“Gods ‘n Dolls”

Stacy hasn’t had her period for two months now and we’re all convinced she’s preggo with a child of God. Brenda wants to host the baby shower, slumber party style, so we can all paint our nails glow-in-the-dark glitter green and scream when the lights are out. Last time, Jada’s mom made such a fuss about the noise, saying we made a car alarm sound. “Why are just five little girls so loud?” Kiara says we should do it like a baptism, like in the church, and everyone can wear white, and we can splash a baby doll around, in her parents’ pool backyard. I want to put together a gift registry, because that’s what I hear adults do, and the child of God deserves a proper ceremony.

Ms. Mulligan says Kiara and I need to be careful when adding numbers with decimal figures and this is probably why I am loose with my allowance money. I let Nate steal out of my piggy bank because Mom and Dad don’t give him enough. This is because, between him, Christie, and me, I am their favorite.

So for the gift registry I have got to make a list. I am thinking about what Stacy will need. New moms like new clothes, and I wonder what I could get Stacy that would make her look not so preggo. She’s already showing, it’s like she is holding a gold fish tank under her shirt.

But Kiara’s house is like that, it makes the rest of tense and we worry about seeming prim and proper. We keep our milk shakes on coasters. Brenda gulps her drink down. We all notice. Then Brenda catches me staring at Stacy’s stomach. She stares too. “It’s like an orb,” she says. Stacy breaks into sobs and says she wants a coat hanger.

“To hang all your new clothes?” I say.

“No stupid, to cause an abortion.”

“What’s an abortion?” Jada asks.

“It’s to have a baby early if you don’t want to wait nine months,” Kiara says.

Stacy shakes her head, “That’s not what it is. Why are you guys so dumb?”

“I will buy you coat hangers for all your new mommy clothes.” I say.

This only makes Stacy madder. She screams, “I am only having this baby because my mother is making me. I don’t want a baby.”

“But babies are so cool. Did you see the new Goldie girl doll with baby Bret?” Jada says.

“I want that doll for Christmas.” I say.

“I know. The baby even hiccups,” Brenda says.

“You guys really don’t get it, do you?” Stacy cries, “Do you want a baby, Sarah? Is that really what you want?”

She asks the question as if I wouldn’t. “Stacy, if you don’t want the baby then don’t keep it. Give it to the church. I am sure they can take care of the child of God for you.” I say.

“I don’t want it, period. Not now, not ever.” Stacy sobs.

Kiara finishes her milkshake and stands up. “Stacy, I get it. I will help you with a coat hanger.”

“I will too,” Jada says. “What are we doing with a coat hanger?”

“How many coat hangers do you need?” I ask.

“Just one,” says Stacy.

So Stacy is panties down on the toilet seat and Kiara’s parents’ bathroom smells like potpourri and mint. Jada bends the hanger, figuring out the angle to stick it in Stacy, and in walks Kiara’s mom. She is shocked and we think she will ruin everything, but she says she can perform the abortion. In fact, she has done one on herself, she says. So it’s better her than Jada, and then in walks Kiara’s dad, and we yell its girl time in the bathroom and push him out. Kiara’s mom holds the hanger and I settle down Stacy who’s now whimpering, and Kiara’s dad still bangs the bathroom door. We try to tune him out and it’s hard. He yells please stop, he yells he will drive Stacy to a clinic, she will have this done the right way, and since Stacy’s parents are poor he will pay for the abortion too, he will sign all the legal forms, he will say he’s Stacy’s dad to the abortion people, and he keeps yelling, please stop.

Brenda and I hold Stacy’s hands. Jada strokes Stacy’s hair. Kiara guards the bathroom door. Her mom pushes the coat hanger in.

About Chamandeep Bains

Chamandeep Bains has served as the managing editor of Oyez Review, an annual literary journal published from Chicago since 1973. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Roosevelt University. Her work has appeared in Make Magazine, Atticus Review and the anthology Rozlyn: Short Fiction by Women Writers (Rozlyn Press, 2015) . She teaches at the College of DuPage.