This was fun to write.
I had four prompts:
The sound of someone crying.
A minor deity. (I took license with this.)
And here’s what I came up with…
We’d been on the ship for over three hours before the announcement came. A doctor was needed and while I only played one on TV, I felt I had something to add to the equation so I raised my hand when they asked if any medical experts were on board. It was a very heady experience. A lot of running around. A lot of moving of furniture. The band had to stop playing. Very disruptive. I didn’t mind the change of plans as I was knee deep in a family reunion and ready to wind it up anyway. I saw my older sister snicker when I announced my expertise. She’s always been jealous. What can I say, I bypassed her in many situations. Career, love, and, I’ll say it, looks. Not that I should be self-satisfied about it. I had nothing to do with it. I owe that to my parents. I’m not sure why it didn’t work out as well for Trisha. Maybe mom had an affair with someone at the beginning of her marriage. Maybe she was pregnant by someone else before she got married to our dad. All I know is, I got the good parts of both Mom and Pop and Trish got Mom’s height. Anyway, I rushed over to the ship’s events coordinator’s side to find out what was going on and was told a woman’s water had broke and if they couldn’t get to shore in time she might have the baby on the boat. Dear god. I didn’t play a gynecologist, I played a heart surgeon. Why couldn’t she have had a heart attack? I did once play a teen girl who got pregnant by her no-good boyfriend so I had some experience being a mother. I summoned all the memory I could. What did it feel like to be pregnant? I asked myself. Become it. Picture it. I purposefully walked myself over to the area where they had the woman cordoned off. She was not looking happy. A lot of panting. Clutching her hips. I didn’t remember that part. I remembered sucking on a lollipop and running away from home. But I told her I was there to help. She looked up and registered my face, “Dawn Redwood?” she asked. I told her it was indeed me and asked if there was anything I could do. She cried out, “She’s a fucking soap opera actress!” I told her her vitals looked good. She asked me how I would know that being that I was just staring at her. I revised. “Your color looks good.” She rolled her eyes. “How long til we’re at shore?” she implored the ship’s captain who had left the controls to whomever it was who would take over in these situations. Then she clutched her belly and crouched down putting her hands on her knees while squatting. I didn’t like this one bit. I’d experienced this exact situation a few years before in a hippie movie I was playing the head of a commune in. Some poor girl, high on peyote, gave birth standing up while the rest of the members of the commune stood around swaying and playing bongos. I, as the leader, didn’t partake in that. I stood on the porch off in the distance from them, watching the scene, assessing whether or not I needed to light more incense. Suddenly, I was startled from my reverie. We’d reached the dock. People scattered and paramedics infiltrated the scene. They laid the woman on a gurney and she cried out in pain. They hustled her out and onto the ambulance. Before they closed the doors I could hear the sound of someone crying. I was surprised at the high-pitched guttural wail. It struck me that she was being a bit of a drama queen. I mean having a baby is the most natural thing in the world. Then I realized it could have been the baby. If so, I think that kid might have a future as a performer.