BANG

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Here’s a longer version of an old Ad Hoc Fiction contest entry that I haven’t been able to find a home for elsewhere, perhaps because it’s deeply, utterly nonsensical. But I like it, and I hope you do too, so here it is.

Doctor Fitzwilliam bent down to examine the baby in her mother’s lap. He frowned, heavy eyebrows forming a deep v-shape, like a caterpillar bent in half. He looked at the worried parent, back at the baby, then back to her mum.

‘Doctor, she’s turned blue. I’m so worried! What’s wrong with her?’

‘Mrs Howard,’ said Doctor Fitzwilliam, straightening up. ‘Is this some sort of joke?’

‘What… what do you mean, doctor?’

‘I mean, this, as I’m sure you know, isn’t a baby. This is just a balloon wrapped in a shawl.’

He could barely see Mrs Howard’s face. The collar of her duffel coat was pulled up around her ears and her woolly red hat was pulled low towards her brows. He could certainly hear her, though. ‘But doctor, it is, this is my baby! Please help her!’’ she wailed.

Doctor Fitzwilliam looked again at the balloon. A marker pen smile grinned up at him. He picked up a paper clip from his desk, straightened it out, and jabbed the balloon baby with it. BANG. ‘You see?’ he said, holding up a sorry straggle of plastic. ‘A balloon.’

‘My baby!’

‘Mrs Howard, this is not funny. I have real patients to see, people who actually need my help.’

‘My baaaaaby!’ screamed Mrs Howard.

Doctor Fitzwilliam studied Mrs Howard again. She was inhaling deep, panicked breaths and seemed, somehow, to be expanding.

‘My baaaaaby!’

‘Mrs Howard, please try to calm dow-‘

BANG

Mrs Howard exploded. Shards of coloured plastic hurtled across the room. One struck Doctor Fitzwilliam across the jowls and came to rest on his lap.

Mrs Howard’s clothes lay in a pile on the floor, shoes peeking out from beneath her coat, her hat perched on top like a cherry on a cake.

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