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Black Coming of Age

It's a gynecological fact that children who have just been born require a Womb Bear. This is a plush toy that has the sound of a beating heart within the plush that makes the child feel at home in their new bassinet.


It's very much like taking the old water from a fish tank and mixing it with the new water that doesn't have any dookie. In this way the young fish or human baby will survive and feel loved.


Well, I didn't want to pay the high price of the Womb Bear at Macy's. So I went across the street and maybe a few blocks down and picked up a very nice Wound Bear at the JC Pennies. The Wound Bear is much more practical because the young baby child can point to the areas that hurt on its body.


People that are raised with Womb Bears are always needy.


So we were in Natividad Hospital, because the ambulance thought it was closer even though we had a private room in Monterey. I think this is why my wife was really really less than happy. Normally she would have offered the nurses a cup of coffee and given the doctors the option of tea. Some doctors need steady hands and my wife is very hospitable like that.


In Salinas, they put us up in the army fashion with some army cots that are supposed to be very good for keeping your back straight during delivery. They're working on a water birth room using an old Jacuzzi but apparently the state has updated its hygiene requirements since 1968. This is the actual brand name Jacuzzi not the recent knockoffs.


So Michelle's not serving anyone coffee or sandwiches that comes into the room. I'm supposed to be using the phone as a video camera but frankly I do not want to share that particular video.


Michelle keeps looking at the clock because she wants to have a Valentine Day baby and it's getting late. They have all the wires hooked up to her forehead and her stomach. The hospital staff is listening for any signs that the baby will show up and not be completely happy... Some babies are simply born to be Divas.


But I got my Wound Bear ready… and if anyone gives that kid a problem I'm going to bust them in the eye.


She's four fingers dilated -- I know this because the doctor keeps stopping by and trying to decide which of his fingers to use for the measurement. There's a metric equivalent for non-Americans but I only understand the finger method.


Michelle wants me to pat off the perspiration of her head, but every time I come close she secretly tries to twist my boy-parts or my hands or rip the hair from my arms. I used to be very hairy.


I'm not even thinking about how much laundry this new kid is going to give me. There's just so much hope in the air. And then the delivery door opens and nurse Hilda comes in with rubber gloves down to elbows. It looks like she's really serious about the job of a maternity nurse. I never realized that Hilda Benderhole was that maternal.


We stare at each other like gun fighters and then she draws first by walking into the room past the door. She's telling the rest of the staff what to do, including the doctor. I'm thinking that's kind of weird because I know that Joe Benderhole never wanted to give that woman a baby.


It says a lot.


The doctor is right behind her like Hilda will hike the ball and he will throw it through the door and give her a wonderful football baby to wrap. Except Hilda is the one saying: "One Mississippi push… two Mississippi push…"


My wife is pushing for all the V8 vitamins she has in her body. She wouldn't take the Red Line energy drink I offered so I have to sip it myself. We're all screaming: THREE Mississippi push…. FOUR Mississippi push!


It's like we are one great big family in a small room with a cot along with five other women that are not ready to be dilated at four fingers. It's a lovely symphony hall of industrial efficiency. Michelle needs to fire that cannon at the right time. Mrs. Tonguequist in cot #2 is waiting to get the staff next.


Michelle grunts hard, reaches to dislocate my shoulder, and pushes just under the clinical level of popping a part of the brain called an aneurysm. We hear a magnificent explosion.


All the lights in Monterey county go down at once. I didn't know that Michelle had it in her. She's usually just so giving.


So the emergency lights flicker and then come on and they're really dim. I don't know if my wife is going to have her first child as a mutant baby. I don't even know if it'll look like me in the half light.


She's so apologetic that she thinks she caused a blackout. When there's doubt Michelle just blames herself – she's kind of beautiful like that. I reach down, see if I feel any afterbirth but there is no after birth. Everything is kind of starchy and waiting…


Nurse Benderhole says we have to be really careful because only half of the machines will work.


An orderly rushes into the room and tells us to turn off anything unnecessary. The FTC is on the emergency line saying that Natividad Hospital tripped a regional breaker. "There are people in San Jose that won't be able to update their Facebook pages." It's becoming a statewide tragedy because someone used too much electricity at the hospital.


I tell Benderhole to get all those wires off my wife. Our family will not be the reason that other people suffer. The Goround family will try to be a good example.


Suddenly, I feel a pinching on my ankle. It's much too low for Michelle to grab and I wonder what could have happened. I tried to ignore it and think of the baby that is waiting for its parole hearing. I already have an idea of what kind of job it will get. The baby must promise not to leave the state without permission.


Nurse Benderhole is nearly blind because she won't wear her bifocals and she is still pretending to be the leader of the room though the doctor is checking his watch and saying that he has to go down the row of cots to stick to his schedule.


I have time and a little flashlight on my phone that is absolutely not recording video. I'm not going to be that guy that uploads his naked wife and newborn baby onto Facebook. YouTube maybe, but definitely not Facebook.


