Seven-Year-Old Fetus: The Interview

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Hey, it’s Claire. Here are the highlights of my interview with Melissa _________, the woman who’s been pregnant with a male fetus for twenty-six trimesters.

ME: Congratulations, I guess!

HER: Thank you. I feel very blessed.

ME: What’s your son’s name?

HER: Timothy.

ME: Most mothers I’ve known start to feel very “get this baby out of me” by the end of the third trimester. How’re you feeling after seven years of pregnancy?

HER: I worried a lot in the first year, but once I understood he was healthy and safe, I made peace with him staying inside. My hormones reached a wonderful balance. I have a permanent pregnancy glow. I’m not in any discomfort. I think a lot of mothers would love this experience. I’m always with my baby. He doesn’t get sick, he’s never alone. He’s growing up in a perfect environment.

ME: He’s not really growing up, though, is he?

HER: He isn’t physically growing but he’s happy and alive. He’s always growing closer to me.

ME: I want to ask some challenging questions if that’s OK.

HER: Go ahead.

ME: Have you considered a C-section?

HER: God, no! It’d be extremely dangerous for him at his stage of development.

ME: You’ll never get to see him or hold him. You’ll never talk to him.

HER: I talk to him all the time. I’m holding him all the time.

ME: Are you concerned he’s missing out? Totally arrested development? He’ll never ride a bike, or see the ocean, or make out with a prom date. He’ll never have a life of his own.

HER: He’ll never get hooked on drugs or have his heart broken, either. He’ll never have to worry about the news or feel alone.

ME: This takes helicopter parenting to a new level, though. You’ve locked him in the cockpit.

HER: I didn’t ask for this. If I suddenly went into labor, I wouldn’t try to fight that. I’m making the best of a unique situation, which is what every good parent does with every individual child.

ME: Why do you think this is happening to you and Timothy?

HER: I have no idea. Why can some woman get pregnant while others can’t no matter what? Why do some babies have disabilities and others have amazing natural gifts?

ME: But this isn’t like, “Geez, my baby has a harelip.” This is one in a billion. Unprecedented, far as we know. You’ve got to have some theory.

HER: I’ve had lots. Proof that God has a plan. Proof there isn’t any God. Mutation. A leap in evolution. Somebody slipped me an experimental drug. Alien pregnancy. But I don’t believe in most of those crazy ideas. I’m a very normal woman, very grounded. I think theorizing is less important than simply enjoying what I’ve got. We’re happy. We have a good life.

ME: That’s super zen. I don’t personally roll that way, but I appreciate how you’re just like, “I love my permanently unborn baby Tim and I’m awesome at my payroll job.”

HER: Thanks.

ME: May I ask you one more question? It’s a tough one.


ME: He’s snug as a bug in there. Not really aging. There’s no indication that’ll change. What if this goes on for decades and he finally outlives you?

HER: I guess they’ll cut him out. Maybe that’ll be his time.

— Report filed by Claire Maple

Seven-Year-Old Fetus

Hey, it’s Claire. Here’s a weird one. By “weird” I mean creepy AF and just the kind of thing that makes me dread-love my job.

I met a woman named Melissa who’s been pregnant for seven years. Twenty-six trimesters to be exact. I heard about her from an anonymous tip on The Blackboard and drove out to meet her in an office park where she works payroll.

She’s unmarried and wouldn’t talk about the father except to say he was a full-time fantasy footballer and no love lost on either side. She’s 49% pretty and looks right at the tipping point of “don’t ask about her due date in case she isn’t actually pregnant”. Picture a mousy thirty-year-old woman with a shopping-mall haircut and the beer belly of a middle-age man.

Little backstory here. Her coworkers like her OK and she’s a payroll whiz, no professional complaints whatsoever, but everybody thinks she’s crackers. Not dangerous crackers but sad crackers. Because she announced her pregnancy to everybody twenty-five trimesters ago, and there was an office baby shower and everything, and then no baby. She grew a paunch and then nada.

People assume she miscarried and traumatically fooled herself into believing she’s still pregnant, because she’s been talking about her unborn baby ever since. Not excessively, just casual references like, “I can’t drink alcohol because…,” or, “He kept me up all night with his kicks.”

So yeah, chances were good that she was very sad crackers. Except I felt the kicks. She let me put my hand on her womb and let me tell you, that was one real kick. I felt the little thing’s heel.

And then Melissa tells me her cousin is an obstetrician who gives her regular checkups and even ultrasounds, and there’s a fetus all right. She (the cousin, I talked to her in person) keeps it hush because she’s afraid Melissa’ll get boxed into a lab somewhere and experimented on, etc., and while I’m not a big gov’t-science-conspiracy theorist, I’d err on the side of hush-hush, too.

The fetus doesn’t grow or develop anymore. It just floats around in there, kicking and sucking up nutrients and dreaming whatever bizarro stuff fetuses dream. It’s like her amniotic fluid’s the fountain of youth, and there’s a human fetus bathing in the goo and never aging and man oh man, if she could bottle it she’d be a trillionaire.

I interviewed her. I’ll send you the highlights soon. Just give me a trimester to type it up j/k.

— Report filed by Claire Maple

Ouija Trolling

Hey, it’s Claire. So last night I drank half a bottle of Citadel gin, painted my toenails black, and broke out the Ouija board.

