Coffee Break Fiction

The Normal Child, Part 2 (see below for Part 1)

September 1, 2009

“You okay? Can you stand up?” A man in uniform had opened Meg’s car door. He knelt down beside her. “Are you hurt?”

“I don’t think so,” Meg huffed. Meg’s sobs had stopped but she hadn’t caught her breath. “My baby . . .” She turned to look in the backseat and took a few deep breaths.

“He’ll be fine. Just call the manufacturer.” He held out his hand to help her up. “We can check you out, if you’d like,” he motioned to the ambulance. “What’s your name?”

“Meg . . . what I am going to do? I think I’m okay, but . . .” She put her feet on the road and then slowly stood up. She was so confused. The old man from the car in front of her was arguing with the young man from the car behind her.

“What the h$#^% is wrong with you? Are you f@#%^ blind?” he shouted. “You’ve ruined my day. I’m late for an appointment which throws my whole f#@$%^ day off! I should just go back to bed!” He shook his fist at the young man. The young man kept apologizing and finally resigned to throwing his hands in his pockets and looking at the ground. He looked like he was going to cry. Meg felt bad for him . . . after all, it was an accident and could have happened to anyone.

“Alderman, it’s okay, we’ll get you out of here. A car is on it’s way,” the police officer was trying to calm the old man down. “We don’t want you to have a heart attack, you’re very important to this city.”

Meg stared at the old man, red in the face and realized that he was a popular politician. Wow, he was pissed his professional image was genial and laid back. The media always seemed to catch him helping the community. Where was the media now? His reaction was embarrassing, like a brat. The public relations people probably kept that side of him under wraps.

“It’s that f$#%^ moron’s fault if I have a heart attack!” He screamed and the police officer winced. Everyone felt very uncomfortable. Does he have goombas that will knock that poor guy off? Meg thought and then scolded herself for thinking that.

“Are you okay?” The girl from the ice cream shop ran up to Meg and looked over at the screaming politician. She turned to peer into the backseat. “Let me help you. Let’s bring him to the office of the ice cream shop.” Meg felt a surge of energy from this girl and was finally able to take action. She about threw her driver’s license at the cop and told him where she would be. Then the girl grabbed the eyeballs with wires sticking out of them and Meg carried Caleb into the shop.

“My name’s Megan,” the girl in long dreadlocks smiled at her and closed the office door. Her long blue skirt brushed the floor. “We’ll put the phone on speaker and I’ll help you.”

“I’m Meg, this is Caleb,” Meg took a deep breath and held back her tears. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Meg turned Caleb face down and knelt beside him to get a close look at the back of his neck. The phone number was fading and becoming illegible. She paused and then slowly listed off the numbers. Megan punched the numbers on the phone. A computer answered the phone and after what seemed like pressing a hundred different menus, they got to human technical support.

“Happy Humans, please hold.” Meg huffed and listened to the recorded message on the phone. Happy Humans knows the trials you’ve gone through to get pregnant. Or perhaps, you don’t want to be pregnant, but you desire a perfect child. We don’t want you to give up on your dream of having the child you’ve always wanted . . .

“Hi, this is Jared, how can I help you?” Jared’s happy demeanor came through the phone.

Meg opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out, so Megan piped up. “We have a child here and we need to reconnect the eyeballs.”

“Can I have the serial number please?” Jared asked.

Meg caught her voice and slowly listed off the numbers on Caleb’s neck. “They’re getting harder to read, I think the last number is an 8.”

“That’s because he’s almost human. Usually by the time they’re 5, they have made the transition to becoming a real child. That’s very exciting . . . and you won’t have the eyeball problem again. Everything will be solidly connected,” Jared relayed to ease the stress of the situation.

“Okay, open the panel at the back of his head. It might be a little tricky because of his age. It’s kind of like a pierced ear that is sealing up. But you can open him up, it won’t hurt him.”

Meg used her fingernails and dug into the fading cracks of the panel. It made her a bit uneasy but she kept focusing on fixing her child and not what she was actually doing. She peeled back the flap and looked at the color coded wires. “Okay,” she commented.

“Now turn him on his right side, we’ll be attaching the eyeball to the left socket. Choose either eyeball, it doesn’t matter. ” Both of the eyeballs had a red, blue and green wire sticking out of them.

Megan took one of the eyeballs and knelt down to Caleb’s face and said okay.

“Attach the red wire from the eyeball to the blue wire in his head,” Jared crisply dictated. Megan said okay. “Now, take the blue wire from the eyeball and attached it to the green wire in his head,” Jared paused. “And then the green wire of the eyeball to the red wire in his head.”

“Wait!” Meg shouted and Megan jumped, she had almost had the last wire attached. “Why are you not connecting the same colored wire from the eyeball to the one in Caleb’s head? Like a computer . . . or a DVD player to a television.”

“Humans are a lot more complicated. You would actually end up with a child with a different personality. It says here that you ordered a musician. Is that right?”

“Yes, but I have been having some issues with him lately. He sees the world differently than my husband and I. What if we connected the same colored wires?”

“Then you’d end up with . . .hmmm, let me see here . . . a politician,” Jared replied.

“Really?!” Meg stared at Megan and they both thought back to the crazy angry alderman they had just encountered. Meg started laughing and soon Megan caught on. They laughed so hard that Jared started laughing, too. It was a good minute before they could contain themselves and both Meg and Megan had to wipe the tears from their eyes.

“Okay, connect it,” Meg giggled. Jared stayed on the phone and walked them through the right eyeball. They closed the flap. Meg took a look at the back of his neck and realized the some of the numbers had completely faded.

“Thanks Jared, bye,” Meg smiled as she noticed that her son had started to wiggle awake. Megan pushed the off button to hang up the phone. Caleb blinked his eyes, squinting at the light of the office. He rubbed his eyes with his fists.

“Mommy, it’s the ice cream girl,” Caleb lifted his head and Meg helped him sit up. “Can she come to my recital?”

“Of course, baby,” Meg rubbed the back of Caleb’s perfectly round head.

“Were you crying mommy? Are you happy?” Caleb asked.

Meg nodded her head up and down and started laughing. Megan and Caleb laughed, too. Meg had decided right then, that going forward, she would only focus on what Caleb was good at instead of what he was lacking.

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