I get on my knees and hope that Jimmy's Convict and Upholstery Cleaning Service has an equivalent cousin working at the hospital. Otherwise my bare knees are going to come up with a lot of funk.


I shine that flashlight underneath the cot and these scary killer cat eyes look back at me. It's not a kitty cat on cocaine, it's Wound Bear and it's holding a scalpel or a knife.


At that exact moment, I realize that the mechanical Little Bear wants to be the one to cut the cord. I've already seen the little snippers that are designed to cut strands of jello; the hospital snippers are not sharp at all. Wound Bear has a blade that is very sharp. It's not fair.


I tried to pick up the cot and move it out into the parking lot they call a hallway. They have more people over there with psoriasis and gunshot wounds than any other Salinas-style crimes. Newborn babies do not generally have psoriasis and gunshot wounds. I just need to get away from the competition.


For some reason, Hilda starts lifting the cot with her hunched back. She has the undersized rubber shoes with her cankles sticking out to heal. Uggs? Yes. She's wearing ugly black rubber shoes from Australia.


We are pulling the maternity cot together. I am actually going to let her go through the door first because sometimes it is good to be a gentleman. I dropped my side of the cot because there's no way both of us could fit through that door together.


Hilda, nurse Benderhole, she won't give up! She's pushing the cot to the left and then to the right, trying to jiggle it out the door with almost no overhead light. I think she steps on the foot of an old man in a wheelchair.


They both grunt as one. Michelle said she really wants to give people coffee and tea but the baby has to come out before midnight.


She really wants that Valentine's Day baby.. she's all about the love, the indecency of a love child, and maybe we'll just call the kid Valentine, or Val Killer, whatever. A kid born on Valentine's Day will usually have someone to send them a happy card once a year.


I'm not much of a hugger.


So the backup emergency generators in Salinas fail. We really should have insisted the ambulance driver take the coastal route, drive to Monterey Hospital, where people all the way from Pebble Beach go to get their warts removed. How much better would they be at removing babies?


Unfortunately, Wound Bear has followed my wife, the baby and nurse Benderhole into the hallway. It's just too dark and dirty to get on your knees and search an entire Hospital -- especially in the dark.


I tried to listen and see if Wound Bear is maybe performing some amateur surgery down the hall. There aren't any particular new types of screaming.


It's time to run down the hall, fling the light of the phone into every dark crevice. Having babies is all about this form of responsibility... a father must constantly be ready.


"Come here, Bear."


At that moment I think that President Roosevelt was completely wrong. It is much better to hunt a bear that is tied to a tree in the dark. Their small sizes and fluffiness of their fur gives everyone the mistaken idea that any bear in any part of Salinas is cute... they're all killers.


I open up doors and hear screams, close doors and hear slams. I find a utility closet with an adult stimulation device plugged into the 3 phase mega voltage outlet. "What the…"


No bear.


I shine the light on the strange closet with the Megadeath electrical pleasure device. The door says: Charge Nurse Station.


Poor Hilda. I didn't know that she had it so bad. Needing 750 volts of electricity just to feel like she was loved.


I mean that's really depressing. Even on Valentine's Day everyone should find someone. I mean if the baby was all Diva and didn't want to come out… we could survive. Michelle was a pretty nice wife and sometimes we just randomly laughed at stuff together.


Hilda had to rely on modern technology.


I even thought that maybe we should just give the first baby to Hilda because we were still young enough to have another. Then I remember how she yelled at my dog and said to myself, ' No way.'


Sometimes the emotion overcomes me but I'm still not a hugger.


I rush back to my wife's cot in the corner of the hallway. She's trying to fall asleep because labor is tiring. I trip and land on her belly and it's like the sound of a whoopee-cushion deflating.


Next thing I know there's something kicking me. It's not Wound Bear.


Because the lights were dim and everyone was so afraid when I told them that he was a stuffed-animal robot from China and probably had a faulty manufacturing chip and was running around the hospital with a knife. The new baby didn't understand the danger. It failed to cry on delivery.


It just kind of moved its legs like it was swimming in place. Maybe the breaststroke?


I felt moved with humanity, love, tax deductions and gratefulness. Even in the dim light I could see that it favored Michelle's side and not mine.


Don't reach for the light.


Enjoy the darkness. We all look better in the dark..


Yeah.


Especially, Hilda.

May 19, 2023 19:44

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28 comments

Delbert Griffith
12:17 May 26, 2023

This is the Tommy Goround that I love; the writing is scattered and chaotic, but a fun read with some insight into the human condition. Like you I wasn't much of a hugger - until I had kids. Love hurts. That came through, in both the physical sense and the figurative sense. Having your hair ripped out and getting the occasional dislocated joint is evidence of deep, mature love. YOU need the wound bear; the newborn can do without it. Great tale, my friend. The nurse is epic, and looking better in the dark is why we have a population explos...

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Tommy Goround
18:59 May 26, 2023

Man love is cool, Delbert.

