Thursday, February 14, 2013

White Trash In the Snow Chapter 94, 95, 96


WHITE TRASH IN THE SNOW
by Allison


CHAPTER NINETY-FOUR




Cristol and Wrangler sat on the hospital bed in the room Dr. Barten-Curtain had arranged. Between them, pulled up near the bed, a plastic bassinet on wheels held a sleeping Calc, wrapped expertly in a hospital issue receiving blanket, oblivious to everything. Once in a while, Wrangler would stroke his cheek. Cristol couldn’t stop looking at him, and once in a while tears slid down her face and dropped from her chin. She didn’t even bother to use the tissues in the tiny box on the bedside stand. They didn’t talk. Everything had been said. How they loved him and loved each other. How they weren’t equipped to handle a special needs baby. How they would get married and have more children – healthy children. How hard it was to keep secrets and that the next time they had a baby coming they were going to shout it from the rooftops. And that they hoped their next baby would be a boy; a brother to play with Calc.
Even before Wrangler and Cristol started dating, he’d heard the Saplin kids say Mrs. S. was “the worst mother in the world.”  First, he’d heard it from Field, then Cristol and Maple. Now, that same worst mother was going to be the mother of his son. But, under the circumstances, Wrangler was okay with that. 
Cristol was not okay. Everything about the adoption upset Cristol - it was last summer all over again.  She was touchy, near tears, and sick. After a fitful sleep she would wake up queasy and emotional. Yesterday, Wrangler joked that he could sell his alarm clock on eBay because, the sounds of hurling emanating from the bathroom woke him up every morning.
 “Emanating?” Cristol laughed. “You been studying for the SATs?”
“Hey, I know that word,” he said. “You think your baby daddy’s dumb or what?”
“Don’t call yourself that. Be careful,” she corrected. 
“I know, I know,” he said. Then he hugged her, “Someday, when we have our next one,  I’ll be able to say that again.”
That was all it took for Cristol to burst into tears.  Remembering that now, Wrangler had a crazy thought. Could she be pregnant? He quickly ruled it out. A girl can’t get pregnant after having a baby until the baby is, like, at least six months old. Cristol had explained it all to him, how the female body has to go through “some stuff” to get back to where it can make another baby.
About a month ago Cristol did the calculations, and said they could start trying to make a baby in the fall. “It just takes time. I can tell what my body needs. I know what I know.”
Wrangler hated when Cristol used that double talk.  She’s turning into her mother. Wrangler thought.  “Whatever,” he said.  And he went along with the plan. It made them both happy to think about “someday” and escape the reality of “today.”
The plan called for them to be parents next year, soon after their May high school graduation. Parenthood would be followed by a mid-summer wedding; a ceremony during which Porsche would stand up with them holding two month old Clipp or Colt or some other gun-related name.  Wrangler wanted a gun name. Cristol wanted a C name. And whatever the sex or the name, she wanted another baby so badly it made Wrangler want one, too. 
 Neither had any doubts about being full-time parents. Other guys Wrangler’s age were dads, and girls younger than Cristol were moms.  Teenage moms formed a powerful clique in Azzolla High and Wrangler had many times witnessed how girls that were previously shunned were welcomed into a clique once they flaunted a positive EPT stick. He’d seen envy in Cristol’s eyes whenever they ran into a classmate with a baby bump.  He hated seeing her want something so badly and not being able to give it to her.  That was going to change, he was going to make every effort to give her the healthy baby she wanted and needed.
Almost as important as having another baby was announcing and celebrating the next pregnancy. Yes, the next time Cristol and Wrangler  got pregnant, everyone would know.
There was a soft knock, the door opened, Dr. Barten-Curtain held it while and Rachael and Tad slipped quickly into the room, and then she was gone again.
“Hi kids, “ Rachael whispered. “How’s my baby doing?” she went over and peered into the bassinette.  
Cristol lurched off the bed, pushed past her parents, and ran into the bathroom.  When the sound of vomiting began, the adults looked at Wrangler questioning.
He shrugged and stood up. “I’m hungry. Think I'm going to go to Taco Bell. Do you me to bring you something Mrs. S?” 
“Sure, thanks, Wrangler,” she said. “The usual.”
Wrangler left, Rachael pulled out her Blackberry and started reading email. Tad stretched out on the bed and closed his eyes.



