The Baby Drop-Off
by Natascia Casey-Dean
It was hot. The heat had occupied the city now for so long that even the buildings were suffocating, streets melting, shops stinking. I went to this nightclub and picked up some random guy. One of the Americans which held up the bars like pillars, their fat toffee voices sticking to the floors. I fucked him, even though the heat melted our bodies apart and the mosquitoes raged against the walls. It was too hot to sleep, day or night, so afterwards I went up to the hill, lay in the grass and waited for the baby to grow plump in my belly, to make me full. I loved it already, whoever it was, wherever, or whoever it had come from.
But it didn't grow inside me, no matter how much I fucked, and even though I would throw her face before me as I fucked, the face of the baby I already loved, she didn't come, she didn't come to me.
The sex with the random American became more frequent, he had a personality, which surprised me, and a past, and it was through him that I found the baby drop-off. The hole was carved into the wall, and to open the glass you had to press a button, like the button you use to call a lift. We stood in front of it. 'I climbed into it one night', he told me. He was small, but still too big for the hole. I imagined him curled up, feet against the glass. 'And then the nuns came out and shouted at me, told me what I was doing was immoral, I told them this was immoral, this was disgusting'. But his Italian wasn't that good and the nuns' English wasn't that good so they didn't understand each other. But he told me why he'd done it, or something close to why. 'My mother didn't know my Dad, he abandoned her when he found out she was pregnant, she had no money, but she kept me. And it wasn't easy', he said.
The next day when I got to the space that the American had climbed into that night, trying to scream to the nuns, trying to scream something, when I got to the glass no one was screaming, but a baby was lying there, completely quiet, almost completely still. I didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. I imagined a girl. I stood and looked at her, my nose against the glass. I pushed the button for the glass to open, but nothing happened. Then the nun came out. She stood and looked at me. I was young, my face brown and freckled from the summer's sun, I looked at the baby. She opened up the glass. The baby remained silent. The nun picked her up. She scrunched up her face. Then the nun passed her back to me, as if I had been holding her before, and she fitted in to my arms, just like that, comfortable, like the time of day when the heat stops and the city fills with air, just for a second.
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.
Natascia Casey-Dean was born in Italy, but brought up in rural England. She finished her first story, 'Sian Had No Friends at School' aged six and has written short stories and novels ever since. She studied for a Literature and Creative Writing Masters at the University of Sussex, and taught in Spain and England before escaping to Italy to write a novel. She's now returned to Brighton and to the sea, and lives in a basement with her boyfriend and kitten whilst waiting for their baby to be born. She's been highly influenced by Graham Greene, Raymond Carver and John Cheever.
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Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly on an as-needed basis.
|Issue Twenty-One (June 15, 2008): Paper Mouse by Bob Arter «» The Folk Singer Dreams of Time Machines by Matt Bell «» The Bone Orchard by Randall Brown «» Disease Relics by Blake Butler «» We Decided to Make Porn by Brian Allen Carr «» The Baby Drop-Off by Natascia Casey-Dean «» The Cougar by Dave Clapper «» Anointed by Myfanwy Collins «» Sister Earth by John Colvin «» Soap by Katrina Denza «» The Interpretation of Light by Murray Dunlap «» The Hole by Ashley Farmer «» Repair Man by Kathy Fish «» In the Kitchen She Wakes by Stefanie Freele «» American Gothic by Scott Garson «» Lobster Girl by Alicia Gifford «» Pen and Notebook by Natalie Goldberg «» Memento Mori by Rosanne Griffeth «» BiC by Steven Gullion «» Parting by Evelyn Hampton «» Tuesday by Lindsay Hunter «» Waiting on Lombard Street by W.P. Kinsella «» Johnny by Nance Knauer «» Like Swimming by Jeff Landon «» Feeling Sad by Darby Larson «» Alone With Cooper by Ellen Meister «» The Angel's Visitation by Corey Mesler «» South Dakota by Mary Miller «» California Fruit by Meg Pokrass «» Home Made by Bruce Holland Rogers «» Handful of Dirt by Jim Ruland «» Steam City Girl by Paul Silverman «» Sugar by Claudia Smith «» The 13th Toast by Amy Sparks «» Gathering by Kelly Spitzer «» Tiny Shadows by Maryanne Stahl «» Double-Exposure by Thomas White «» Epistemology by Joseph Young «» Why This Isn't a Good Story to Tell by Shellie Zacharia «» Liquid by Michelle Zellers «» Real Estate by Bonnie ZoBell «» Interviews: Bob Arter «» Matt Bell «» Randall Brown «» Blake Butler «» Brian Allen Carr «» Natascia Casey-Dean «» Dave Clapper «» Myfanwy Collins «» John Colvin «» Katrina Denza «» Murray Dunlap «» Ashley Farmer «» Kathy Fish «» Stefanie Freele «» Scott Garson «» Alicia Gifford «» Rosanne Griffeth «» Steven Gullion «» Evelyn Hampton «» Lindsay Hunter «» Nance Knauer «» Jeff Landon «» Darby Larson «» Ellen Meister «» Corey Mesler «» Mary Miller «» Meg Pokrass «» Bruce Holland Rogers «» Jim Ruland «» Paul Silverman «» Claudia Smith «» Amy Sparks «» Kelly Spitzer «» Maryanne Stahl «» Thomas White «» Joseph Young «» Shellie Zacharia «» Michelle Zellers «» Bonnie ZoBell «» Cover Art "Five Years of SmokeLong" compiled from art by Marty D. Ison, Robert Dornberg, Malina, and Rebecca Gullickson «» Letter From the Editor|