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Present Day Reality, by Edward M. Turner

by Edward M. Turner

Lyle sat at the kitchen table with a syringe in his left hand. He looked up at his wife and thought, "It's funny, at times like these one thinks of the damnedest things."

Just now he remembered driving into Swampscott in his black '02 Cavalier Sedan. He'd been amazed at the idea of how easy the trip was to a bookstore in another town compared to, say, one-hundred years ago. Lyle assumed others didn't get into these reveries, but then, he couldn't help himself.

The day was a bit windy, a little rainy. He'd carefully adjusted the heater and rear-window defroster and intermittent windshield wipers. The driver's side window remained down so he could hear the outdoors.

What a mechanical marvel! No horse, no loud clip-clop, no whip. Just a fast spin to check out a new Bernard Cornwell novel at the chain-store outlet. And the CDs. "Mozart's Requiem" played in the CD-FM radio the car dealer threw in to cinch the sale. What God-like music, that Mozart. Sometimes life didn't seem so bad.

Judy stood before him with her underpants down, her backside pointed coyly in his direction. "C'mon, dear. Stick it in." She indicated a spot on her right cheek. Her buttocks were full and white, a nice contrast that highlighted her olive complexion.

Lyle still felt a sense of wonder at the devices in his two-bedroom apartment. A microwave oven made leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy into something far superior to the TV dinners of his youth. The digital alarm clock (on his side of the waterbed) contained numbers that glowed in the dark, silently. The pulse alarm was muted yet woke him up instantly.

His very job consisted of a TV that sat on his desk with a wire plugged into a keyboard. A computer word-processor. He imagined speech communication was the next level in his computer. "Hey big boy, watch your language. Ouch! Easy on my keys, okay?"

Lyle hated needles. Judy didn't mind. She'd worked at area hospitals for nearly twenty years, most recently as a scheduling secretary. Her job included a headset that resembled one of those plastic thinking caps he'd worn as a pre-schooler. She spoke (and gossiped) into this miniature speaker attached to a clear plastic tube jutting out from a lobe of the headset. She also typed on a keyboard directly to a screen. No paper, instant schedule.

"Judy, did you mix this right? I mean, the syringe is pretty full."

"Lyle, I know doses. Don't worry."

One had to be careful nowadays. The whole country was health conscious, not like in his early days in the military. Then, you popped any pill into your mouth and hoped for a nice trip.

Last year, a kid in his Continuing Ed. class said he didn't take hallucinogenic acid because it wasn't "organic." Times sure change.

His latest kick—no cigarettes. Booze was dropped years before. Lyle had even shaved his mustache last month to hide his gray hair. He kept reinventing himself, next he'd shave his head. Imagine, it's been thirty years since puberty rocked his world, and the discovery of girls.

The minutiae went through one's mind. He and Judy returned from the gym only forty-five minutes ago. Now she wanted this needle full of drugs up her buttocks! She has marks, pinholes in both cheeks!

And I'm helping her! My God, the things we do.

Lyle read the list of drugs he had to inject: four ampoules Humegon, two ampoules Fertinex; mixed with two-and-a-half cc's Sodium Chloride. Blood tests and ultrasound tomorrow.

"Here goes, Hon." He swabbed the alcohol-soaked cotton ball over the spot she indicated and stuck in the needle. As he depressed the plunger, he reflected that the last ultrasound had shown five follicles. Two large ones on the left, three smaller ones on the right. Earlier, his wife mentioned she needed more baby aspirin to thin her blood.

It's called "making babies."

Lyle pulled out the needle, capped it, and dropped it into the open #2 plastic detergent bottle. "Hold this," he said. Judy put her finger on another clean cotton ball pressed on the needle site. "I gotta' go in and watch the ballgame. Seattle's losing to the Yankees, or they were."

These present day fertility rites left him feeling... hopeful?

"I hope it's a girl."


After years of skilled labor jobs, Ed. Turner now lives and writes in Biddeford, Maine with his wife, Amy and her black cat, Fannie. He has published stories in a variety of genres and is working on his third novel.
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Richard Arnold reviews Edward M. Turner's online book, Rogues Together: A Chronicle of Olde England, in this issue of Terrain.org.


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