CHAPTER NINETY-FIVE

It was two o’clock on Saturday afternoon. Everything had gone according to plan, including Tad’s giving a scoop to a friend at the city paper. Dr. Barten-Curtain had stopped the reporter and photographer when they stopped at the nurses’ station. No press allowed on the maternity ward. There were other moms and dads and those other families were entitled to privacy.
On ”doctor’s orders,” Rachael was wearing a hospital gown, and her own bathrobe.  On the chance that a disoriented new father walked into the wrong room, she should look like she had delivered a baby. Dr. Barten-Curtain was disappointed with Rachael’s lack of cooperation. Though she wore a gown, she had carefully applied makeup and acted like the Energizer Bunny (evidence of too many Red Bulls). The whispered lie of a bleached out hospital gown was being drowned out by the screaming testimonial of the Governor’s manic behavior. This was no post-partum forty-something woman.
So, Rachael dispatched Betty and Buck with the “newborn” to have his inaugural picture taken in a hospital corridor near a lounge. “Let them take a couple pictures. And don’t answer questions. Just tell ‘em my office will be sending a press release.”   
Betty was already holding the baby, and Buck held the door for her. “Dad, no tall tales,” she reminded, and then pointed to Betty, “Keep him in line, Mom.”
The Heats turned the corner at the end of the ward and saw the reporters outside the family lounge.  Betty had just said hello when, turning, she saw Lydia Krebbs coming down the corridor from the direction of the maternity ward. “Buck? Betty?”  She was closing in on them, smiling like a beauty pageant winner. “Oh my god, is that …did Rachael?”    Betty nodded and looked up at Buck.  She was following orders, not talking.
“A blue cap!” Lydia exclaimed. “Tad got his boy.” She looked like she might cry. “He’s beautiful!”
Buck couldn’t contain himself.  “Well, he should be. His mom’s the hottest governor in the country!”  Buck was paraphrasing his favorite bumper sticker slogan -  “It’s Cool to have a Hot Governor.”  In fact, he’d had it made into a tee-shirt and he wore it often, which worried some people, though none had the courage to speak up.
 “But, I thought she still had a month to go. ” A sense of déjà vu gave Lydia a moment’s pause.
The reporters,  were paying attention, and heard Buck explain.  “Took us all by surprise, he did. Rachael was in Texas, trying to get a good night’s sleep because she was giving this big, important speech to all them other governors who don’t know squat about oil and gas and such as that, and anyway, her water broke and ya’ll know what that means...” Lydia, glanced at Betty to share a knowing look with the only other female in proximity, but Betty was not looking knowing or amused.  Instead, she was looking at Buck with what Lydia would later label “controlled horror” – a hardened smile and eyes held wide open. It was Lydia’s second clue that something wasn’t right.
Buck now had Lydia’s full attention, and that of the reporters, too. She thought  couldn’t have looked prouder if he’d done the pushing himself. “So, of course, she calls the doctor –“
“Which doctor?” A reporter interrupted. “In Texas, or here?”
 “Oh,” chuckled Buck, “her own doctor. We have the best doctors in the whole country right here!  You should write that down,” he instructed, pointing a finger at a reporter.  He puffed up his chest and looked around for agreement.  Seeing an attentive group, he cleared his throat and started making stuff up.
“Well, now, where was I?  Oh, yes, the doctor – well, the doctor, she said, ‘hey, you’ve had four kids, you know better than me!”  Buck laughed again. “Yup, she said ‘Rachael, you know your own body. If you think you can do the speech, go ahead.  Then get back here and we’ll take care of that little fishpicker.’  And that’s what she did.”  Next to him, Betty pretended to be fully absorbed with her newest grandson who was asleep in her arms. 
“Her water broke and she still gave the speech? How many hours before?  What time was the speech?”
“You’ll have to get those details from her, fellas.  But I can tell you this – it was a big speech. And she toughed it out.  Right through the contractions.  That Rachael – she’s a fighter.”   He looked at the same young reporter as before and said, “You ought to right that down, too. I’ll tell Rachael to give you some reportin’ tips.  She’s a trained journalist, you know.”
“Now, where was I?”  He scratched his nearly bald head. “Okay, yes, I know. After the applause died down, and there was plenty – standin’ ovation don’t ya know. And then she and Tad, they come right here as fast as they could. Six a-m this morning I seen this little fella pop out.”  He grinned his old man grin and looked all around, making sure everyone was impressed.
The reporter had taken his pad out and made a few notes, while Lydia stepped in and took a closer look. “He’s a pretty good size for a preemie, isn’t he?”
Betty replied, “He’s only six pounds three ounces.”
“Oh, that’s what my Kenny weighed - full term.”  She thought he looked at least seven pounds. Carefully picking her words, she said, “Guess he’s lucky to be over six pounds when he came a month early.” 
It reminded Lydia of Field’s birth announcement. Rachael would never tell the truth, but that eight pound squaller was not four weeks early.  Of course, with Field Rachael had reason to lie; but why now? Rachael hadn’t lied about her baby girls. Lydia used to think Tad was one of those guys with a shortage of X chromosomes, but this baby was …
It couldn’t be possible that…no rational woman would… at least not a sitting governor… but this was a large baby for “premature” …
And it was a fact that Rachael hadn't looked pregnant until, maybe, three weeks ago. Where did this full-term (no matter what Rachael claimed) baby come from? 
Would Rachael dare take such a risk? Lydia mulled over what she’d seen and heard.  Applying past experiences she’d had with the governor, she decided something smelled as fishy as Bristol Bay, Alaska.


