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Title: Not complete

[Note... this is a slightly different view of the scene than the one described in the challenge request. Also please note that it uses some R-rated language].

* * * * *

"Excuse me?"

"Yes?"

Why do they let hot, young chicks work in baby stores? I mean, come on. It's bad enough having to see these babes everywhere in retail. But when you're surrounded by explicit evidence of sex, well... that just makes it all the harder.

Harder. Heh-heh-heh. Yeah, I said 'harder.'

"I need a present for a co-worker's baby shower."

"OK. Is she registered here?"

"I don't know."

"I can check her name out on our list and see, if you like."

The little blonde thang whipped a computer-y looking gadget out of the oversized pocket of her store apron. It looked like a kangaroo mama evicting a giant calculator. The store outfit did nothing for this girl. Hot little body, but totally rumpled up beneath baggy pants and a white, collared t-shirt. And that stupid apron.

"Sure. Her name is 'McLean.' 'Georgia McLean.'"

"One sec."

She started tapping on the thing's keyboard. Tappy tappy. Looking down, she was distracted enough that I managed to get at least a decent glimpse down the top of her shirt. The top third, maybe, of nicely formed, small breasts. Hint of white bra. A "good girl's" bra, for sure. Nothing lacy or push-up or...

"Here she is. Yes. She's registered with us. Would you like a list of items she hasn't received yet?

I nodded, and she pushed a button on her thing. A slip of paper about the size of a receipt buzzed out the bottom. She handed it to me.

"Here you go. Anything else I can help you with?"

You could help me with a hand-job, I thought.

"Nope. Thanks."

"No problem. Have a good day."

She walked away. Small, tight ass swaying slightly. Oh, well. Another one of the millions of chicks I'll never screw.

I checked out the list of stuff that Georgia had left to get: basinet by who-cares company, $450; Baby Bjorn... whatever-the-hell-that-is, $99; Chico high-chair, $139.99; convertible car seat, $249.99.

Convertible car seat? They make baby seats especially for convertibles? That's just weird.

All this crap was way more than I'd been planning on spending. I mean, come on... Georgia's allright, but she'd only been with the company like eight months. And we worked for the same boss, yeah... but that's where the comradeship ends. Plus, she's kinda a pig. And the pregnancy hasn't helped in that area, if you know what I mean.

OK. Last thing on the list... super deluxe musical play mat. $65. Still more than I wanted to spend, but I couldn't just cheap out. After all, the boss would be there. And she has a narrow eye for people who cheap out on baby gifts, having had three whelp of her own, each with accompanying showers, birthdays, drama and histrionics. Gift card is out, too. She thinks it's a sign of a lack of creativity. I kinda agree, but come on... I'd rather get a gift card than something I hate. 'It's the thought that counts,' they say. Yeah, well, idiots have idiot thoughts.

I wandered the aisles for a minute or two, trying to figure out where the musical play mats, deluxe, musical or otherwise might be hiding. If I saw that cute chick again, I could ask her. But it's not worth going out of my way to find a salesperson if I can just...

"Rick? What are you doing here, Rick?"

I turned around, hearing my name behind me.

It was Nancy. Nancy Wysocki. I hadn't seen her in...

"Holy shit. Nancy."

I stared at her round, distended belly.

For some reason, all maternity clothes seemed to be designed to make pregnant women look childish. Not "with child," but more child-like. Softer colors, little foo-foo stuff hanging off, big collars, wide lapels... it's kinda creepy. But Nancy was just wearing a big sweatshirt. "MIT" logo on it.

There was a guy next to her. Skinny dude. Real skinny. With black, black hair. Jeans and a jean jacket over a black t-shirt. Dopey look on his face like he couldn't figure out exactly where he was.

I looked back up at her face. She looked half curious, half pissed.

"So?" She repeated. "What are you doing here?"

I shrugged. "Shower gift for a co-worker. What about you?"

Her eyebrows went up.

I chuckled. "Oh, yeah." I nodded at her belly. "That. Sorry. My bad. Is this," I gestured at the guy next to her, "the father?"

"I'm Ken," the guy said. "Ken McMullen."

