not the best was to start the birthing process..
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Dreaming of A Man, A Dachshund, and A Motorcycle
by KJ Hannah Greenberg



Dorothy was overdue. She and Chet tried intimacy. They drove over speed bumps at unnatural velocities. They ate spicy food. They meditated.


All things considered, the poet hated meditating. He thought yoga mats only benefited their manufacturers and that wearing skivvies ought to be reserved for when he was brushing his teeth after showering.


As for spicy food, as long as the peppers were either Jalapenos or African Bird’s Eyes, he was okay. That man had little interest in searing his tongue, his inner cheeks, and his throat with Tiger Paws or Scotch Bonnets. Besides, Dorothy puked up her entire dinner, but failed to go into labor when eating merely Al Duces or Anaheims.


The speed bump trips, too, caused her to upchuck. Cleaning their car was worse than cleaning their kitchen’s linoleum.


In terms of intimacy, his cherished flower of a wife would surge from delicate and delicious to venomous and vicious. Her overload of hormones gave Chet an overload of anxiety. Simply touching the back of her hand or grazing her neck with his lips could cull either ecstasy or affliction. He could no more accurately guess the outcome of such romancing than he could make Mr. Henry their cat, cuddle him (Mr. Henry regarded Chet only as a source of kibble. Anything greater offer was rewarded with a bite or with a swipe of extended claws.)


A frustrated Dorothy huddled under blankets on their sofa and cried. Motherhood was evading her. Minutes later, she felt hot and demanded that her husband turn on the air conditioning.


Chet dutifully obeyed. He then called Dorothy’s midwife for new solutions.


Meanwhile, Rudford carefully exited his hiding place behind the refrigerator and eased his snout into the living room. He waddled slowly to the sofa.


Chet knew to lift the little hedgehog up so that the beast could cocoon with his two-legged mama. Chet didn’t think that maternity had dodged Dorothy.


Soon, Dorothy and Rudford were snoring. Loudly.


As Chet continued to await, on hold, for their midwife’s wisdom, Nancy Lynn rang the bell.

So, Chet opened the door.


Their neighbor’s daughter walk in without as much as a “hello.” Upon hearing her footfall, Withersmith appeared, barking and wagging. Nancy Lynn bent to pet him and then sat on the portion of the sofa not occupied by Dorothy and Rudford.


From that locale, she gazed at Chert’s latest fancy shirt. His garment was garishly pink and green. “Heart chakra summoning?” the little girl asked.


Before answering, Chet heard their midwife click on. He would be rescued!


Unfortunately, all that their accoucheuse recommended, beyond the activities that he and Dorothy had previously tried, was giving Dorothy a small amount of castor oil. “The oil will give her diarrhea, which, in turn, might irritate her uterus enough to jumpstart labor.”


“My mother makes me take cod liver oil in the winter,” offered Chet’s eavesdropper.


“Sweetie, now’s now a good time for a visit. Maybe, you should go home.”


Rather than abiding by the grownup’ suggestion, Nancy Lynn grabbed a corner of the blanket that was covering Dorothy. Rudford made unhappy sounds but went back to sleep.


The short one pointed to the gravid one. “She needs me.”


“Whatever. I’m going to the health food store for castor oil. Would you like tofu dumplings when I get back?”


Nancy Lynn made a hideous face at her host.


He shrugged at the girl, grabbed his car keys, and left. There was no point in telling Nancy Lynn not to wake his wife.


In the absence of culpable grownups, Nancy Lynn made use of Dorothy’s tablet. She had watched Dorothy use it often enough to note and memorize Dorothy’s password. Eventually, she pocketed the device and let herself out.




Surging hormones not only fatigued Dorothy, but also gave her intense dreams. Sometimes, she’d wake up randy. Other times, she’d wake up weepy. Almost always, she’d have a somatic response to whatever her imagination had concocted, whether she remembered her thoughts and their corresponding images or not. This time, she dreamt about herself, Chet, and her loyal dackel, Withersmith.


First, she bade Withersmith to sit under a tree and instructed Chet to ride astride a motorcycle. She meant to ride the bike’s sidecar.


Withersmith protested in a series of barks that were intelligible to Dorothy. Namely, the Dotson Dog countered that he ought to ride in the sidecar, not Dorothy, since he had been neglected ever since Dorothy had married Chet. For all that the hound cared, Dorothy could rest under the tree.


Chet then piped up that he, not their dog, was the most misunderstood member of their family. Dorothy seemed to care more about their furze-pig, moggy, and pooch than him. He ought to ride the sidecar while Dorothy drove.


While Chet was fussing, Withersmith hopped into the sidecar and bid Dorothy to drive. As far as he was concerned, Chet could rest under a tree.


Dorothy retorted. Neither her spouse nor her four-legged companion appreciated that she was pregnant and that she was suffering. Neither valued how fearful she was of becoming a parent. In quick fashion, Dorothy detached the sidecar and drove away unaccompanied.




