“Good for you guys for cloning yourselves or whatever”
“So, we have news,” Joan said.
“You tell him, Jack.”
Jack smiled at Joan, and Joan smiled back. They both smiled at me. They seemed more like aliens than ever. All this smiling. Maybe I was the alien. The alien vampire pervert homo.
“Well,” he said, “we’re pregnant.”
“Oh my God,” I said. “Are you keeping it?”
A short silence passed.
“People don’t announce it when they’re not keeping the baby.”
Had the timing been different, I might have mentioned that, very drunk about six years prior, Joan had announced a soon-to-be-terminated pregnancy with an ironically festive air. Less than a week after the procedure we had gone out for an occasion she dubbed the Roe v. Wade Happy Hour.
“Can you believe we’re having a baby?” Jack said again.
“I hate it when men say ‘We’re pregnant’ or ‘We’re having a baby.’ It’s not like you’re doing any of the work, Jack. When you tell people, maybe try ‘We’re expecting’ or just ‘Joan’s pregnant.’ I hope I’m the first person you’re trying this out on.”
“You’re not. We told our families first. And about a dozen other people.”
“Then my intervention is in vain.”
“You have to admit, it’s pretty cool,” Joan said, her voice at a chirpy lilt. “The first baby of two of your dearest friends.”
“I can’t even imagine it,” I said. “But congratulations, I guess.”
“Thanks a lot,” Jack said. “Guess who we’re not asking to be the godfather.”
“Don’t be mean, Jack,” she said.
“What does everyone else do?” I said. “Do they like squeal and spring out of their chairs and hug you both and say stuff like, ‘Oh my god, you’re going to be a mommy and daddy?’”
“Not exactly, but, yeah, something along those lines,” Joan said.
Jack was getting mad. I’d known him long enough to recognize the sneery little smile he got when he was thinking something mean and debating whether or not to say it. I imagined him thinking, This is why the cop doesn’t want to be with you, you fucking faggot asshole.
“We were hoping our news might cheer you up a little,” Joan said.
“Really? You did?” I couldn’t imagine a world in which someone else’s breeding would mend my completely destroyed heart.
“I guess we were wrong.”
“Sorry,” I said. “But good for you guys for cloning yourselves or whatever.”
“Wow, thanks,” Jack said. “Really touching.”
Drew Nellins Smith - Arcade (The Unnamed Press-2016)