I nodded. "Rick. Rick Lamont." I stuck out my hand to shake with him. He hesitated a bit... which I thought was odd... but eventually stuck out his paw. We shook. His fingers were as thin as the rest of him, and he had a kinda limp, girly handshake.

"Good to meet you, Ken."

I stepped back and looked at Nancy again. Real cute face. Pretty eyes and nose and nice, full lips. The rest of her was pretty cute, too. I knew that from experience.

"So..." I asked again. "Like I said. You're the father? Congrats."

Nancy looked pained. That face that they call "pinched."

"Ken and I will be getting married soon, yes. And he'll be the father."

Weird way of putting it.

"Great. Great. I know you always wanted to get married, have kids, the whole thing. I have to find a musical play mat for Georgia, the woman at work. Have you seen those?"

They both looked at me like I was stoned. What? Is a playmat that bad a gift?

"Rick," Nancy said. "Ken will raise the baby. But you're the father."

Time stops, sometimes. It had happened to me once or twice before. I once saw a guy get hit by a car while I was stopped at the light. Some bastard totally blew through the pedestrian signal and ploughed into a dude in the intersection. The second before it happened, I knew it was going to, and that I wouldn't be able to do anything. And time stopped. And I saw the guy's face, 'cause he knew, too. I was able to see everything about him for just that second. His hair, a bit thin on top, blowing sideways in the breeze. His blue backpack. His grey overcoat, unbuttoned over a blue suit. I remember thinking that he looked like he was on his way to teach a class, or maybe to go exercize after work. The backpack didn't match the suit and coat. It made me curious. And then the car hit him, and he did a weird, sideways sommersault over the top of the red Celica, his arm getting hit a second time while he was pinwheeling above the car, then his knees hitting the trunk on the way down. I got out of my car, but a bunch of people were already around him, some calling 911, or something, on their phones. So I pulled through the drive-thru McDonald's on my right and just got the fuck out of there.

It was like that. But I was the guy, this time.

But it was just for as second. Then I was back in my head. Weird, that watching that other guy get slammed took me out of my own head for, like... awhile. But this? Not so much.

They were both staring at me. Waiting for me to say something. OK, then.

"What the fuck, Nancy?"

She looked at me with that same, pained face.

"I thought you would have figured that out, Rick. From the, well... how long ago we... and from..." she gestured at her belly.

I blinked. "What the fuck do I know, Nancy? That was like... a year ago. And you're what... four or five months pregnant?"

She closed her eyes and shook her head. "No, Rick. It was eight months ago. And I'm eight months pregnant. I thought you'd have figured it out."

I shook my head. "No. No, I didn't. You told me you were going to have an abortion."

Ken made a face. Like I'd said a nasty word.

Nancy looked at me like I was crazy. "No, Rick. I didn't. I said I was going to take care of things on my own. That I didn't want you in my life. That you didn't have to worry about any of the consequences."

I nodded. "Right. Which means, to me, that you were going to have an abortion."

That face again. If he made it a third time, I might have to smack him.

Now Nancy just looked sad. "No, Rick. Not an abortion. I'm keeping the baby. I never said anything about an abortion. Maybe I wasn't totally specific, but you were also pretty drunk that night."

"The night you told me you were pregnant? Hell yes, and I got drunker."

She nodded again. "Right. But I told you I didn't want to see you again, and that's still true. And that you don't need to worry about anything. And that's true, too."

I looked at her and Ken. They were holding hands.

"Nancy... I dumped you the month before that. You couldn't shut up about kids and marriage and all that crap, and we'd only been dating for what? Three months? I mean, shit, Nancy. Nobody wants that talk after only three months."

She frowned. "Your selective memory is still pretty good, Rick," she said. "You didn't call me for a week. So I sent you an email that said, basically, don't bother calling me again. Ever. The next time I saw you was at the Rusty Nail, where I knew you'd be, to tell you about the baby."

I nodded. "Right. I broke up with you. Didn't call for a week. Didn't reply to the email. Breaking up."

"What the hell," Ken chimed in, "did you ever..."

She snorted. "He was very charming at first. Funny, too."

