Something grabbed my foot and snatched me, literally, from the nice warm place onto freezing flat surface with a really bright light overhead. I struggled to turn away from the brightness, but the goon with the grabbers reached over to pin me down. His face was mostly covered with hair and there was a white thing hanging from the corner of his mouth with smoke curling from it. Some of the hair around his mouth was yellow and when he smiled it wasn’t a warm smile, I’ll tell you that, it scared the devil out of me. I yearned to return to the warm place, but a look told me it was gone, disappeared; I thought that strange; an eerie chill ran down my spine, making me shiver. I wanted to yell for somebody to TURN UP THE DAMNED HEAT! But when I tried no words came forth.The goon with the hair was soon joined by a smaller goon, a goonette?. This one had little bumps on its chest and stringy hair. The face was not a pleasant thing to behold; its lips were curved into a kind of snarl and it kept chanting , like a mantra I think, “Lamborghini, Lamborghini, I want a Lamborghini.”
“This is a fine specimen, Doctor …”
Doctor? This freaking scary assed goonette was a doctor? Holy crap! How’d this happen? Then the goonette produces a shiny thing that looked like it really meant business, and she calmly, her smile even larger, still chanting, “Lamborghini. Lamborghini, I want a Lamborghini,” stuck the sharp-looking thing straight into my chest.”
What the fuck was going on here? I wanted to yell but could produce no vocal protest. Things changed dramatically from then on: My point of observation became the ceiling of the room. I could only look down on how my tiny body was entirely ravaged. When they were done picking me over for any parts they could sell, the goonette grabbed me up by the leg and tossed me, quite literally, into a large white can with a plastic liner showing over the edge.
I tried to yell, Hey! What the fuck do you think you’re doing?
The only response was the chant about the Lamborghini.
Somehow I didn’t think it was a fair trade.
The next I knew I was sitting on the lap of a really great looking blonde-haired woman. She smiled warmly as she picked me up and gave me a kiss. Wow! I could get used to this. Then she hugged me long and hard and kissed me again. I thought this a wonderful thing and asked, “Are you my mom?” She shook her head, no, I thought a little too sadly. My fate had not sunk in yet.
The nice lady, who I discovered had a set of real wings attached, an item that worried me even more, talked to me as she carried into a building that had The Ifonly Building inscribed above the door. The doorway of The Ifonly Building was shrouded with a huge black sheet. I looked to the pretty angel for an answer to the question that arose in my mind, but she had no answer for me.
Inside were several lines of booths, each with a box atop a desk. She sat with me on her lap and pushed a button on a flat piece sitting in front of the box. Instantly, an image appeared on a screen built into the box. I thought how utterly cool it would be to learn the use one of these. Somehow I didn’t think it would ever happen.
The first image on the screen was of a small boy standing, tottering (tottering? where did I learn such a word?). A pair of large hands held the boy’s hands, to help with balance. I sat in the lap of my lady angel, watching while the boy bravely took his first steps. He’d let go of the supporting fingers and was walking on his own. I tried to applaud his effort but was unable to co-ordinate my hands (Geez, I’m getting good at this word play, aren’t I?) and they kept missing each other. I managed a congratulatory (oh, my) “goo-goo,” but I don’t think he heard me. The boy made his premier journey across the room, into the arms of his mother, who grabbed him up and kissed and hugged him mightily. Man, I wished that was me. I said as much to my angel; she smiled, but sadly, I thought.
She hugged me close and poked another button on the gizmo (I’m proud of that one!) on the desk. Another image promptly appeared on the screen. It looked like the same boy, a bit bigger, but it was him all right. He was being presented with a contraption (you’ve got admit to a bit of genius here) with three wheels. It had a big red bow tied to the seat and a sign that read, “Happy Second Birthday, Son!”. He quickly dispensed with these impediments (?) to his pleasure and mounted his patiently awaiting steed. He began moved the pedals, slowly at first but he gained speed and was soon tearing about the room as if chased by demons (or, perhaps, goons in white gowns). Off he tore, fairly flying, pedaling madly, handle bars not too steady under his hands, around the dining room table, around coffee table, and still pedaling madly slammed into the table in the foyer. The table with the very expensive lamp on it. The lamp fell to the tile floor and broke into a dozen smithereens. (Sometimes I’m off a bit with my word usage, but what the hell, I’m not even a day old yet!.)
