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Liam Brennan

“Is it red or blue?” said Natalie, a beautiful twenty-something with flowing dark hair. She was nervous, and would normally have used protection but she hadn’t thought it possible with him. “It’s red, what does that mean?” shuddered John, a sixty-something with thinning hair and a grim expression. Natalie closed her eyes and held her palm to her stomach, a single tear creeping down her cheek as she fell back on the sofa. John rolled his eyes and smiled, turning to check himself in the mirror and adjust his loosened necktie before attending to her. He placed his arm around her and leaned his head against hers, closing his eyes and sniffing her luscious hair that always smelled of apples. “Do you know how many times I’ve been in this situation?” he asked, his voice lacking any real concern. Natalie flicked her hair from her eyes and wiped the tears away. “Is that supposed to make me feel any better, John?” she asked. He cracked a slight smile and stood up, tucking his disheveled dress shirt into his expanding waistline. “ I mean it’s no big deal. You think this is the first time I’ve ever gotten this kind of news in my life? Shit, I’m nearly seventy-years-old Nat,” John grimaced as he ran a comb along his scalp as he was getting anything accomplished by doing so.

“What are we going to do?” she asked as John threw his jacket on, flipping the collar up just a little bit in the back as he always had when he was a much younger man. “I feel young again, slipping one past the goalie like that” he joked, sliding a pair of dark shades over his bloodshot eyes. “ I want to keep it,” she said, standing up to face him. He froze, turning slowly toward her with his eyebrows popping out from the tops of his shades. “Excuse me?” he said. She took a step toward him, her hand still firmly cupping her flat stomach. “I want to keep it, and I want you to be with me. It’s ours John. You’re going to be a daddy,” she said, expecting him to be excited. He stepped back and said to her, “I was a daddy once. Didn’t much care for it girly.” Natalie stopped and shot him one of the angriest looks she had ever been capable of. “What do you mean you were?” she yelled. He casually took his shades off and placed them securely on his forehead. “Like I said, I’m nearly seventy, this isn’t my first successful shot you know what I mean. But you’re the first to ever tell me what I am going to be, and I don’t much appreciate it,” he said as he flicked the shades back down over his eyes. “So what they all just got abortions? How the hell can you live like that John?” she cried. He moved toward the door to leave and turned back quickly, “For Christ’s sake Nat, they gave them away. They put them up for adoption,” he yelled, feeling that his manhood had somehow been questioned by the beautiful young girl who seemed all too familiar to him now.

An hour later, John hadn’t left yet and sat next to Natalie on the floor. They were silent, John polishing his shades and Natalie watching him with disdain. She grabbed the shades and snapped them in two, throwing one half out the window and the other half into the bathroom beside them. John sighed and reached into his pocket and whipped out a second pair of the exact same glasses. He put them on and gave her a devilish smile that revealed his silver fillings all the way at the back of his mouth. Natalie stood up and looked out the window, staring down at a young mother who was pushing her newborn in a stroller on the street below. “I’m not giving it up for adoption John. I can’t let someone go through that hell,” she whispered faintly. John rolled his eyes and looked up at her back saying, “And just how do you know its hell? What if he went to some wealthy billionaire who made him an heir?” John said. “She. It’s going to be a girl I think. I’m going to name it Virginia if it is,” she said calmly. John laughed and stretched his legs out along the shag carpeting. “Don’t tell me, after your mother right?” he joked. “Yes. Well my birthmother actually, how’d you know?” she said. John shook his head and giggled, leaning over to the minibar and pulling out a tiny bottle of vodka and a Mars bar. “So the truth comes out girly, you were adopted then?” he asked as he chugged the vodka and chased it with a massive bite into the chocolate bar. Natalie turned and stared at him,

“Look at that pathetic mess, what did I possibly see in him?” she thought as he hunched down and sprawled out on the floor. “Virginia’s not such a bad name I guess. I knew a Virginia one night. She was in the late show. When she got off I gave her a late show of her own,” he cackled, polishing off the bottle and the last of the chocolate bar. Natalie stared at him in total shock, a tear rolling down her cheek as she tried to find the words to express her repulsed state of mind. “She said she only stripped once. She couldn’t take the abuse,” whispered Natalie softly. John sat up shakily and lifted his shades onto his forehead again, his eyes seemingly questioning her previous comment. “How the hell did you know that girly?” uttered John, trying to hold himself upright. “I’m gonna throw up,” cried Natalie as she turned toward the window again in anguish.

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