I shook my head. "OK. Whatever. So you didn't have an abortion. Fine. But you don't want anything from me either, eh? And you're all hooked up with Ken, here, now. All happy and shit. Gonna get married. Super. Good luck to you. Both of you. All three of you."

I turned to go. To find the singing bath mat or whatever.

"Rick?"

I turned back. A bit exasperated. "Nancy. What?"

"You don't care? About being the father?"

I tried to sound reasonable. Really, I did. Patient. Like explaining stuff to a five-year-old.

"Nancy. I don't care, no. Until five minutes ago, I never knew there was a kid. Frankly, I didn't even remember our chat about the abortion until you reminded me. As long as you don't want anything from me, I really don't care, no. Your body, your decision? Eh? Which is what it was all along, anyway."

She looked sad again, and Ken put his arm around her waist.

"OK, Rick," she said. "If that's it, then... well... Ken and I are going to move to Boston after the baby's born. He's got a job there. He's only here for the weekend. We're staying here now since I'm too far along to fly, and my mom wants me to be here near her. We'll probably move out a couple months after the baby's born."

"Great. That sounds great. Boston is cool. Good bar scene, good sports."

Ken's eyebrows went up, and he smiled just a bit. I thought that maybe he was a Celtic's fan or something, but didn't want to drag this out any further.

"So... that's it, then?" she said.

"What do you want from me, Nancy?"

"I don't know... I just thought you might..."

She looked like she was going to cry.

"Look. Nancy. Ken looks like a good guy. He's kept quiet during this whole thing, which is a good sign. And you're wearing an MIT shirt and going back for his gig in Boston, so... I guess he's got a big brain and shit.

"Stick with Ken. Live in Boston. Enjoy the wedding and the baby. You don't need anything from me. I'm an asshole. You're better off without anything from me. No advice, no words of kindness, no money, no ties, no nothing. Be grateful. If I was less of an asshole I'd want to get involved at some level, and that would suck for you. And the kid."

Ken grinned again. Half a smile, just on one side of his face.

"You are an asshole, Rick."

I laughed. "Yeah. But not a hypocritical one, anyways."

I waved at them, turning away again. "You kids have fun shopping. Get yourself a bjorn. Whatever the fuck that is."

I heard her sniff a little as I walked away. I would have been tempted to turn around and give her a little hug, or a pat on the shoulder or something. To tell her that, ok... maybe I'd drop her a line some day. Maybe I'd send the kid a check on his birthday or write up my side of his family tree. That she could call me if she needed anything.

I would have done that... but I'm not a complete asshole.

By the time I found the musical play mat and bought it, they had left the store. Or, at least, I didn't bump into them again.

The blonde chick with the nice, small tits and friendly little ass checked me out.

"Oh! The musical playmat. That's a great one. She'll really like that."

She smiled at me. There was no ring on her left hand.

I smiled back, and looked at her nametag for the first time.

"Samantha," I read. "Do they call you 'Sam?' for short?"

She smiled again. Nice smile. Straight, white teeth.

"No, Sammi."

Now I smiled. "With a heart over the 'i,' right?"

She laughed. "Not since I was thirteen, no."




------
______________________________________________

I blog irregularly at TinkerX. I'm also on Twitter. @andyhavens, go figure.



Comments

The following comments are for "February writing challenge"
by andyhavens

AndyHaven's Writing Challenge...
Most excellent, entertaining, masterful piece of writing, nothing short of what anyone who knows your work has come to expect from you; perfection. Asshole character? Nah, just typical and believable. Sad, but true;-)

Tashi Delek
Karma Tsering Lhamo

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: February 7, 2009 )

Wow!
Impressive! More later.

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: February 25, 2009 )

Randy Andy
A great story, and a tad racy for your submissions, to my knowledge. Congratulations on your presumed win, but it may piss off even the most good natured (yeah, that's you) winner when the contest itself seems forgotten. As the only other noisome entrant I declare you the winner of the writing challlenge. I assume no responsibility in doing this, all responsibility accrues to the irresponsible sponsors of this contest.

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: March 2, 2009 )

Fast Forward Eight Months
Andy,

Your Rick resembles the other nickname for Richard. You knew that- right?

Well-written.

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: March 3, 2009 )





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