.”

“I love you,” said Cash.

“Good,” said Virginia.

Dilemma

Prompt: Dilemma

herbie-hancock-man-child-columbia-speakers-corner-schallplatte-23860

Beep

“Hi, it’s me. I’m just waiting for a cab. I had to tell someone.

“I don’t want two children. I love him but I just can’t see having all that new responsibility and no one there, really there, for me. I desperately want this child too. I don’t know what to do. What should I do?

“I can’t say everything’s going to end, I’m not leaving or anything. Not today or tomorrow. I don’t know, maybe things will change. But I can’t see it, I’m confused. And how much should I tell him? I know, I know….

“So yeah, I tested positive, he put a baby inside me, despite precautions, and he is just a child himself. A grown-ass man child. Did you warn me? I don’t remember. It wouldn’t have mattered.

“Cab’s pulling up. I have to go, will be away for a week. Can we get together maybe next Thursday? Call me. OK?”

Click

She listened to the message again, then hit the Call Back button. Now she got a recording. Virginia was probably on the plane, in the air, and unavailable. At the beep, she said, “Hi, it’s Envy. I’ll be home tonight and tomorrow night, call. And yeah we can meet on Thursday. Don’t do anything. I’m sorry, and I’m happy, and I’m sorry again.

“Bye.”

Click

 


  • Album art from Herbie Hancock’s Man Child.

Safety

Prompt: Panic

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Tabby dialled 911. Which is to say, she punched in the buttons with trembling fingers: 9-1-1.

She held tightly to Rosa’s hand, shaking her to try and silence her wailing. The bathroom door was closed and locked, and Tabby pressed Rosa and herself tightly against the tiled wall under the window.

“Nicky,” she called through the door. “Have you put it down? Put it down for mommy. Have you put it down?”

“Remain calm,” said a voice in her ear. A person at the call center. Remain calm? Fuck you.

“Mama!” Nicky called back, cheerfully. This was a new game.

Tabby said to the voice: “What do I do?”
She said to Nicky: “Put it on the floor!”
She said to Rosa: “Stay here, right here. Do not move! Do you understand?” Rosa put her thumb in her mouth. She had broken that habit weeks ago.

Then Tabby unlocked the door, and peered around into the bedroom. It was painted a pale yellow, with taupe and navy accents. She’d seen it in a magazine, she forgot which one. It looked better in the magazine, without a pile of laundry on the bed, curtains that had been clawed by the cat, and a child in a dirty diaper on the carpet, waving a loaded gun around.

Nicky held the gun by the handle. It was heavy for him, so he used two hands. He’d seen guns on the TV. Tabby had just been gone a second, two seconds! to turn off the oven when the timer sounded, and when she returned Nicky had the weapon in his sticky little hands. It was too heavy for him to point at his sister’s head, so the muzzle rested against her tummy.

She barely remembered scooping up Rosa and trying to take the gun from Nicky. He pulled away and fell on his back, now aiming at the ceiling. He was at that terrible stage when everything was a “No!” Tabby’s sister had been commiserating with her just the day before, laughing at the stubbornness of the twins. “It’ll pass,” said Nancy with a laugh. “The tyrant stage eventually does. Be patient!”

Be patient? Fuck off.

She rushed into the ensuite and deposited Rosa in the bathtub, then Rosa started screaming and Tabby picked her up and then set her down, and, in a panic, took her cellphone out of her apron pocket and debated whether to call Albert or 911. Al was busy with his nephew’s family, two hundred miles away. He could fix some things, but not this. It was all his fault anyway. Fuck him. Instinctively she called emergency but realized it was a futile move, the disembodied voice an irritant, and she ended the call, tossing the phone into the wastebasket.

Tabby stepped back into the bedroom closed the bathroom door behind her. Rosa had fallen silent. It wouldn’t surprise Tabby if she dropped off to sleep, since it was Rosa’s habit to explode with energy, then, expended, fall asleep where she sat.

“Bang,” said Nicky. His two chubby fingers squeezed the trigger as Tabby reached him. “Bang.”

There was no sound but the suddenly loud ticking of the bedside clock. Nicky looked up into his mother’s eyes, and his face distorted, his eyes and mouth and nose all scrunched together, and he let out a wail loud enough to wake his sleeping sister.

Nicky didn’t resist when Tabby took the gun from him. The grip was sticky. She carefully put it on top of the wardrobe. She picked up the boy and held him until his cries subsided into hiccups, then fetched Rosa from the bathtub.

“I’m glad you didn’t call the police,” Albert said when she called him, after she had calmed down enough and put the twins down for a nap. “Don’t need them nosing around. Anyway, the safety was on.”

