Sunday, December 28, 2008


Category: Issue 13


Mary was already in labor when Joseph checked her in to the Robo-clinic. The admitting robot processed Joseph’s medical card and insurance data while a kindly interface robot wheeled Mary up to maternity and gently placed her on the conveyor. She was instructed to lie on her back and relax.
The contractions were coming faster and harder as she passed through the scanners. Robot hands prodded and poked ever so gently while others injected her with various chemicals. Her contractions eased and she could Joseph through the glass walls of the tube as she moved along the belt.
“I love you,” he mouthed and she gave him a brave little wave. She was feeling woozy now as the belt entered yet another scanner. Mary could hear the woman behind her moaning and cursing in a foreign language. She wanted to be awake for the birth but it wasn’t possible to keep her eyes open. It was just as well as the hospital only delivered by cesarian section. Robot arms slit human wombs and delivered human babies with clock like precision.
Mary was unconscious when the metal hands reached inside her and pulled out her child. A son, a perfect son. The infant was barcoded and sent down a separate track for further testing. Mary continued to the end of the line where machine hands lifted her onto a rolling bed that wheeled her into the recovery room.
When she opened her eyes, Joseph was there smiling and relieved.  “It’s a boy,” he said, “how are you feeling?”
“I want to see him,” Mary said weakly.
“Soon,” Joseph said. “They’re running more tests. there’s a problem with his paternity. They say I’m not the father.”
Mary blushed and looked away.

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Old Comments

  • How fun!

    THis took a surprise turn.  Oh, the readers knew that paternity was an issue, but the way this piece was set up - the focus on the futuristic and interventionist machinery - pushed that expectation aside.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/29  at  08:50 AM
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