CHAPTER NINETY-SIX

Myleen Decker had heartburn. She’d eaten an entire 12 inch pepperoni and sausage pizza for lunch, and finished off a day old donut on the way to work.  She belched loudly, hung her purse in her locker, and began rummaging through it. Locating the blue bottle, she removed the cap and took a swig. The others in the room ignored her; Myleen doing Malox shots, it happened every day.
She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and looked in the mirror. She looked like Humpty Dumpty in a Mika Brozinski wig. These pants  have shrunk, she thought, unhappy with the bulges and wedges that accentuated various unsightly things. Oh well. She primped her naturally blonde hair and headed to the nurses’ station for a shift report.
There was good news. “VIP non-admit in 2012.  Mother, father and baby, a preemie, age unknown, appears to be around seven pounds. Dr. Barten-Curtain attending.”   These occasional favors done for big donors and friends of board members were the source of juicy tidbits for “prayer requests” and provided some relief from boredom. (Valley Hospital was so small that a day could feel as long as an Arctic winter.)
“I’ll take in the meal tray tonight,” Myleen promised herself, “then I’ll see the celebrities”. Anything resembling actual patient care would be assigned to “the girls.” Myleen knew some of her colleagues took offense when she used that term, but that was their problem, not hers. 
A product of the AHS class of ’66, Myleen Decker was raised in a town that had three “colored” families and no homosexuals. Her church told her the former were cursed and the latter were going to hell. If the bigotry of old time religion was good enough for her Uncle Myles whom she revered and after whom she’d been named, it was good enough for her. Her sense of religious superiority far surpassed her intellectual capacity, resulting in obnoxious confidence in her shallow beliefs.
Promotions at the hospital were tacitly based on seniority on the job and length of membership in the church that funded it. At sixty, Myleen Decker was next in line for promotion. Dr. Barten-Curtain observed that “her sense of entitlement is as big as her ass.”
Dr Barten-Curtain was quite sure the nurse had a personality disorder. A few years ago, she sought an off the record opinion of one of the psychiatrists on staff. She said,  “Actually, I see quite a bit of that around here, though this appears  to be a severe case.” 
“Really,” Abigail Barten-Curtain was immediately sympathetic. “What is it?”
The specialist used all her training to look serious, “Most likely it’s a bad case of Bullous Shitosis.”  Abigail broke out in a laugh and her friend smiled, “It’s funny,  but I’ll tell you something that’s real. Frequent exposure to BS is dangerous to your mental and emotional health.”
Myleen’s favorite a job perk was her access to personal information. Yesterday, she’d heard through the grapevine that a girl who looked like a member of the First Family had delivered a pre-term baby in the city in January, and the infant had just been released to go home. But when she took the meal cart to room 2012, all that had slipped her mind. In fairness, it might have been because she was distracted by indigestion.
She recognized the man who answered when she knocked on the door; she knew those ice blue eyes, the cleft chin, and the high voice that said “what do you want?” Trying to block the view into the room with his body, Tad Saplin was giving off menacing vibes.
Pushing forward through the gap between the First Dude and the door jamb, Myleen Decker saw the infant asleep in a hospital bassinet. Evidence of his conditions were right before her eyes, yet she didn’t know what she was seeing. His chubby little face, the flat bridge and the cute little upturn of the button nose were, to her, nothing more than… cute.  His malformed ears, though, were covered by a hospital cap.
Tad Saplin stepped in front of her. “I’ll take that. You should leave.”
“Burrrppp,” she belched. Embarrassed, she hurriedly left. “Sorry to disturb you,” she said as she closed the door.
Later that evening, one of “the girls” took a supply of diapers to room 2012 and came back excited.  “Myleen, did you see the  Govern – err, I mean, the baby in 2012?”
“Yes!” Myleen said; translation: I-saw-him-first! 
“Did you notice the nose?”
“Yes! Little button nose. So cute!”