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Tommy Goround
19:14 May 26, 2023

I'm not gonna put in the extra comma. Wink wink

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Delbert Griffith
20:00 May 26, 2023

LOLOL

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Lily Finch
05:49 May 20, 2023

Tommy Two Tone, this story reminds me of a story you wrote some time ago. It still holds its entertainment value intact. We all look better in the dark. - Something I have been saying for years. Especially because of what the darkness entails. The new baby didn't understand the danger. It failed to cry on delivery. It just kind of moved its legs like it was swimming in place.. maybe the breaststroke. - Priceless because it is all true. Totally laughable and pictureable. An orderly rushes into the room and tells us to turn off anything un...

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Tommy Goround
22:18 May 20, 2023

Liv kept asking for "builder bear" so I thought she meant this one. I dunno. Think I found 6 typos. Thanks

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Lily Finch
00:23 May 21, 2023

I hate posting typos here. It looks bad for both of us.

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Tommy Goround
22:20 May 20, 2023

Re: power I simply imagined that her electrodes sucked all the juice in the county. Maybe it doesn't actually work that way and the mechanics of delivery are different. I forget. We should all try to make babies every few years so that we don't forget

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Lily Finch
00:24 May 21, 2023

I try a heck of a lot more than every few years!! I'm a slow learner, so I have to keep trying.😜

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Tommy Goround
22:22 May 21, 2023

Lol

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Lily Finch
14:26 May 22, 2023

Ha ha ha ha. That made me laugh. Super laugh. LF6

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Tommy Goround
19:45 May 19, 2023

Build a bear? I think this is the story you have asked about.

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Wally Schmidt
22:38 May 31, 2023

Tommy this story is absurd! And I'm here for it. It beautifully captures the insanity of the delivery room, the expectations of each of the partners (the clawing wife, the clueless husband), and the ornamental nurses and doctors who have some role in bringing the child into the world, only no one knows what it is. Such a fun read! P.S. I'm in San Jose. Feel free to take out the electricity any time you want to bring a child into the world and feel free to take out FB anytime, no child birthing required.

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Tommy Goround
23:00 May 31, 2023

Laughing. There's a substation on hwy 101 that only has a few cameras for terrorist. The human EMP. (It's coming).

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Wally Schmidt
03:41 Jun 01, 2023

Well okay then. Unless you work for PG&E, it's a little freaky that you know that, but hey, you do you. LOL

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Ace Baker
21:01 May 28, 2023

As I've said before, I love when contrast is used skillfully. The womb bear and the wound bear... I think we all know that as writers, we sometimes have elements of both, but maybe the wound bear is most familiar? It's why we need rhinoceros skin, really. And as for the hugger situation? I can relate. I'm a prairie born person from a town of 800 where everyone has a BUBBLE, and my wife comes from a family who lives in a city of 6 million and her relatives are all huggers. Strange how that works... loved the raw emotion in your story.

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Tommy Goround
23:23 May 28, 2023

Ace, You're Canadian. That's awesome. I'm in fear of our northern neighbors invading and try to teach my kids the language. When you invade, we have a red scarf outside our northern windows. (please remember us).

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Ace Baker
03:19 May 29, 2023

Lols… we’re friendly folk up here… no worries! ;-)

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Liv Chocolate
06:29 May 28, 2023

This is exactly the one I was talking about. Like others have said, this is signature Tommy style. I'm wondering why you decided to take this gem down in the first place. (Please don't take it down again?) Clearly a reference to Build-a-Bear, which I think is what made me most curious about the story. (Quick tangent--I'd always wanted a Build-a-Bear, but since they were so expensive and I had frugal parents, my mom bought me a bear from the Dollar Tree, cut it open, took out the stuffing, and had me restuff it.) So we have two types of ki...

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Tommy Goround
09:22 May 28, 2023

Thanks for response. Lol. I was gonna put it in basement. Ok. It can stay.

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Tommy Goround
19:19 May 26, 2023

With apologies, Deidra gets the Muse Award. She once asked for another story about Hilda.

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Liv Chocolate
06:29 May 28, 2023

Where else has Hilda appeared?

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Tommy Goround
09:22 May 28, 2023

"No More Laundry". Still up.

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Katy B
17:09 May 26, 2023

Excellent story, reminds me of Walker Percy

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Tommy Goround
19:13 May 26, 2023

Awesome. You're back. I think. "She can't be convicted / she's earned her degree " (Billy Joel "always a woman to me.") Now that you are all educated, probably starving in student debt and looking for a job you don't hate.... Could you please give us a story about a heroine that decides that she should have become a criminal 4 years ago? Or 6, or 8.... Residency. Give us a criminal residency please. I dare you to make it a crime that I've never seen before. ::: Smoochies

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Philip Ebuluofor
15:19 May 22, 2023

Fine work Tommy.

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Tommy Goround
19:10 May 26, 2023

Hey phillip! I was missing on you.

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Philip Ebuluofor
06:37 May 27, 2023

Sure, busy I believe.

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