What Now?

Jana knew she had been totally drunk and crazy the night of the high school graduation party.  And that night she hadn’t cared.  “Bring ‘em on,” she’d thought.  Her parents had died in a freak car accident one week before high school graduation.  Their savings and proceeds from the house had just about covered their debts.  Now she lived with Uncle Lars, the monosyllabic old bachelor, on his dairy farm.  After nine months of grieving and her own work at reducing life to monosyllables, she had given birth to a lovely baby girl. 

Three possible fathers circled her life.  Jana didn’t want to see any of them.  Her daughter was unexpected blessing, and spring had come.  She was a mother now.  What was their role in her life, anyway?

18 responses to “What Now?

  1. I have no use for any of them, but I am linked to the three of them until I can eliminate two as the father of my precious Kaitlyn. Until that time, I have to remember their names. Someday she will want to know who her father is.

    What will I tell her? Shall I tell her how crazy I was after Mom and Dad died under the lead engine of the CR&NW Railway just a week before graduation? Is that a good enough reason for acting so out of character at the school’s graduation party?

    If I’m honest with myself, as I’ve come to be these past few months, it was more than being drunk. I just didn’t care about anything anymore.

    First, my date Paul. We’d dated a couple times—nothing serious. He’s off at UCLA now, pre-med, I’ve heard. Schmuck. He walked away after realizing how drunk I was and so out of control. Wasn’t even man enough to see that I got back to Uncle Lars’s farm safe and somewhat sound, though no longer a virgin. He was my first and not because I loved him. I didn’t. I did it because everyone else was doing it and I was tired of being a virgin.

    Then there was Ben from 5th hour History. I knew he had a crush on me so I gave him a night to remember, even if I can’t remember it very well. He’s a stock boy at the Safeway store. Going nowhere.

    And then there was Derek. Or maybe I should call him Mr. Michaels. I wonder if you still have to call your Sophomore English teacher “Mr.” after you’ve had sex with him? Anyway, Mr. Phillip Michaels is already married. With two kids.

    I can hear Uncle Lars grunting in the next room. He’s watching “Swamp People” on TV, though what he sees in that program is beyond me. He never says anything, just grunts. When he does have to ask me something, it’s one word. It’s catchy. I’m doing the same.

    Except with Caitlyn. To her, I pour out my heart.

    Has anybody here, seen my old friend Paul?
    Can you tell me where he’s gone?
    He left me drunk and bleeding and should have taken me home.
    But I just looked around and he’s gone.

    Has anybody here, seen my old friend Ben?
    Can you tell me where he’s gone?
    He calls and writes and leaves messages for me,
    But I don’t answer and turn off the phone.

    Has anybody here, seen my old teacher Mr. Derek Michaels?
    Can you tell me where he’s gone?
    I hope he’s not Samantha’s daddy
    But every day I see her hair turning more blonde.

    I have no use for any of them, but we are linked until I can eliminate two.

    • Galelikethewind

      Gullible! Thanks for going first on this complex challenge. I really liked what u did here, especially the “has anybody here” refrains. You captured the remorse Jana was experiencing with that musical reference. Thx.

  2. The baby’s name is Kaitlyn. I changed it a couple times and didn’t catch all the changes. Rats. Funny how the eyes “see” what the brain expects.

  3. The three possible fathers is definitely a problem. And yes, the baby will one day want to know which one is hers. Maybe we’ll have to have some DNA testing!

  4. Hi everyone. I am now a “published” writer. LOL I sent this in to a flash fiction contest, all it means is that it was accepted. And it isn’t even in flash fiction style. Will be interesting to see what happens… Jeff

    http://www.flash-fiction-world.com/lilly.html

  5. Gullie – that was really good. I stumbled and gave up, and, after reading yours, well, frankly couldn’t do any better or different!

  6. I looked into Maddy’s eyes, trying to see our future as well as my past. Who did she resemble most? Her brown eyes definitely do not mirror my green eyes. Brad has brown eyes. But so does Alex. I claim her turned up nose and pouty lips as my own. The red tint in her blond hair could be mine, or she could have gotten it from Nick. I feel like I’m trying to solve one of those logic puzzles in a crossword book. Maddy smiled at me. Definitely smiles like Brad. But I was pretty loaded at the time, so maybe not. I flopped back onto my bed, Maddy in my lap.

    I hated Mom and Dad for dying during my senior year. How dare they. Then having to finish out my senior year by living on an old dairy farm with Uncle Lars. Could life get any worse? So I’d rebelled. I had gotten drunk out of my mind at Brad’s graduation party. I vowed I’d get back at my parents for leaving me. I’d have sex with every guy at the party. I’d made it to three before emptying my stomach all over the bed. Not too attractive after that. Last thing I remember is Uncle Lars helping me into the house. Through my blurry eyes I couldn’t tell if he was looking at me with disgust or pity. Six weeks later I was hugging the toilet again. This time I wasn’t drunk.

