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Words from the Womb
Tanya O’Garra

So you’re sitting there holding me up to your face, maybe you’re on a train or a bus on your way to work, or eating your corn cereal with not enough milk (I always hate it when there’s not enough milk or when it goes soggy), because your flat mate/ partner forgot to buy milk as always, or maybe - because, to be honest, I have no idea what form I’m going to take, only that I’m latent and fetal and ready to burst forth all over the place crying - you’re sitting at your laptop and only paying say, 40% attention to me, whilst the other 60% is on an email from a friend asking about drinks tonight. It’s probably a drinks night, say a 5/7 chance (the 2/7 is for liver-love of course). You think: I’ll give it another sentence or two, then if the little alien thing hasn’t, you know, done a song and dance that is rightly spruce, then I’ll move on to the next one – hopefully one with a murder in the first sentence.

I guess I would do the same thing. This is the information age so I hear. There’s no time to linger, let things unfurl, develop. If you’re not immediately “gripped” I’ve heard them say, if it hasn’t happened by NOW, then you abort me, flush me down the toilet. Did you read about the psychopathic Japanese dancer who went on a murdering rampage through the cafeterias of the ramblas the other day? It was terrible, terrible. Twelve people killed over their morning coffees and cigarettes, most of them bankers and hairdressers. The dancer then turned the castanets on himself and…haha! Gotcha! I just made it up. It didn’t really happen of course. You’re probably groaning and rolling your eyes. Are you going to answer that email or what? Cut down the attention you’re lavishing on me to 25%, I’ll just hang in there making small talk whilst you do it. (Obviously you’re going to say yes about drinks - you only live once I hear).

Actually, ignore the email. You’re got to change trains/ get off the bus/ brush your teeth (don’t leave cereal in the sink, come on! The stuff becomes cement), and there’s no time. Do you need another murder? No? How about some commentary on the state of the world? I can whisper it to you whilst you walk/ brush/ whatever: so, yes, the world is getting very busy (did you know that the world population has doubled in the last 50 years?) and there are lots of angry young men out there inventing things to fight about whilst carbon emissions shoot through the roof, but people still drive their cars to the bathroom and buy chocolate fountains to feed their landfills and - did you hear about the shop in Covent Garden that sells ice-cream made from human breast milk! 14 quid a tub! That’s news. The popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are just News. But ice-cream made from breast milk from some lady called Gladys (I made her name up, maybe she’s Dorris or Hermione) is news (cue: lycra and spandex and breast implants – newsporn for the quickfix generation.)

The more I think about it the less I want to do this thing – you know, burst forth and all that. What if I’m not what you expected? Will you still stick with me, or just throw me away like you do everything else? I’ll never calm your anxieties, why did you think I would? In fact, I want you to abort, so go on, just do it. 

Still there? Okay, let’s change scene. So now you’re out in the street. The weather is blustery and dark. You feel your usual early-morning nothingness. You’re a zombie like everyone else except for the woman who has started screaming. You look back in the direction of the sound. She’s blonde and lipstick-smeared, and panting heavily, her hand on her chest as if to stop her heart from leaping. 
“Help!” she screams, pointing at a man running in the opposite direction, handbag in hand, and you want to tell her it’s better to shout “fire!” because for some reason, onlookers prefer to deal with fires than people. You’d think you’d had more of a chance dealing with the same species, or even with sentient creatures in general - they’d understand about pain and suffering and satisfaction of wants and all that. Fire however. How do you reason with it? You either beat it down or get beaten down. Maybe people prefer the black and white, the clear lines between dominating fire and getting burnt.

Anyhow, I know you’re not one of those fire-biased onlookers, so I’ll give you the whole shebang: you dive into the bushes and five seconds later you emerge, only now your face is covered by a stylish black mask, and you’re wearing a seriously tight black bodysuit that flaunts your tight abs, your pert buttocks, your sinewy muscular arms. Did I go too far? Hell, take it, take it all. You’ve been working out for the last year and eating your fibre and free-range eggs. Where your rucksack/ briefcase went to doesn’t matter. Leave it in the bushes.

You start to run. You’re fast! Enjoy it, the feel of serious power, pounding down a busy street knocking zombies out of the way as you pound, pound, pound, and blonde woman is shouting “get him!” and handbag man has seen you and his eyes say it all. What do you expect? There’s someone in a black mask and bodysuit running after him and catching up fast! You’re almost upon him and you dive, arms outstretched, miss and crash to the ground. A mixed crowd of angry and astounded onlookers stand over your contorted form and shout/ laugh. You hate me now don’t you? Hahaha is all I can say.

So  come on, abort. Before it’s too late. I don’t want to come out. What for? To swim against the current, to squeak in the storm, to raise my hand only to receive a form response? Forget it, I’m not interested.  I just want to do my thing, but you, you want me to be perfect: a fucking bouncing baby. What if I have three eyes, or no legs? Or an extra limb that we haven’t even discovered a potential use for? Wings. Or antennae.  I want you to choke, if only a bit. All this comfort and predictability can’t be good. A bit of choking however would be very good.

Please. I’m begging you. It’s legal. There’s no moral issue at stake. Yes I’m a foetus and I guess I’m autonomous, and rational, but I’m not sentient. So you can do it. Kill me. Quick!





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