Upon hearing the crash of the very expensive lamp, a dark haired woman raced into the room, from where the kitchen must be, and yelled at the boy for being so careless, and how she would never be able to replace the lamp, and how could he. She forbade him use of the three-wheeled contraption until further notice and, pointing dramatically toward the stairs, sent him crying to his room until dinner. The boy sped as best he could up the stairs to his room and disappeared from our sight.
My beautiful lady angel, under whose arm I was sure I could comfortably spend eternity, pressed another button and the boy popped up again. Now, he was much bigger, a husky fellow, quite handsome. Someone, probably his mom, had combed his hair with a straight part on the left and a big wave in the front. He dropped down from the seat of a late model car. His clothes looked new, as were his sneaks, there was a new book bag on his back and a bill cap with “NY Yankees” sewn on it, on his head. I must say he really looked spiffy (Yes, we child prodigies are so gifted as to utter colloquialisms – with correct spellings, of course – as the occasion arises) His mom walked around the car, obviously wishing to hold his hand while walking beside him to the door of the school, on his first day, but he saw a couple of his friends from up the block, and ran off, leaving his mom standing alone, feeling abandoned, arms akimbo, yelling to behave himself and have a nice day!
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Your first day of school,” she said.
“Mine? But how …” (You may not be able to understand me but angels do. They are the only ones who can understand the language of the unbirthed.)
“That little boy is you.”
“I don’t understand … completely,” but I was getting some ugly thoughts.
“Do you remember the name of the building we’re in?”
“The Ifonly Building? As in Ifonly I was allowed to be birthed?”
“It’s a magical place. In here you can see some of your life, if only you were not killed at the time of your birth.”
Oh, my God, I thought. My life, my existence. Stolen from me – those two goons in the cold room, one with the shiny sharp thing it used to tear into my chest. It tore into me, mumbling Lamborghini. Lamborghini. I want a Lamborghini. But what do I get out of it? Torn apart and tossed into a trash can. Man, that’s a hard apple to swallow, let me tell you.”
Ifonly. What if, I sighed. Damn it anyway! I was pissed.
“You mean it was me taking my first steps, it was me who knocked the lamp off the table, and it was me who ran off and left my mom on the first day of school? Really?”
“All those things, little one, they will never be. Those times were stolen from you.”
“Are there very many babies done in in the same way? Like me?” There was a tear forming in the corners of my angel’s eyes and I could feel one welling up in my own.
“Yes, so very many were found to be an inconvenience to their mothers and they asked to have them removed. Sent back to Heaven to be with God.”
“I’ll bet there were a lot of wonderful children that went unbirthed.”
“Lord, yes, so many talented ones, whose great accomplishments will never become known. Doctors, physicists, engineers, astronauts, astrophysicists, great writers. You, little one, were destined to be a writer and an editor, to take advantage of your wonderful facility with words, in case you were wondering.”
“Yeah, I was wondering about that, where those big words were coming from.”
“I’m very sorry about this, Freddie, I really am.” We were crying pretty heavy now.
“Well, I really would have liked to have had my life, being a little boy learning to walk, knocking lamps off of tables, going off to school for the first time with my friends. To have been a writer of books and a user of big words. Wow. What a life it would have been, but it’s all gone. It will never happen. My chance of having a life is gone. What a selfish thing for a mom to do – I’m dead and she’s out having a good time.
“I am dead, right?”
She nodded and said I was. Damn, that pissed me off.
“Look, lovely lady, I don’t know where we go from here, but it was real nice of you to come by. You’re the only decent thing that’s happened to me. Who are you, lady angel?”
“Just an angel. The bad news is I’m an angel of death and was sent by God to guide you into Heaven.”
“Will there be another chance at a life?” I asked hopefully.
“Good grief, little one, why would you want to go back there?”