Sugar and Spice

Prompt Day #292: Adapt the features and traits of any cartoon character into a “real” creature or man, exploring the freakish results. (For instance: What would a Spongebob Squarepants creature really be like, if living flesh in the real world?). Write it out, obliterating the original reference to the cartoon in the process.


Sugar and Spice

                “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more that we can do. Have you considered adoption?” The doctor closed the file. So that was it. There would be no children, ever. Donald looked at his wife. She was holding up well enough. The poor thing had been through four rounds of IVF with nothing to show for it. He felt like a failure. What kind of husband was he if he couldn’t give her the one and only thing she’d ever wanted?

“No, Doctor. We agreed that if we couldn’t have our own children, we would accept our fate and move on with our lives, just the two of us. Thank you.” He shook the man’s hand and helped Beverly up from the chair.

They drove home in silence. He knew Beverly was holding back the tears. If he tried to make any conversation, she would lose the fragile hold she had on herself. Instead, he mentally scrolled through his rolodex of connections all over the world. As a lead researcher for the FDA, Donald had the advantage of first-hand knowledge in any new or upcoming drugs, even the ones found too dangerous to approve. He was thinking specifically of a small company out of Mexico who had applied to sell their fertility drug CX-3. It was found to be too unstable and they were sent packing. For a couple at the end of their rope, however, unstable was the equivalent of possible. It was worth the risk.

Donald decided he wouldn’t tell Beverly about the drug. He couldn’t bear to get her hopes up, instead, he would sneak it into her food, treat her with it. If she started to show signs of toxicity, he would stop. If nothing happened after a few months, fine. But what if? What if it worked? Only then he would tell her what he’d done. She’d understand, probably consider him a hero for it. He smiled. Now he had a plan.

It wasn’t difficult. He called the company from work, told them the FDA was reconsidering the drug. He requested a full treatment supply, as well as all their research data. It was overnighted. Donald took a full twenty four hours to think about the ramifications of secretly drugging his wife with an experimental medication. He read the data, ran a chemical analysis and lastly tasted a small crushed sample in order to determine what food type would hide its flavor. It had a vague sweetness beneath an almost peppery burn. Sugar and spice he thought. Maybe we’ll have a girl. He smiled.

“Donald?” Beverly called from the bathroom three months later. Her voice was high and tremulous. Something was wrong. So far, she’d tolerated the drug well. He’d seen no obvious side effects. But drugs could be insidious. He ran up the stairs. She stood holding out what at first looked like a thermometer. A fever. He thought and then saw the plus symbol on it. “I’m pregnant.”

“I have some news.” The doctor said somberly. “You are indeed pregnant, Mrs. Waller, but it seems there are three fetuses rather than one.” Donald sat in stunned silence. Beverly was overjoyed. The doctor tried to impart the seriousness of a triplet pregnancy. He suggested selective termination of one to two of them in an effort to give one the best chance at a term pregnancy. Beverly refused. Here was a woman who had resigned herself to never having a child who was now being told she was, by some miracle, pregnant and by some further act of God, with triplets. No. She would keep all three of her precious babies. Nothing bad would happen, she was sure of it. Donald, however was not so sure. After all, there was no long term data on the children conceived using CX-3.

Beverly refused genetic studies, and ultrasounds were equivocal given the difficulty in visualizing each individual baby. A cesarean section was planned, the nursey was painted with rainbows and teddy bears; everything was prepared for three perfect little babies.

Donald sat anxious beside his wife’s head as the doctor began the surgery.

“Ok, Donald, if you want to stand up now, we’re about to deliver the first baby.” The doctor called from the other side of the blue drape. Donald stood. He was shaking, his knees felt like jelly. Please let them be ok. Please let them be perfect.

The doctor reached a hand into his wife’s belly and reached about with a look of consternation on his face. The longer it took, the more nervous Donald became. Sweat dripped over his lip and he wanted to rip the mask off his face.

A head, inhumanly large and round popped out beneath the doctor’s palm. The head was practically the size of an adults and as the rest of the body delivered, it opened its huge blue eyes. They took up three quarters of its face. When the babe was completely delivered, Donald was horrified. Her (it was a girl) body was tiny, smaller than a normal baby’s, almost doll sized, and her arms and legs ended in rounded stumps.

All of a sudden there was a buzz in the room, people moving about. Donald heard someone say “hydrocephalus”. The anesthetist put a hand on Donald.

“Maybe you should sit down for a minute.” He said. Beverly was looking up at him with horror.

“What’s wrong? Is everything ok?” She asked. He just shook his head. He refused to sit. He needed to see each of the babies be delivered.

The second was breech, but her stubby rounded legs told Donald to expect similar results as her tiny body slid out only to be caught up by an enormous head. The doctor gently guided it out. Freakish pink eyes looked around the room. She raised her little rounded wrists in the air and uttered a squall. The doctor handed her off and went in for the last. Oh please, let one be normal, just one. Donald thought.

The last was also a girl, grotesquely large head and green eyes, atrophied body, arms and legs ended without hands or feet. Donald closed his eyes and slumped down into his chair. The babies were whisked away before Beverly was given a chance to see them. She was asking all kinds of worried questions, but Donald couldn’t answer. He sat with his head in his hands. All he had wanted to do was fix things, make it better for Beverly and now he’d tied her to a life time of twenty-four hour care for three special needs children. They’d put Beverly completely to sleep and the room fell silent. No one spoke. The doctor continued his surgery, Donald continued his self-pity party.

“Mr. Waller? Can you come with me please, there’s something you need to see.” A nurse had her hand on his shoulder. Like a zombie, he stood and followed her to the nursery. She stopped him outside the door. “Now, prepare yourself, this is going to be a shock.”

“I’ve seen them already.” He said, “I know what you have to show me.”

“There’s more.” She said and opened the door. Donald walked in.

His three little girls were hovering above the warmers, blinking at him with their cute but large round eyes. Their hair had been washed and the nurses had done each one’s hair. The little blonde haired, blue-eyed doll had pigtails, the red head a pony tail and the brunette with the emerald eyes had short hair with a little curl out to the side. They flew over to their dad where they stared, blinking cutely. The blonde baby cooed and giggled and blew spit bubbles. They seemed to be fine, and obviously would have no problem getting around without feet. He laughed. It was all going to be ok after all.

“Well, you girls are certainly going to give Mojo, your kitty, a run for his money!” He laughed again. The girls flew happily around his head laughing.