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“Paradise by the Dashboard Light”

I sometimes wonder how many times it’s actually happened. We can’t possibly have accurate statistics on it just from legal abortions and how many are actually born. And I suppose teens aren’t necessarily the only ones who do it. It’s one of those faint, idle thoughts that has me wishing (briefly, not seriously) that my psychic abilities were more developed, that I could see more clearly.

How many kids have actually been conceived in the back seats of cars?

I guess a more interesting question might be, how many have been conceived in the back seats of cars While They Were Moving? It’s not really the kind of thing that official statistics are made to keep track of. And I guess in a lot of circumstances (Most? I don’t know if I can say…) it would be hard to figure out just from asking people, because they might not actually know at what point, in which session, conception took place.

But we know that my niece was conceived in the back of a car because that was the only place that my brother had actually had sex with Ellen Portnoy.

And of course we knew he was the father. Mom tried to get them to agree to a DNA test, but I mean, we look at her now, and she’s totally like, the nose? The chin?

Poor kid.

I don’t mean that. She makes my brother look good. She’s adorable.

But she started out as… well…

“A mistake? How can you say that?” Ellen just didn’t quite get it. I don’t know where these girls come from, the ones who actually, genuinely think that their purpose in life has something to do with having babies, and the sooner the better. Like being mom is the end-all, be-all—I mean, don’t get me wrong, I look at my mom, and like, sure, motherhood is important, but there’s other stuff that she does, too. And if she hadn’t had us, well, I think if she hadn’t had us, she’d have had a pretty decent life. Still. She’d’ve still had a pretty decent life. That’s what I…

Jasper didn’t want a kid, of course. I’m not really convinced that it was what Ellen wanted, either, until it happened. I think that once she put it all together, missing her period, the tell-tale awkward sickness coming and going at weird times, I think she told herself that it was all okay. It was all gonna work out. I think that abortion is something that occurred to her, but not for long enough to really let it sink in. If she’d thought about it… No. No, once she got it in her head she was gonna be a mom, I don’t know, maybe she thought Here’s one way that I can get one over on my own mom. By becoming her. Some kind of endless cycle.

“Well, yeah, it was a mistake!” Jasper insisted. “You think I wanted to get you pregnant?” He didn’t mean it to be hurtful. He didn’t even realize that it would be or, once he knew that it was, why. Of course he didn’t want to get her pregnant! He didn’t want to get anyone pregnant! He was seventeen, he was still in high school and he was on his way to the top with his band.

“She should get an abortion, though, right?” was what he asked the band.

Raven and Declan looked at each other. “It really is her decision,” Raven said.

“Well, shit,” said Jasper. “Here I’m about to be on the line for, like, what eighteen years of—eighteen years! I’m not even fucking eighteen years old, I’m on the line for eighteen years of taking care of some kid I squirted out in the backseat just ‘cause—God Dammit!” And he kicked something. It was like a little basket or something, I can’t really see it clearly. It wasn’t a speaker, but they were still upset.

“Hey, hey!” Declan shouted him down. “What are you doing? You’re gonna break something!”

“Everything’s already broken,” my brother lamented.

He wasn’t wrong. Nothing was ever going to be the same again for him.

There was a weird set of mixed reactions. For Ellen, obviously there was an enormous contingent of people (of both traditional genders and of all ages) who treated her with contempt. She was expecting that part.

What she wasn’t expecting—and what really freaked me the fuck out—was just how many people, especially girls her own age, started treating her with reverence. It was this weird thing, seeing someone, someone you knew, someone pretty much your own age, carring around a child—especially if you yourself had not ever had sex. But even if you had, I mean, this is a new life growing, right?

There weren’t a lot of those people, but there were enough to make things really fucking weird.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. I mean, there is. I mean, seriously, guys. It’s not (just) about biology, although I guess that might be a factor, too, mainly it’s about that’s not how our society is set up. It’s fucking weird to have someone who is in high school being pregnant, and then actually having the kid? Raising it?

Maybe shit should be different. Maybe we should be able to account for this. Maybe everything really is upside down, I mean there was a time if you hadn’t had a kid yet by the time you were like early twenties at the latest, you weren’t likely to, ever. Right? Maybe we’re going about this shit all wrong. Maybe we should be letting the teens have sex, have kids, before going off to college, let the grandparents raise them, which would be fair since their parents had raised their kids in this happy-go-lucky perfect-like society. Right?

But even if that was possible, that’s not the way things are. If you have a kid, you are an adult, automatically, that’s how this shit works. And adults have responsibilities. High school just isn’t a place for folks who have other responsibilities. It just isn’t set up for that.

I guess I’m one to talk, but the fact of the matter is, despite my brother’s baby-momma advertising it like it’s some grand affair, great fun, folks just shouldn’t get pregnant in the backseats of their cars or trucks or minivans, not until they’re settled. Not until they’re on their way to having a career—especially if they wanna be rockstars, right? If there is such a thing as forever-love, ’til death do you part, you don’t want it in high school. It’s not a good idea. Especially if you’re a rockstar. So don’t do it. Don’t do what they did. I love my niece, she’s one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a mistake.

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About Polypsyches

I write, regardless of medium or genre, but mostly I manage a complex combined Science-Fiction/Fantasy Universe--in other words, I'm building Geek Heaven. With some other stuff on the side. View all posts by Polypsyches

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