    I sat up and bounced Maddy on my lap. Did I really need to find out who was her daddy? Would he even care? Would he drop out of our life just like Mom and Dad had? “Oh Maddy, “I said, smoothing down her strawberry blonde curls. “Brad, Alex, Nick…eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a Maddy by the toe.” I grabbed and tickled Maddy’s toe, and she let out a belly laugh. Daddy or no daddy, Maddy and I were going to make it. I owed it to Mom and Dad. I owed it to us.

  7. Loved the second toilet hug. Welcome Carol! Were you in one of my BWW classes? –Ann

    • Ann, I was in your beginning writing course and your Writing Essentials course. Loved them both.

      After my sister read my story of the three could-be fathers, she suggested the uncle might be the father…..wow, my mind never even went there. Anyone else?

  8. GALELIKETHEWIND

    Jana knew she had been totally drunk and crazy the night of the high school graduation party. And that night she hadn’t cared. “Bring ‘em on,” she’d thought. Her parents had died in a freak car accident one week before high school graduation. Their savings and proceeds from the house had just about covered their debts. Now she lived with Uncle Lars, the monosyllabic old bachelor, on his dairy farm. After nine months of grieving and her own work at reducing life to monosyllables, she had given birth to a lovely baby girl.
    Three possible fathers circled her life. Jana didn’t want to see any of them. Her daughter was unexpected blessing, and spring had come. She was a mother now. What was their role in her life, anyway?
    “Sad?” asked Uncle Lars.
    “Yep.” said Jana.
    “Doctor?” he asked.
    “Nah.” she replied.
    “Shrink?” he offered.
    “Maybe.” she said.
    “Doctor Raspichen is good.” he said.
    “Why not?” she replied.
    And so it was that Jana entered into a treatment with Dr. Sigov Raspichen, renowned Hypnotic-therapist.
    The bus ride into town from the farm took twenty minutes, and the Doctor’s office was only a five minute walk from the small bus terminal. After her first visit to his dark little office, Jana had agreed to see Dr. Raspichen twice a week. He was convinced that her deep sadness was brought about by her concern for her daughter’s future. After only two visits, it became clear that Jana’s daughter’s future was of paramount importance to her, and that she owed it to tiny Kaitlin to find out who indeed was her natural father.
    “Ten, nine, eight,” the Doctor whispered to Jana as she lay flat on her back on the dark red leather couch in his office,”seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…..and SLEEP.” Jana was an excellent subject for hypnosis, and drifted deeper and deeper asleep as Dr. Raspichen whispered soft words of encouragement. The only other sound in the room was the soft hum of the window mounted air conditioner. “It is June, 1996,” said the Doctor gently, “and you are at your High School graduation party. What do you see?”
    “Uh, I see the gymnasium.” she murmured.
    “Go on.” he whispered.
    “ I am drinking rum and coke.” she said, “ And I am feeling good. There is Todd Abney. He wants me to dance.”
    “And?”
    “I like dancing with Todd, he always holds me tight up against him, and he moves so smoothly to the music. He makes me flush all over. Wait, there’s Jason Maxton, he is cutting in. I don’t like him.”
    “Why not?” asks the Doctor.
    “Too gruff.” she sighs,”Always trying to cop a feel. I am pushing him away. Todd tells him to stay away. And Randy Martin is there too. He looks concerned…”

    The sessions continued along this line for eight long weeks, with more and more details coming back to Jana. At the last visit of the month, the Doctor reviewed his notes in detail. With a slight frown on his haggard face, he looked down at his semi-conscious patient.
    “And on the count of three, you will awake, feeling fully refreshed and back to full consciousness.” said the Doctor,”One, Two, and Three!” Jana opened her eyes with a slight jerk, and stared at the Doctor.
    “Well?” she said.
    “Jana, it is clear to me from our work together that none of the boys at that party had sexual relations with you on that night. So we are no closer in finding out who Kaitlin’s father is than we were in the beginning. But at least we have ruled out the graduation party as the place of conception. Next week, we will begin regressing to the week after the party, and see what comes to you, OK?”
    “Wait!” said Jana with a sudden look of revelation,” I woke up in my math teacher’s back yard on the morning after the party. I had forgotten all about that until this very moment.”
    “Do you remember his name?”
    “Oh, yeah, Mister Planker, he was a hunk.” said Jana wistfully.”Oh no!” she exclaimed, as the memory hit her – like a ton of school books falling from the shelf in Mister Planker’s library.

  9. Great story and great ending.

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