(Previously: DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER)
Jack Rory sat up in bed, not sure what had awakened him. The pillow beside him was empty, as Destiny was working a morning shift.
He stretched back out and was preparing to surrender to slumber once more when he heard it. A strange mewling noise. But where was it coming from?
He ambled into the bathroom and ascertained the noise wasn’t coming from in there.
Next, he walked into the kitchen and grabbed a bagel. The noise seemed to be intensifying, but he still couldn’t determine where it was coming from.
For the next hour he stared into space, trying to enjoy his breakfast in peace. But the noise made it difficult. Finally he sighed, rose, and resolved to track it down.
He checked Destiny’s closet and under her bed. Did she have a pet he didn’t know about? Was it some kind of mechanical device?
At last he made his way to the front door. The noise seemed louder over here. He twisted the bolt lock and pulled the door open. And there…
…was a baby.
Jack Rory’s jaw dropped in shock. What was a baby doing here, alone on Destiny’s doorstep? And then he saw the note attached to its blanket.
“Dear Jack Rory,” the note began. “I attempted to do the civil thing and meet with you in person to discuss this situation. But since you refused my attempts to talk, I was left with no choice.
Jack, this is our baby. I had her in September, nine months after you disappeared last year. I had no way of contacting you to tell you about my pregnancy, or that you were a father.
Here’s the thing. I’ve had enough. It’s your turn. So, meet your baby. Enjoy getting to know her. Tag, you’re it. I’m off. Clocking out. Vanishing. You’d know something about that, wouldn’t you?
I hope you and your strumpet are ready to play house.”
The note was signed “Fondly, Karen.” (Jack Rory suspected the “fondly” was Karen’s attempt at sarcasm.)
“Umm…ahh…ohhhh,” Jack Rory intoned. He felt like he was going to pass out. And still the baby shrieked on, like a fire whistle.
Several hours later, he had recovered from his initial shock and, after a quick Google search, stopped by the local drugstore to pick up some baby essentials.
He was giving the baby a bottle and beginning to feel downright paternal when he heard Destiny’s key in the lock.
“Where are you, lover,” she called melodically. Every nerve in his body reacted like a magnet dropped into a field of iron ore.
She rounded the corner, an expectant smile on her face. As soon as she saw Jack Rory and the baby, the smile left her lips, replaced by an expression of revulsion.
“What,” she said icily, “is that?”
TO BE CONTINUED…