Make the Merry-Go-Round Go Faster

for Marissa, who wanted more continuity

Pushing through the amniotic sack was the hardest part. After that everything worked with him.

When he got his head free, shiny still with blood and mucus, he took a deep breath — his first! — and squinted around at the room. Everything was white and hard-edged. Unpleasant.

“He’s not crying,” a deep voice said above him.

“Hit him, then! I’m busy!” said another, deeper, that allowed him to say ‘female’ to the first voice, and ‘male’ to the second. He was pulled into the air and swatted fiercely on the backside. He snarled at the blur that had struck him.

“Thank god!” said the female voice.

He stopped snarling while they were cleaning him. He couldn’t see very well yet, but there was nothing wrong with his hearing.

“He’s such a quiet baby. It’s not normal.” This was the first voice.

“They come in all types. Some of them are just quiet.” This was a third voice. Female? He wasn’t sure. “How’s the mother?”

“Ma’am? How are you feeling?”

Someone groaned. He knew that voice. Quiana!

“She’s still under. How much did you pump into her? Seems okay, though. Pulse is good.”

“What’d she name the baby?”

He knew.