I made a real scene of it, lighting candles and listening to Bathory on my phone. I drew that vile symbol on the floor (not the *really* vile one I learned from that maniac I dated last June; I mean the lesser vile symbol) and sat in the middle with the board.

I don’t remember what I asked to make contact but a malevolent entity showed up fast and laid it on thick. He said his name was James, and that he was all alone and “scared of the red sound”, and then he got slippery with answers and started twisting the questions back toward me.

Was I hiding any pain? I told him yes. Was there a special pain I’d never shared with anyone before? Yes, I said. Would I trust him with the secret and allow him to help? I hesitated and let myself tear up before pausing the music on my phone and telling him my story.

I shared a long, detailed incident from my second failed marriage. About discovering that my husband had been having an affair. About the baby he’d secretly fathered with his lover. And then—and this was hard to say—about breaking into his lover’s house at night, and standing over the baby’s crib, and really, really considering…

Of course I made the whole thing up. “James” was obviously a newb and not too bright, and I let him relish my sham vulnerability for a while. He asked me to let him into my heart, “to soothe and warm the injury inside” me. (His actual words, spelled out with the planchette, I sh__ you not.)

I laughed and couldn’t stop. He was furious and started tossing lightweight objects around the room. A lit candle hit me in the chin, and the wax splattered on my tee, and it only made me laugh harder. Eventually he quit his tantrum and disappeared to sulk wherever he came from. I spent the rest of the night watching porn and feeling weirdly depressed, but that was probably just the gin.

I know you’ve told me not to play around with Ouija like this, but I’ve got to get my occult kicks where I find them. I kind of regret maybe teaching “James” a new degree of savvy he’ll use against others. I should probably feel guiltier than I do.

— report filed by Claire Maple

Evil Neon: 2nd Report

I experimented with the insanity-inducing neon.
It took some doing. The motel manager had unplugged the “FREE COFFEE” sign, which had already affected three people, and wouldn’t let me plug it back in. He wouldn’t sell it to me, either, but he finally let me take it to my room so I could view it without him.
He tripled my deposit in case I broke the sign or went crazy. I assured him I had plenty of experience with malevolent objects. “No worry tripling your deposit, then,” he said. Fair enough.
I detached the sign from his office window and carried it to my room. This was around 9:30 P.M. I closed the room’s blinds and put on only the bathroom light, with the bathroom door mostly closed, so there was just enough illumination to find an outlet and power up the sign.
I sat a long time, enjoying the spectral warmth I always feel around neon—a flush I associate with being buzzed but not yet drunk, or half-undressed with a stranger—and experienced no peculiar effects from the sign’s green glow. I must have fallen asleep.
How I ended up in the manager’s private room is beyond me. I was standing in his shower, fully dressed and soaked with hot water. When I stepped out of the bathroom, I saw the manager hogtied on the bed. He was unconscious.
He was also soaked in gasoline from a can on the floor. When I reached into my jeans for my pocketknife to cut his bonds, I found a Zippo lighter that didn’t belong to me.
I cut the manager loose, checked his vitals, and anonymously called an ambulance from his room phone. Then I got the hell out of there. Back in my own room, I changed out of my wet clothes and watched through the blinds as the ambulance arrived. I saw the manager walk out with the medics, looking dazed but OK.
The neon sign was missing from my room.
I spent the night expecting police to come but none did. In the morning, I couldn’t resist going to the motel office to see what the manager remembered.
The neon sign was back in the window it had come from. It was lit. The manager greeted me cheerfully, as if I were a stranger. He didn’t remember us meeting and had no record of me checking into the motel. When I asked about the neon sign and the incidents surrounding it, he had no idea what I was talking about.
I don’t either, anymore.
— report filed by Claire Maple

Neon Sign Causes Insanity

A neon sign at the ________ Motel has caused at least three cases of temporary insanity.

I’m withholding the motel’s name to deter occult-tourist nutjobs who will either disrupt my investigation or stare at the sign until they’re clinical nutjobs.

The sign is pale green and reads “FREE COFFEE”. It’s placed in the office’s front window and is visible from the road, which is the kind of treeless, strip-malled road that makes you want to avoid whatever urban center it leads to.

The motel owner describes the following pattern: a guest checks in, behaves normally, and asks about the free coffee. Each guest seems less interested in the coffee itself than in the “FREE COFFEE” sign. The guest then stands outside to stare at the sign and starts behaving erratically.

GUEST A: Male, middle-aged. Stared at the sign for three minutes before completely undressing, running into the road, and attempting to swim in oncoming traffic. Arrested. Believed to be under the influence and later released.

GUEST B: Female, adolescent, traveling with her mother. Stared at the sign so long her exasperated mother left her there to unpack the car alone, at which time the girl wrote in lipstick, in perfect backwards script on the office window so the manager could read it: “You will beg me to swallow your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver…,” etc. She listed seventeen organs before her lipstick ran out. Her mortified mother paid the manager for the cleanup expense and drove her daughter away without spending the night.

GUEST C: Male, elderly. Stared at the sign for less than a minute before removing his false teeth and using them, like a bad ventriloquist, to recite pornographic terms and definitions until the manager called the police. When the officers tried to calm the old man, he clutched his genitals, wept, and dropped dead in the parking lot. Autopsy results are pending.

The sign is currently unplugged.

— Report filed by Claire Maple

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