Upon Learning the Fetus Has Fingernails
Beth Thomas

Upon learning the fetus has fingernails, Missy texts her boyfriend: It has nails! He won't reply because he's just left for war, but she does it just the same. She walks home with ultrasound jelly sticky in her panties, swinging a bag of free vitamin samples. She pictures a smiling baby with blonde hair and tiny pasted-on bows, itty fingernails and toenails ripe for the painting. Her own fingernails are chewed down to nothing and her hands are so dry they look like her mother's. Missy steps into the pharmacy and stops at the nail polishes. Cranberry, Rum Raisin, Nude, a French manicure kit. Old lady colors. She wants to call him to come get her and take her to the mall, to Claire's where there is nothing but little girl colors, ribbons, lip gloss — maybe a color for herself, a respectable color for a girl of seventeen: electric blue or black. But Claire's is too far to walk. On the bottom shelf in a smaller bottle, she finds a glittering pepto-bismol shade called PINK! and as she's squatting there with a hand on her rounded belly, she drops the bottle into her bagful of vitamins. When the baby is born she will name her Laci and paint her teeny fingernails PINK! and paint her own fingernails PINK! and he will see, when he gets home all dusty and weary from having seen the world and the faces of his enemies, that his baby ain't no old lady.

Beth Thomas has stories in or coming from Pank, Noo Journal, SmokeLong Quarterly, FRiGG and others.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200911upon.htm

Photo detail on main page courtesy of S. Migol.

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