“You’re not going to believe this one”. The triage nurse slapped the chart down on the desk, just missing the head of the PHAA doc of the day, an American woman who’d been enjoying the heck out of a power nap in the break room.
“What’s not to believe? This far out back I’ve pretty much seen it all.” Mel yawned and stretched away the kinks in her neck, a by-product of multi-day shift work that was part of her residency at this hell hole of a health clinic in Wilcannia, New South Wales. At least she wasn’t in Newark any more, no place could be worse than Newark in terms of work in public health. Maybe eventually she’d make her way to retirement in the promised land of Sydney, but it was a long climb up in the department of public health ladder in Australia.
“A rather interesting couple. The man, one Josef von Jacobi, seems rather upset, perhaps with the fact that his partner, one Virginia Marie Elison, is with child, despite her promise to him that she has not lain with a man and is a virgin. She claims that she was impregnated by extra-terrestrials from another dimension encountered during an out of body experience that she had during a retreat they both attended a couple of months ago. Josef apparently didn’t get to share that experience and wants reassurance that Virginia is not trying to get him to believe in Santa Claus, or at least that’s the only answer I can come up with”. The nurse grinned at her and winked, his own two day old beard testament to the long hours they spent together. He really was a jewel and made this job a whole lot easier.
“Fruitcakes?" Although fruitcakes who attended new-age retreats in the outback didn’t usually seek their medical care at the free clinic. "What’s your take on them?”
“Probably homeless kids wandering the world. He says he works construction but that they’ve been traveling. His English is shaky, but he's good with hand signals. It's apparently mostly how they communicate. She’s got a bit of a deer in headlights look about her. She seems to really believe the ET story, or at least she’s pretty damned well determined to stick to it. You know how some of these street kids are. He’s got his doubts and I think she’s worried he’s going to desert her. Anyway, you’re the doc.
They’re all yours!” another big grin.
Mel washed her hands and face and gave herself a firm yet compassionate gaze in the mirror, working on the look she’d try to hang on to during the exam and consultation with the crazies. She let her mind wander for a few minutes, shaking off the last vestiges of the nap.
Thank goodness Jasper wouldn’t be the nurse in the room with them, he’d probably make faces at her the whole time and she’d lose it. This will be a good one for the new trainee….what was her name? Bitha? Baltha? Baltha sounded right. The people of Sydney were such a mix and with some of the names people gave their kids these days, Mel never could guess what gender a person might be based on what they were called. Baltha was an Iraqi woman who had fled the war that Mel’s own countrymen had brought to her new colleague’s. She said she had background as a jidda in addition to her work with war wounded. This would be an interesting case to work with her on, see how her Islamic roots might affect her work with the people here. Mel had her silly preconceptions.
Of course she herself had gone through life with kind of an odd name for an American woman, a man’s name. Mel was not short for Melanie or Melody or anything sugar or spice or nice, just plain old Mel. Kind of funny about the names of the couple though, the virgin Mary and her Joseph. She wondered if it was a gag of some kind, surely they had to show ID to get through the nightmare of registration with the health department; they had to have passports if they weren’t locals. And it was June, that time of year when those from the northern hemisphere went out on holiday, the officials were out and about babysitting the tourists.
The young woman looked like a local for sure. In fact, she looked like someone who could trace her family back to the first people to walk this land. She was almost certainly a Koori woman, but based on her very white bread name and vibe, she was also almost certainly one whose family had been victims of Anglo assimilation efforts. Lots of good-hearted American and European missionaries had come to the outback and stolen its children over the years, taking them home as adoptees, not to mention what the Europeans who initially showed up had done.
Mel was one of those poor schmucks who carried a lot of guilt around for what her culture had done to so many others. It was one of the things that made helping the people of the territory as best she knew how to worth it.
She smiled at the girl, who really was little more than a child. Her big blonde friend stood over her protectively, arms wrapped around her. He didn’t look ready to abandon her, but he looked just as scared as she was, maybe more so.
“Hi, there. I’m Dr. Cure.” Mel always admitted freely that her father’s name had inspired her to become a healer. Sadly, she’d had to become a doctor instead.That was the only option available back in her day in her childhood home of New Jersey.
“I see we have a little one on the way. Have you seen a doctor since you realized you were pregnant?” Lack of pre-natal care was a big deal in the Outback, and there was no telling where these kids had been. If they’d been with a clan of Indigenous people, she and the baby were probably fine. She looked healthy enough. If they’d been living on the streets of Sydney for much of her pregnancy, there was no telling.
“No, just the medicine woman at Uluru, Tamminya. That’s where Josef and I met.” She gazed lovingly up at the big man. “She told me I was pregnant but I didn’t believe her. I’ve never done it before, you know, gone all the way. I didn’t know for sure about the baby until we were halfway here and she started moving around. Tamminya told us to come here for the birth, gave us the GPS coordinates and everything. It’s really amazing; my foster mother always told me that my people were primitives. Tamminya was really smart.”
“So you’ve never had sexual intercourse?” She looked to Josef this time. He was probably a good ten years older than sweet Virginia. Maybe they were worried about age of consent. While Mel had never been to Germany, she’d certainly had plenty of European tourists pass through the clinic over the years. They tended to be a pretty diligent and often hard people, no telling what the laws were like where he came from.
“Nein. Herr Glücklich hat nicht schon dort gewesen.“
“His English isn’t all that good, but we’re learning. He’s been so sweet to stick with me. I don’t think his faith is quite as strong as mine.” She smiled up at her hero again. He smiled back.
“How long have you been traveling together?” Clearly Virginia was close to full term. The medicine woman must have known she was with child and wanted to get her here by hook or crook, even if it did involve making up stories about ETs for the blonde protector.
