Shelly Rae Rich


It’s not easy to get four puppies in a bag.

Guinno, which you say as Weeno, only I call him Weenie, saw the little munchkins on the roadside first, and just told me to take a gander. I told him he better take more than that, so he pulled his old junker around right then.

All we had was a paper bag to scoop up the practically-just-popped-out pups in, so we had to be extra careful, and damn if the little cusses didn’t have fight or flight syndrome. They were so cute.

Finally it was done and I took a pen, put little pokes in the bag to let air in, folded and taped the top with packing tape left over from when I moved in with Weenie. The pups seemed to calm down after the snap-zip of the tape and I had to wonder if they’d heard their mom get cracked or something.

So, abandoned with refugees. More craziness. Weenie and I were hiding out in his brother’s trashed-out trailer, still in the junkyard and everything. He’d cold-cocked his boss when the man fired him and thought he’d get arrested for violating probation. I never heard the whole thing, only how sorry Fuck Face would be when he was gone. Weenie still had the same cell phone number, and anyone who cared to could’ve traced his ass.

Weenie laughed at the way I leaned over to hear if the pups were breathing and kept saying what mom material I was. It gave me such a sensation of purpose I couldn’t stand it.

You see, I’d just read this ad that wanted healthy women to donate their eggs for women and couples who couldn’t but wanted. Well, I wanted and couldn’t have. His little sarcasm just gave him his worst nightmare, though he didn‘t even know it. I did have something of value. Eggs. And they were my way to a whole new life. Without a weenie.

It was hard at first, to pretend to be normal and shit, but I grew used to it. They wanted stability from a donor. Well, so did I - I wanted that eight grand to get the fuck out and stop fooling around, get a real life and not this scrapping, week-to-week hand-to-mouth crap.

Weenie didn’t notice at first. When I went to the clinic, I said I was going to the Medicaid office or get our food stamps or whatever came to mind that he’d understand. He damn sure couldn’t know about any money.

Puppy one and two were quickly adopted, a couple we knew who already had three dogs and one was a mama whose own had died. It was October, so I named the sunny spirited one Sweet Tart and the obnoxious-puss one Sour Apple. Somehow I think they knew I was mommy and steered clear of Weenie. Trust me, he wasn’t mean. Just stupid. And I couldn’t do that life any more.

It took the lab people a while to get my cycle all stabilized and normal, but they said I was so healthy that two recipients might get lucky. Near the end of the injections, Weenie had taken all the mystery he could and followed me to the clinic. When I came out, I had to pretend he was really a daddy, and how I was supremely happy that we were having a chiclet together. I’d gendered the little things in my mind, even though not mine anymore and the hardest part I knew right that second, would be knowing I had a baby—or even two—who’d never know me. My little chiclets, ellipses to the rest of my days.

I’d been laying low so not to get his curiosity up. When he worked, half-ass as it was, I’d go to the library and look up apartments and jobs, and decided on a med tech career. The counselor lady said my aptitude was high, and I liked the clean and well-washed smell of the ladies at the clinic; I could do that, good money, benefits—could really get ready for a baby of my own.

A couple months later I still wasn’t showing, so Weenie got suspicious and asked me what I had done. He believed that I’d had an abortion there and it seemed a perfect opportunity for him to throw me out. Sometimes a girl just gets lucky.

Some days I’ll sit out on my balcony, whistle at the pups, and hope my little seeds were potent, that they grabbed hold of those other mommies, that they would get those chances I’d run for. And that someday they might feel some energy, grab a feeling—a sensation—that they couldn’t explain. And it would be from me.


Click here for Shelly Rae Rich's bio