Daily Archives: November 11, 2006

NaNoWriMo 2006- Day Ten

Friday. End of week. Phew. The writing is becoming sluggish, but I refuse to type words just for the word count. I find, though, that the Nanowidget at the left that I move up with every post is a real motivator. If I don’t write at least my minimum word count, the line become red. Aaagh.

Here’s another excerpt (there are some passages snipped in between the excerpts, but you’re still at the beginning of the story, at chapter 4):

Another day, another baby. All my fears were confirmed. It was a girl. What was the feminine equivalent of Phoenix?

At first I didn’t know it was a girl, and I wasn’t about to check myself. Maybe if it had been my own kid, it would’ve been different. Maybe. But I decided to be a pig and let a woman take care of the diaper-changing, gender-checking chores.

It was only seven in the morning but I figured Claire had already gone to work and, Isabel, despite her jet-lag, probably had breakfast with Claire. Like me, Isabel ate breakfast, and she’d joked that she’d have Claire join our ranks soon. I didn’t know Claire’s breakfast habits, and I really didn’t care about them. The fact that all three of us would, one day, go down to the Moulin de Provence for espresso and bagels made me shudder. Okay, maybe we had a civilized conversation the night before, but Claire was a tight-ass at the best of times and her tongue spewed too much vinegar for my taste.

I picked up the phone and speed-dialed Isabel’s number. To my surprise, Claire’s sleepy voice answered.

“I don’t believe it,” I said, “it’s seven in the morning and you’re not at work.”

“What? Seven?” she said, sounding a lot more awake. “Oh, my God, I’m late.”

“Wait! Don’t hang up. Since you’re not gone, you can come and help me with my little problem.”

At that moment, the baby started to wail. Claire paused at the other end of the line. “Is it a girl?”

“That’s what I want you to come and check.”

“What makes you think I know anything about babies?”

“You’re a woman, aren’t you?”

“You are such a jerk.” She slammed the phone in my ear.

“Ouch.” No help from that quarter. I was debating what to do next —call Betty, or Mrs. P— when the doorbell rang. Isabel stood on the other side. I opened the door, pulled her inside. She had on a robe over a long nightgown and slippers. She yawned.

“You’re a life saver,” I said. “I’ll make coffee.”

“Diapers?”

I lifted the bag that I’d taken from the coffee table in expectation of help. “Did Claire tell you about this baby?”

“She told me about the one yesterday. It’s kind of hard to believe.”

“No shit.” I dragged her into my bedroom, where the baby was still crying. As far as I could tell, it looked exactly like the other one. “If you give it formula, it should grow several inches. Please don’t be scared, okay?”

“You’re staying with me, right?”

“Ah… coffee. I’ll go make coffee. I got bagels.”

Isabel shook her head and pushed me out the door. “Wimp.”

“You bet.”

A couple of minutes later, the crying stopped. I could hear Isabel cooing and laughing. Obviously a woman thing, because neither Terry or I had made the ridiculous sounds. Then there was no sound.

I left off dividing a bagel and went back to the bedroom. Isabel sat on the bed, her face pale, holding a much bigger baby in her arms. “It’s true.” She raised stunned eyes to mine. “After the affair with the Fates, I understood the world was weirder than I knew. But when Claire explained about the baby, I didn’t believe it. But it’s true.”

“Unfortunately.”

“You mean she’ll be gone by tonight?”

“Phoenix was gone in about seven hours.”

“How?”

“I don’t know. I fell asleep.” Or maybe someone had put me to sleep. I felt off-kilter, as if I had one foot on a balance beam and the other in the air. “He was a man by then. Listening to music. He loved music, especially opera.”

Isabel frowned. “That’s a little weird.”

“I thought that, too.” I went into the bathroom, came back with a towel. “Come on, I’ll put her on the floor near the breakfast bar. We can have breakfast.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Then you can watch me eat while you drink your coffee.”

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