by Nathaniel Kressen
Setting: a clinic in Perseverance, Wyoming
Time: late 21st century
Character: RACINE—female, teens, a problem child
After years of consuming artificial growth hormones, the female population in America is largely unable to bear children. RACINE, a rebellious orphan still in her teens, is one of the rare few to test fertile and is thrown into a government-run clinic. She forms an unexpected bond with the doctor there, who is equally conflicted about duty to self versus duty to humanity.
So last night I dreamed I was at Craters of the Moon with Marty, just like we planned. He was giving me this out-of-this-world orgasm, and all of a sudden I look and he’s turned into Abraham Lincoln. The beard, the top hat, the whole nine. And I’m like, okay, cool. I’m a history geek, I’ll go with it. I mean how are you ever going to screw up the future if you don’t know who screwed up the past? So Abe keeps pumping away. Then he turns into Napoleon. He’s Alexander the Great. Einstein. Obama. I think he might have even turned into Chewbacca at some point. So eventually this rolodex of historical cock comes to a climax and spontaneously combusts into a cloud of butterflies. They’re everywhere. I can’t see the sky above us, they’re so thick. I try to get up but they swoop down and start batting their wings against my stomach. And the longer they do it, the more it swells up. I just lay there watching it grow, knowing with every fiber that something good is coming.
In like 30 seconds I’m big as a house, my water breaks, I go into labor and a baby pops out. Right away I know something’s up because this baby is sitting upright and just staring me down. Then it’s cute little mouth opens into a smile, a pair of white wings open from its back and it rises into the air. And its little infectious smile gets me smiling, and I don’t even mind when the butterflies swarm back down again. I don’t mind swelling up and I don’t mind popping out another baby. It does the same thing: sit up, sprout wings, hover over me and smile. The whole thing happens again. Another baby. Then another. And another. And another. Finally the butterflies quit. And I’m like, cool, I guess eight is enough. Then I feel this tug. The babies are still attached to me, the umbilical cords or whatever, and all eight of them are lifting me up. Soon I’m bare naked, spread eagle, upside down, floating into the air, but I’m still cool with it, ‘cuz their smiles are so damn adorable.
We fly east, passing over towns and farms and cities, and eventually we make it to New York. The streets are flooded with people, and all of them are fighting. They’re throwing these cherry bombs at one another, these firecracker things that explode in people’s faces and set them on fire. Everyone’s screaming. There’s death everywhere. My heart fills with so much sadness I have to fight to breathe. Then I look to one side and see you perched on the Empire State Building holding a crate of tomatoes. You start tossing them to me, and somehow I know you want me to drop them down to the crowd. I’m like, whatever, the streets will just be flooded with ketchup but at least the fires might go out. But they turn out to be magic tomatoes, because just as they’re about to hit the ground, they slow down and hover in front of the people’s faces. And their eyes get brighter. And all of a sudden they drop their firecrackers and throw the tomatoes instead. Everyone’s laughing. Like little kid laughter. And the fires go out and everyone that’s dead comes back to life and soon the entire city is swimming in tomato chunks. I look behind me and the entire country is swimming red…
You know what I think it means? It just hit me now talking through it… I think this whole thing is going to work out. I think I’m going to have beautiful healthy kids who I love. And if it can’t be with Marty, I think maybe it’s supposed to be with you.
copyright © 2010 Nathaniel Kressen. All rights reserved. _________________________________________________
Nathaniel Kressen is a Brooklyn-based playwright, fiction writer, and novelist. His plays have been performed at PS 122, Soho Rep Walkspace, the American Globe Theatre, Alive Theatre (DC), the Source Festival (DC), and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, to name a few. His fiction has been published by Vagabondage Press. His debut novel, Concrete Fever, was completed in late 2010.