Fuck you.

 


Space Oddity

Prompt: Radical

anne_geddes_baby-3

June 27.

I don’t really want to write this, but as first communications officer I instructed everyone to keep a journal, as detailed as possible. I promised everyone complete privacy, and may uphold that promise. I certainly do not want this made “public” among my comrades here on this god-forsaken planet, nor anyone at home. It is all too strange. And utterly impossible.

Christopher all but abandoned me as soon as we found out that Sara’s child was his. Little Angela (we call her Angel) is a beacon for all of us, reminding us of our humanity as well as our professional “intergallactic” mission. She has luminous pale skin, Christopher’s blue eyes, but Sara’s unruly dark curls. She is the first citizen of this place, and if we survive, every tiny aspect of her life will be recorded and studied by future (depending on survival, as I said) generations, here and at home. We are all debating how to incorporate Angel’s name into the name for this planet, which so far only has a letter and number designation. We decided to name it ourselves, no matter what they want back home.

So, starting a colony on a distant, strange, and barely habitable planet does sound impossible, right? No, that is not the impossible part. That is not even the strange part. I am the impossible, strange thing on this planet. I have been pregnant for eighteen months.

The elephant is the mammal with the allegedly longest gestation period, at about 21 months. I’m not part elephant, nor was there anything particularly strange about my baby’s conception. Christopher and I, still together, had our last sexual encounter eighteen months ago, shortly before Angel was born. I learned I was pregnant six weeks later. And here I am, as big as a house, under constant watch, with a live baby— we lack a lot of sophisticated scanning devices but we know the baby is alive— and it kicks— in my belly. I am no bigger than any other soon-to-be-mother at nine months. So what is this child doing in there?

Was it the journey, the atmosphere, the food, a virus, the stress?— no one has an answer. We aren’t scheduled to contact UNASA for another six months.

I’ve not been a mother before, so can’t say whether or not the way I feel is “normal”. But I feel like shit most of the time, my back needs massaging daily or the pain is too much, and I’m the size of the Titanic with an astonishingly high level of horniness which I am unable to satisfy. And oh so confused about who or what is—

July 6.

Feeling 36 kilograms lighter (about eight pounds). It is a boy. The elephant still holds the record for longest gestation.

Christopher and I already had names picked out for our child. Constance if a girl, and Radical if it was a boy. That was my father’s name.

Radical doesn’t have the rolls of chubbiness that most babies have. He is not skinny, just well proportioned. I think he has Christopher’s mouth. His eyes are a little different; a very pale grey with a halo of black. He is quiet and serene. He was able to make eye contact right from birth and all vital signs were normal. Angel loves him, her little half-brother, so we are all trying very hard to love him too.

 


  • Image: Anne Geddes

Catherine the Great

Prompt: Stroll

Pushkin Park

I pushed baby Catherine in a stroller in Pushkin Park, near the Turkish Baths and the Marble Bridge. Catherine Palace looked like it was painted on a sky canvas, as the trim of the edifice was the same clear, pure blue as the sky.

Baby Catherine, waving her fists in the shade of the stroller canopy, cared nothing for the lush grandeur that surrounded her. She caught my eye, and I made a grand silly face, and a bit of drool dribbled from the corner of her mouth.

It was a fresh air stroll with her daddy, somewhere, that’s all she cared about. We decided to linger near the white wrought iron benches by the lake and watch the swans.

Her mother’s name was Catherine too. My darling Catarina, so fresh and fearless and ambitious. She was important now, a liaison between corporate and political interests in the country. I was a low level manager in the medical services, no prestige or prospects, but that didn’t matter to us at first.

Now it did.

Catherine had teeth coming in. Baby Catherine, I mean, not her mother, whose fangs had grown in sharpness and efficiency long before. It wasn’t her fault, the world was harsh and unpredictable.

I didn’t pray, as a rule. I visited the ornate Orthodox churches as a tourist, and not a believer. But now, as three men approached us on the trim red gravel path, in dark, double-breasted suits, I prayed that this would not be the last time I pushed my baby Catherine in a stroller in Pushkin Park.

 


Stomp

Prompt: Reason to Believe
In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

baby and mom elephant

I saw a baby elephant in the wild, once. He stomped his feet and raised his head and did a baby trumpet, to try and protect his family, a herd of females behind him. They, since we were no threat, looked upon him with the same indulgence and affection as I did. To me it was an unimaginable and indescribably precious moment of sharing, part of a string of precious moments that we share, as babies are born and as they grow.

Sure, I love the babies in my own human family. But catching the understanding eye of a mama elephant? That is a reason to believe in a world beyond our imagination.