Sunday, 26 April 2015

Making Change by Michael D Brooks

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Michael D Brooks' 'Making Change' was the third place story in June 2014's Short Fiction Contest.

Making Change by Michael D Brooks


“There’s something wrong with that kid, I tell you.”

Ammon sat in his favored black recliner and stared at the wall-sized entertainment screen, but did not consciously see the images or hear the sounds that projected from it.

“You're an old-fashioned, close minded relic that’s going to break if you don’t learn how to bend,” his wife countered.

Beset sat in her more brightly colored recliner and glanced over at her husband before she returned her attention to the screen.

“It's not natural, Beset.”  He sipped his brew, but did not really taste it.    And though his eyes were hypnotically fixed on the entertainment screen, he intently looked at something only his mind saw.  “I’m not saying it’s wrong or anything—”

“Then what are you saying?” she demanded.

“I’m saying it just doesn't seem natural to me.   That’s all.”

Beset remained silent until the next commercial break before she turned and addressed her husband.

“Joachim loves Lawrence, he loves her, and they’re going to have a baby together.  You’re going to be a grandfather.  I’m going to be a grandmother.  I don’t see anything ‘unnatural’ about that.”  Beset sniffed derisively once then glanced at the screen intent on not missing her favorite show’s return from commercial break.

“Yeah, but did you see that ultrasound?”  Ammon barely heard anything his wife said.  “The darn thing looks like an alien or some kind of space baby or something floating around in there.”

“Pause,” Beset commanded.  The images on screen froze and the sound muted.  The irritation in her voice was unmistakable.  She turned from the screen and looked squarely at her husband and said nothing.   The silence in the room between them grew.  She stared at him as if her eyes could bore holes in his skull.   After what seemed like an eternity, he looked at her.   “Listen, you old coot,” she began, peppering her speech with short, precise sentences.   “Joachim is our daughter.  We love her very much.  We want her to be happy.  Lawrence makes her happy.  I’m happy with that and so are you.   And the doctors have all said the baby is healthy.  There is nothing wrong with the baby.  And when it’s born, we are going to love it unconditionally.   Period.   End of story.  Do you understand?”

Ammon stared blankly at his wife, took another sip of his drink and said.  “Yeah, I understand, but why does it have to be human?”

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