“And the ears?”
“Yes! So cute! Oh, wait. No, he was wearing a cap. “
“Well, there was no cap on him just now.”
“So what, he has two of them, doesn’t he?”  Nurse Decker hated missing out, even on something as small as infant’s ears.
“I only saw the right one, but it was deformed. The top edge is crimped like pie crust”
“Oh, my. Well, that’s probably why he had the hat on,” she said. “They’ll get used to it, he can’t wear a cap forever. Anyway, he’s real cute. Ears aren’t so important.”
“No, no, no. It’s an indication the baby may have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Lord knows we’ve seen enough of that in the Valley. This baby has the ears, nose and bridge that suggest mom was drinking during early stages of pregnancy.”    
Myleen’s eyes grew wide. “Do you think they know?”
“They covered the ears didn’t they?”
“But not when you went in.”
“They weren’t expecting me. When I went in, Governor – the, uh, the guest, was reading some magazine, and the… um… the other guest, he was asleep in the chair. When I looked over at the bassinet she jumped out of bed! That story about her having that baby this morning? No way.
Myleen’s head was spinning. So, she delivered him some other time and some other place?”  That was interesting. “And Gov…she was drinking and maybe -”
“Whoa, no, no no – I never said that.” The ignorance of her supervisor was appalling. “Don’t you remember we all talked about her being too thin to be  seven months?” Myleen nodded. “And some people – not me – but some said they thought she might be covering for … um, a younger person?”  Myleen was still nodding. She seemed to be expecting more.
Exasperated, the other nurse spelled it out as clearly as she dared. “ So, if that’s true, the girl – the young girl that this grown woman loves and wants to cover for – was probably drinking last summer and ….”
“Oh my gol,” Myleen’s man-like chin dropped and her mouth stayed open. She’d finally gotten the picture.
The next day, Barb Judd heard on the radio that the governor had her baby at Valley Hospital in the early morning hours.  “It’s all over the news!” she yelled into the phone. “Myleen, why didn’t you tell me?” 
Because I am afraid, she refrained from saying.
“It’s confidential Barb, you know, HIPPA and all."
Barb didn’t believe her friend had a sudden respect for confidentiality or the law.  She was sure Myleen’s new found professionalism was, in fact, fear of being put on the S-list.  She could understand that, but she still wanted an inside report.
“C’mon, were the Saplins there? Did you see the baby?”
“All I can say is, there were VIPs this weekend and one was between six and seven pounds.”
“Awesome. I hope she brings him to church soon. I want to see him.”
“Ha, don’t hold your breath. Seems they don’t need to hear the gospel any more. Apparently being Governor means you only have to attend on Christmas.”   Myleen took personal offense at the Saplin’s poor church attendance. She and Barb were volunteer members of the Pastor Parrish Relations Committee, and felt it their duty to try to get members to show up. They guilted a few wayward souls into compliance but the Saplin family was immune to guilt trips.
Barb reacted,“You’re right. They’re all hypocrites. Field and Cristol - their partying and vandalism. And this baby is obviously Cristol’s. Do they think we’re all suckers? Oh, and that Maple has become a fireweed, too.”
 Barb’s anger had turned toward the First Family and her friend was happy to let her keep on slandering. “Makes me ill, it does; Rachael calling herself a Christian.  It’s the quiet people, like you and me that are the real Christians. ”
Myleen wanted to join in and was having difficulty holding back. Her pale face had turned red, her bulbous nose looked like that of a famous reindeer. Barb already said it – that this baby was Cristol’s – so if she shared her own ideas, … 
Face to face, Barb would have seen the signs and warned her friend that she was at risk of a stroke.  Keeping a secret was almost impossible for Myleen. Yet if she got caught talking about Governor Saplin and this baby...Damn, Myleen thought. I hope someone puts this story out so that I can talk about it.  Otherwise, I might really have a stroke.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everything works like a zipper! See a few typo's, but very good. Now another long week! Thanks Allison.