“Six weeks? And you didn’t realize she was pregnant?” Okay, he was big and beautiful, but man, he must not have had a whole lot going on upstairs. Mel remembered enough of her grandmother’s Yiddish to understand the big man fairly well.
“Ihr Bauch war klein, irh schöne Blume ungebrochen.“
He’d lost her on that one, it was too fast and it had been too long since she’d tuned her ears to the language of her past.
“Jasper, why don’t you take Joseph over to the canteen for some coffee or something? And please ask Baltha to come in to assist me with an exam.” She turned to Virginia and handed her a drape. “I’m going to need to examine you and the baby. First I’m going to feel the baby from the outside and get an idea how it’s positioned. Then I’ll need to take a look and feel inside. Have you had a pelvic exam done before?”
“Well, lots of guys seem to like to look at my pelvis.” She giggled. “But nobody has ever looked inside it before. She’s definitely been moving around a lot, I think she’s almost ready to be born.”
“Oh yes, Tamminya told me it was a girl child comin’, but she was gonna be a son of a gun, whatever that means. But I know, our baby is a girl.”
“Do you know who the baby’s father is?” Now that Josef was gone, maybe they’d get some straight talk out of the young woman.
“I think it was probably Beldar. But it might have been Zoldak. Those were the guys from Taphao Thong. They were really sweet.” She smiled again. She been shedding her panties and pulling up her dress as she positioned herself on the exam table. She didn’t need to be told what the stirrups were for, she was a bright child. Shiny even, Mel thought.
Mel turned her attention to Baltha as she entered the room, wondering how she’d respond to what the girl had just said. The nurse wore a niqab, a style of burkha that revealed only her eyes, which showed nothing but love. Kind of shiny, too. Mel took a deep breath to clear her head and considered getting a surgical mask, not for sterility, but to hide her own growing amusement and amazement at the incredulity of the whole scene.
She rolled her chair around and pulled the stainless steel tray holding the speculum and lubricant over as she switched on the light. What she saw when she looked gave her pause. Hell, it gave her dead stop and stare.
There before her was the most beautiful little black cherry of unbroken hymen she’d ever seen. She looked over at Baltha, who had taken up a position at the side of the exam table and was gently stroking Virginia’s brow as she held her hand.
“Well. Hm. Okay.” Mel was fumbling, which wasn’t her style. She was thinking maybe the old “they were lying close together and he ejaculated and sperm swam through that passage that had obviously never played host to a penis" myth was possible. This woman had clearly never been penetrated, not unless it had been one hell of an extremely teeny weenie. “Have you ever encountered anything like this before Baltha?”
“This has not come before now. Now is the time.” The beautiful jidda’s eyes smiled down at her young charge as she continued her soothing ministrations. “Don’t worry sweet Virginia, Auntie is here with you, I'm here to help bring her into the world.”
Things were getting a little too weird for Mel. She couldn’t bring herself to insert the speculum, but she needed to clear her head and focus on the job at hand. She stood and began to gentle palpate the child she could see stirring in the young woman’s womb.
What she felt was puzzling. The good news was, the child was clearly head down, as it should be. What troubled her was the position of its arms and legs. What she felt was not the fetal position. It was more like balasana, the child pose from her yoga class, the variation with arms stretched out over head. It was as if the baby planned to dive into the world arms first. What happened next confirmed that hypothesis, even if Mel had just considered it a passing whim of her imagination.
Virginia gave a little start as the tiny hand gently worked its way through that previously imperforate membrane that covered the love luge. Baltha whispered to her. “It’s going to be fine, sweet one, we are here with you”.
“Ooooooommmmmmm”. Virginia had started chanting the familiar mantra as she steadied her breathing. Apparently someone had taught her something about childbirth.
Mel took deep breath and tried hard to regroup. She’d been trained to deliver babies, not watch them take matters into their own hands. She was trying to decide her best course of action when the child very definitely took matters into its own hands. It reached forward in its single minded quest for the breast and took hold of whatever purchase it could find. Luckily, mama had a nice little handle just outside the exit. She grabbed onto Virginia's joy button, and tugged.
The child tugged, and tugged and tugged.
“Oh dear god, yes! YES! YES!” The orgasmic contractions were all that the little one needed to make it the rest of the way out into her brave new world and gently into Mel’s waiting hands. She looked up at the doctor and smiled before pointing to the breasts that awaited her nearby. She hadn’t yet taken her first breath.
Mel gave her a tiny little pat on the fanny to elicit the response. Nothing. The child rolled, turned the other half of her cute little gluteal duo up for presentation. Before Mel could take the bait, the child smiled again and inhaled. Then she let out a good, healthy wail and again indicated her desire for mother’s milk. Who could argue with that? Mel dutifully complied and laid her at her mother’s breast.
There was no afterbirth, no cord to cut. The kid was shiny, too.
She turned and walked from the room. Clearly mother and child were both fine in whosoever's hands it was they were in. Baltha certainly seemed okay with the whole show. The doc who would relieve her was there, ready to go. So was she. She’d have the next two days off, and she only intended to stop on her way out the door to grab Jasper. She needed to find Jasper and take him out for a drink and a story. This was a doozie.
Virginia and Josef decided to name their child for their friend Baltha, who had acted as such a fine jidda for them. The child’s first name was Auntie, the name she’d used to refer to herself during labor. Her middle name was given by Joseph, her surrogate father. He liked Christi, his own mother's name. He was just crazy about Virginia and the baby, they were in his charge now and he was taking it with über Saxon seriousness. The foursome headed off into the outback, mother and child and those who would watch over them.
And so was the coming of the Auntie Christ into the world of man.
The End is Near