Friday, September 23, 2011


…I have a new story, “Lilies From a Fallow Field” up at Pipe Dream Fiction and here under “Words In Print.” The piece is really me plagiarizing from me, or from a novel I wrote three years ago called “Blue Tequila” which may or may never see the light of day.

…I wrote a story just now.
Just a few minutes ago.
I wasn’t intending to write a story, and certainly not that story.
I swear; I definitely wasn’t trying to take any political position or preach or anything like that.
It just came out.
Like a sneeze maybe. Like a twitch or blink.
Something you can’t stop.
I was reading on Facebook about a friend who liked a book by Richard Brautigan called “The Abortion.”
I don’t know what the book’s about. I think it is a story collection.
The next thing you know I’m writing and then this happened:

Mom Gets an Abortion

She sets the appointment for Tuesday at 10:00 am. The kids—the ones she’s not planning on killing (not yet, anyway)—will all be at school by then.
She’s usually not this decisive. Usually she’s a Roll-with-the-punches sort of gal, but this is a sperm-nestled-into-an-egg-taking-root-inside-her that we’re talking about. Leave the thing to roost too long and before you know it you’ve got a loaf.
At the hospital she fills out forms. There are so many that it’s a bit like buying a house. The woman behind the thick glass (is it that way because of all the gun-toting right-wingers out there wanting to grab a headline?) looks more bored than a desert, sullen, depressed and suggestively doomed. She picks her nose and eats the diggings and doesn’t seem to care if anyone notices or not.
The clinic has an electrical hum to it, like the frozen foods section at Safeway. No one seems to appreciate the vibration but me.
The woman-the patient-my mother is not particularly nervous. What she is is gassy. Too much Lo Mein with msg at The Peking Duck last night. She’s shooting silent twirlers. Other patients settle and re-settle in their stiff might-as-well-be-marble plastic seats, wrinkling their noses Samantha-from-“Bewitched”-style.
When her name is called she stands and walks toward to dumpy Asian guy wearing glasses, a septum plug, and holding a clip board.
His name is Kenny. Of course it is.
He smiles a lot, like a clever chipmunk. He weighs her and asks her questions and takes her to a white room with posters of flowering fields that might have been taken from the set of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Dr. Singh comes in. She’s a contrite woman with unreal coffee bean-colored skin.
Her voice is as soft as cocoon when she introduces herself.
After small talk and some other rigmarole, Dr. Singh quietly says, “There’s still time to change your mind if that is what you’d like to do.”
This whole time I’ve been treading water. In the car I did some butterfly strokes, then breast strokes, but now I’m lying flat on my back, floating belly up. There’s no way she’s going through with this. I’ve heard my siblings bickering, heard Allan fart and Leah squeal Justin Beiber lyrics: “Baby, baby, baby. Ohhhh.”
But before I know it there’s a tornado down south. It’s an air funnel like nothing the world has ever seen, not even on the weather channel.
I scream, “How could you! I thought you loved me!” which is sort of a ridiculous thing to be doing because a.) My mother never actually claimed to have loved me; I was just operating on assumption and b.) The vacuum suction noise overpowers my best vocal efforts.
As I shoot through the tube, my last thought centers around children—the sound of their belly busting laughter, the wide-eyed wonder hanging in their pupils, the future slippery but waiting. I see a blue-eyed blonde in the sandbox. She’s eaten a palm full of dirt and a tadpole of slime drips off her chin. She’s grinning and she’s damn cute. I wonder what her name is, if she’d have ended up a friend or maybe even the love of my life.

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