Chet falling over Withersmith woke Dorothy. Unfortunately, the bottle of castor oil that he had purchased had shattered when he tripped over their wiener dog. As a result, its contents coated Withersmith, Dorothy, Rudford and Chet with viscous goop (on principle, Chet regularly refused to buy goods packaged in plastic vessels. To wit, he had made the health food store’s clerk dig in the store’s back room for any available glass bottles of castor oil. The clerk had found exactly one.)


Dorothy opened an eyeball, looked at her critters, at Chet, and at the mess. The young lawyer exclaimed, “Treasured Husband, it remains more than unacceptable to continue to resist others’ pressure to conform to ‘standards,’ no matter how uncomfortable they appear. What befits someone who divests from common sense does not appear and, most likely, ought not to be suitable. In other words, why didn’t you buy a plastic bottle of whatever is now all over my nice parquet?” She began to cry.


“It was the midwife’s idea. You were asleep. I didn’t want to disturb…”


“Why did you have to buy something in a glass container? Oh, that nasty smell! I’m going to retch…” Dorothy vomited, adding the last bits of hot peppers that had been in her stomach to the slop  that was already on the floor.


Chet took three steps back from his lady love. The unpleasant puddle was more offensive than he could manage. Withersmith, too, was put off by the globs of goo that he had been sniffing; he didn’t try to eat any of it. Rudford, having been awakened by the commotion vaulted off of the sofa, landed sideways, and then scuttled into the kitchen to hide, once more, behind the refrigerator.


Dorothy began exclaiming anew, “some individuals appreciate that passionate phrasing can be a socially powerful tool employed in response to power. Unfortunately, only a per cent of these individuals, by dint of knowledge or skills, can forward communication accountability. You bought it, you clean it!” She began crying, again.


Withersmith wagged at her and then trotted over to Chet. He wagged at him, too. Chet lifted the dachshund onto his lap and allowed his tears to trickle onto the pup’s coat.


Dorothy spewed fresh words, “any individual who integrates discordant data does so at the cost of the integrity of his or her beliefs. After new information is incorporated into a person’s Weltanschauungen, those facts become part of the collection of experiences that he or she uses to evaluate future goings-on. Accordingly, folks’ communication remains pejorative to the extent that it is reinforced by the status quo in which people find themselves. Maybe, it was okay, after all, that you bought the glass bottle of stuff since you were being true to your ecological principles.


“On the other hand, any resulting complexity in the meaning of morality becomes a type of responsiveness on which we can rely to broaden our compassion for people. It’s by inviting interpretations of events that overarch particular identities that we create the agency for unity, tolerance, and understanding. You’re such a dunderhead! What were you thinking?”


Chet stood up, and walked to their utility closet. He grabbed their squeegee a bucket. In slow strokes, he cleaned their floorboards.


Dorothy stopped crying. Like a spectator at a tennis tournament, she followed each stoke of her husband’s cleaning utensil with a turn of her head.“Fortunately, those people who are possessed of suasory skills can alter the status quo, meaning, they can adjust others’ perception of events by sharing their knowledge. Those experts can increase our participation in reality management, both as a singular sensibility and as a link within a greater awareness. Specifically, if someone points out that all mothers of young ones are sleep deprived, are frazzled, and are constantly nursing their babes in arms, we might more readily establish equanimity than if we had to listen to outdated ideas about how disparate woman have only a hatred of misogyny in common.

“You don’t care about anything except for that stupid, contaminated floor. What’s going to happen to my body when I start nursing? Pay attention to ME!”


Withersmith, who had been observing his companions’ goings-on from the chair where he had been seated on Chet’s lap, leapt off and shuffled toward Dorothy. Often, when he nestled against her when she was mad, he was rewarded with treats. He liked treats.


Chet doused the space in front of the sofa with a second round of sudsy water.


Dorothy lifted the dachsie to her. Thereafter, she asked her husband, “Do you think I take sufficient  responsibility for my actions? For my words?”


Chet looked up from their mop. So far, he had invested over twenty minutes cleaning up his beloved’s latest swill. He had yet to cook dinner and to remove their clean clothing from the dryer.


He appreciated eloquence, as evidenced by the chic clothes he wore. However, Dorothy’s orations were at loggerheads with his empty stomach, his balling nausea and the disorder that yet awaited him in the rest of their apartment. Besides, answering his wife’s question would be tantamount to answer a query such as “do I look pretty?” He preferred to sidestep danger.


When Chet wrung the sponge on the stick, causing odorous water to drip into the bucket, Dorothy exclaimed, “Oh! My!”


Mr. Henry seized that moment to leap from the kitchen window to the kitchen insets and then to the living room. He slipped on its slick surface.


“Oh! My!!!” Dorothy repeated, squeezing Chet’s shoulder harder than he was squeezing the swab. Accordingly, pushed off balanced, Chet fell alongside of Mr. Henry. When their cat dug his talons into Chet’s leg, the man screamed a little.


“Chet, I said ‘Oh! My!!!!!!’”


Chet carefully removed Mr. Henry’s claws from his thigh. He exhaled. He rose. “What is it, Dear One?”


“I’m having the baby!” 



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