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This short story originally appeared in the collection “The Bold Investor”

They were in his backyard, and she was smiling at him. He knew what she wanted. He wanted it, too. But not now. He wanted to wait. He needed to drink some more, and lifted the bottom of a cold can toward branches of an oak tree shrouding his yard. The beer went down fast and easy, as ever, and he said, “Be right back,” and walked into the garage to the kitchen and pulled open the refrigerator. There were only a few left, and he popped one before stepping back to the shady backyard.

She was still smiling. “Let me have some.”

“I’ll get you one.”

“I want yours,” she said, gliding up to take his can and a small sip before she tossed it into grass and hooked his arm with hers and led him inside.

“Let me go, Bob,” she said, easing to a nightstand.

“Not that.”

“It’s almost the same,” she said.

“No, it’s not.”

“It’s the only way I’ll do it. Here.”

He picked her up and gently rolled her onto the bed, and in a few minutes he reached down and Sarah yelled, “Bob, no…”

* * *

“You don’t like children.”

“Yes I do,” he said.

“Just not your own.”

Bob did not reply.

“You should’ve told me,” she said.

“I did.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“I implied it.”

“Were you afraid I’d leave?”

“I wanted us to have some time together.”

“I want kids.”

“You already have a little boy.”

“I’m not waiting.”

“It’s only a counseling session next week, and two days later…”

“No. If you want this done, get me in tomorrow.”

Bob called every place in the yellow pages and found one and left a fifty percent non-refundable deposit by credit card.

* * *

About a dozen people were picketing back and forth on the hot sidewalk.

“Don’t do it,” a man told Sarah.

“Get away from us,” Bob snarled, and pushed him on the shoulder.

“You’ll always regret it.”

The waiting room was large and packed. Mostly couples. Only a few of the women didn’t have men. One was alone, looking into her lap at thumbs scratching each other. Bob and Sarah stood at the check-in window and took care of paperwork. In a few minutes a woman walked slowly, from inside the facility, into the waiting room and looked somberly at some guy, and he got up and put his arm around her and they left, and Sarah took the seat and Bob stood at attention facing her and kept crossing and uncrossing his arms until she put a hand on his hip and pushed him around toward the waiting room.

Several doctors must’ve been working in back because women were coming and going fast, and Bob thought Christ this is like lube jobs. He was doing a lot of thinking, and so was everyone else. No one was talking. No one was reading. Everyone was quiet and still in the big waiting room.

“Sarah,” said a nurse.

She got up and they followed her down a long hall of closed doors and into a room appointed with some strange equipment. As instructed, Sarah stepped behind a curtain and emerged in a white surgical gown. A short doctor came in, wearing a green surgical uniform, and asked Sarah to please lie back on the examination table.

“You go now, Bob,” Sarah said.

“I thought you’d want me to stay.”

“Not for this.”

This entry was posted in Abortion, George Thomas Clark, The Bold Investor.