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I especially like how Cristol comes across as dumb but ernest. And Grandpa Heat with his puffed up chest and verbal diarrhea is perfect.

Anonymous said...

This is downright libelous/slanderous (whatever). your power of suggestion is sick, like your idle mind.

You need to print FICTION in larger, BOLD letters. But your oddly manipulative personality is the sickest I've seen.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little sad you didn't at some point write about Wrangler's penchant for making his peers lick each other's buttcracks and how a good little church girl who grew up working in the churchc nursery inevitably falls for the own bad boy who cheats often and cares about no one but himself

In reality, these boys would be pissed about a pregnancy, like Wrangler was. He spent the time around his 18th bday hunting and Cristol spent a ton of time with her family that summer. Yeah, real happy together, REAL stable. Which is why fighting was constant from day 1.

Isn't the better story here the ACTUAL story, where a woman brings a DS baby into her family and a daughter has a baby out of jealousy of said mother's newest child? that's interesting because it's not exactly news to many young people. My own mother had my youngest sibling when I was 16 and I was PISSED. The real story is something most people can relate to. Look at Sadie's friend, Kaila, (a name from myspace stalking days and one of B's former friends too) She has like 2 toddler siblings whom she mothers with her boyfriend.
Nesia also has a toddler brother.

I don't know how I'd react if my mother hid a baby from me and my siblings, esp if we'd been asking her if she was pregnant right before she publicly announced it. Im pretty nurturing like Bristol is so I' probably wouldve reacted in the same way.

I mean, at that time, she had been broken up with Levi. They broke up in Feb at some point and she went out with her cousin's friend at school. Though he hated school, he loved hockey until his nasty injury.

Hillarie said...

Anon 5:08, yes Allison is great at fiction writing.

Anonymous said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/93310923@N08/

Duncan said...

Thanks Allison...

Anonymous said...

Looks like the resident Palin-toe-licker has awoken from her stupor.

Your problem is that this story hits outrageously close to (what you so desperately wish was your) home. What you don't understand is that your flailing criticism only serves to support that fact.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful writing.

Anonymous said...

Allison EXCELLENT!!!

Rattletrap said...

Holy See!

An European Viewpoint said...

The Palin trolls are reacting - you're getting too close for comfort.

Thanks for this story, I love it. I check every week to see what will happen next...

Anonymous said...

yes - sweet, sweet story

I love how the comment troll comes out and confirms that Saplin never gave birth to Calc. Anyone that's ever been pregnant knew that story was BS.

now, as to how many children Cristol has....twins next?

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for new chapters. Great writing.

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