by Tantra Bensko
Chapter 10: Zygote Inside the Luckys’ Mother
Blast, light, spirits crowding round, bliss, urgency, love, two lovers come together as one, finally, after so long, so much deliberation, the frustration of potential children hovering over, teased, the mad dash of sperm, the tightness of the egg-casing, the battle of potential selves, male and female, the thoughts of the woman, her hair black, her torso flabby, her surprise at the intensity of pleasure, the slenderness of her husband against her, spent, holding on, saying, “Thank you. I didn’t know if it would ever happen.’
The sperm, fighting, one looking much like another, some stronger, some more determined. Placement is everything. Timing. Fierceness. The spirits above the bed rooting for a boy Lucky! A girl Lucky! A girl that I want to inhabit! No, not you-sperm! A girl that I-sperm want to inhabit!
If we inhabit it now, we have a very high chance of being aborted. Consider choices carefully. Do we really want to live that short a time, or not? Not a bad choice. A lot of potential future to live out quantumly, as our future considers itself.
Remember what we talked about, everyone, stop crowding, your time will come. Crrakkckkkka ****##+++^^^** Pow! Bright light. Being. Bliss. Love. Infinity. Portal. Everything at once. Fallopian tube. Easing on down, down, curving, sliding, excitement!
What’s this? Dividing? Ugh! I’m becoming two!! I’m splitting! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH Whew. OK, not so bad. I still feel kind of like me. Hey, I’m dividing again! Hey! Hey!
Power thoughts of mother directed at the sperm-beings: “No, no child. No child. Stay away from me, girl spirits! Being born to me is not as much fun as it looks. I’ve worked your life out in my head all this time. I know. You fail. You will have to stop singing opera. You will play drums too loudly at 3 a.m., and you play two notes on your harmonica out of kilter to the music on the radio.”
The array of the futures of all possible babies solidify somewhat, the details filling in delicately at first.
She cuddles with her husband, who is swooning in shock that he’s allowed the night of wonder, night of all he had hoped for when he proposed, all he had tried to talk her into. Maybe it will happen again. He’s imagined intercourse with her over and over, always thinking the same thing. Crying, he says, “I never thought it would happen. Thank you. Thank you.” His long wavy hair falls over the olive skin of her shoulder, a pleasant combination.
The futures of the most probable child, whether boy or girl, dream themselves in the quantum probability planes. The photons feel out the blueprints in the quantum cloud, wavering between possible futures, existing in each one, for a while, buzzing, buzz buzz.
Quantum Mechanics solemnly suggests that the potential child must exist in quantum form briefly. The particles vibrate. They shake back and forth. The live their whole lives in potentia. And then, they’re gone.
* * *
Lucky gets on the plane, and eventually, it launches. She is sitting close to so many people on the plane. She knows they all have lives, ruthlessly, day after day, waking up as themselves doing their awful jobs. She knows she is part of everything. Part of her includes ruthless their-lives. She wants to claw the seat in front of her. She asks for meat.
The Mirror points downward, and attunes with Dungeonella’s mirror, silverly, across the rolling of the earth. Lucky enjoys her meal, tearing at it with her fingernails. Only her subconscious knows what the scrying Mirror is telling it. Or asking it. The Mirror reflects into the timecase what’s happening in the house, in the oubliette, ricocheting from the other. Only Lucky’s subconscious sees the intricate details of the scene waft through it:
The driver has returned to the boarding house, which is in major transition, slogging in inches of water in the kitchen. Andrew has turned off the water pipes that were clogged by hair. Dungeonella whispers eruditely downstairs, something about a flood of ghosts.
The driver is opening the padlock, going into the secret room above the oubliette. The housekeeper is hanging onto his arm. She starts to stutter in Spanish, and remembers it’s OK to speak English today, because Lucky is not there to hear. There is nothing she needs to hide now. They open the trap door to the oubliette’s ceiling. “Dungeonella! Come out of the floodwaters!”
Dungeonella crawls up out of the wet hole, shaking and pale, like a plant needing sunlight, the stem not green enough, wobbly. She clutches a dictionary to her chest, up high, in an unnatural position. She wears lime green polyester shirt attached to a green plaid shapeless top with white buttons. She hugs the driver. He takes a little flask of vodka from his pocket, and pours a swing into her mouth. She looks askance at the housekeeper, while opening her mouth.
The housekeeper says, “Hello. You’re free to go now.”
“Holà. You speak English! You don’t even have an accent. I don’t believe it. Lucky said you never spoke it so there was no reason to try to talk to you.”
Narwhal has gone to the end of the dark hall to check out the room she’s never seen open. Narwhal says to Dungeonella: “Hey, Hi there! Weird, you look like the prisoner in a dream last week. Where did you come from? I didn’t see you come in... Are you a friend of one of the other tenants?”
“There,” she says, pointing down below into the oubliette, eyes blinking. “What tenants?”
“How did we never see you? How do you get in and out? Do you get in and out?”
Dungeonella says: “Are you one of the ghosts? Lucky said I’m not supposed to get close to you. You’re dangerous.” She feels the edges of a chair with her hand, and sits down, sideways, legs tightly together, neck lengthened, under-eyes dark. She looks as if she’s been watered too much lately, and her stalk is dropping, about to break. I thought it was just the housekeeper and the driver. And of course, Ms. Lavaggio.
“Neener!” calls Narwhal. “Come check this out? How long have you been there? Are you OK?”
“She’s been there a very, very long time,” says the housekeeper.
Nimling said: “I’m not going to stay here one more day! That’s disgusting! The cops. We can’t let Lucky get away with treating someone like this. This is slavery. Someone’s got to bring Lucky to court over this one! Neener! Drop everything. This is BIG. Front-page big.”
Dungeonella looks toward the sound coming into the room, and when Andrew appears, sloshing through the water, turns her chin down, adjusting her gaze to his height. She holds back a gentle twist of her lips. He stops suddenly, bends forward a bit, quickly takes off his shirt, bends forward more, and starts running, head first, at her.
She makes shocked, politely appreciative noises. Andrew hands her a half a biscuit.
Dungeonella wanders through the house, eyes wide, legs spindly, touching everything. She picks up pictures of tenants and holds them far away, and then close up, cleans the dust off them, touches their images, tentatively.
She goes back down the dripping stairs into the oubliette and retrieves a soggy duffle bag. She pokes through the kitchen, grabbing a jar of milk and drinking from it, and Lucky’s room, peering at her important papers, stuffing some into her bag. She sets off toward the front door.
Neener steers her into the house. The driver says: “We know you’ll need this. This is from Lucky’s savings. It’s all in 100s.”
The housekeeper gives Dungeonella a teal cotton dress, some stockings, and a hair clip.
Lucky’s subconscious shivers, while her conscious mind is engaged with changing planes here and there, eats, stretches, reads magazines, and naps, and swirls times together. Lucky has no conscious idea of what’s going on back at the boarding house, other than surely it’s getting quite a bit of water damage. But she still is starting to develop a tic.
The plane bangs over some turbulence, making Lucky’s forehead hit the window it’s leaning against. Lucky becomes alert, and adjusts her tape under her bangs. She rubs her eyes and looks around and vaguely decides she is actually herself. She is a cartoon ink on a piece of tape.
She lifts her hair off the tape, as she wants to look at it in the reflection of the mirror, see which cartoon she is. She pulls out some of her hair. She shakes her head, and smooths the bangs back onto it. She isn’t sure she’s awake.
Copyright © 2014 by Tantra Bensko