Sun God Seeks...surrogate?(3)

By: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

I glanced over my shoulder, wondering if anyone else inside the bustling café was witnessing this obnoxious display. Oddly enough, not one person was.

Whatever. Didn’t matter. I’d already decided to go find my pre–night shift triple-skinny cappuccino (hold the weirdo finger) elsewhere.

I pushed away from the table, and she latched onto my wrist, instantly igniting a surge of numbing static throughout my entire body. Every muscle ground to a halt. Except my pounding heart. That worked just fine.

She narrowed her eyes and then made a little no-no wave with her scrawny, pale finger.

“Yeah. Uh-huh. Oooh. Nice,” she continued chatting on her phone while I experienced the world’s quietest panic attack. “I’m thinkin’ we go with the chicken fingers.” She shook her head a few times. “No, silly. Real ones. I just love crunchy food.” Pause. “How the hell should I know what to do with the chickens? Make them some special shoes.” Pause. “Yup. Yup. Clothing is optional. Except for the clowns. They get too carried away with the ball jokes. Seriously. It’s disturbing. Even for me.” Another pause. “We can talk about it later, Fate. I gotta take care of this girl before she throws a hissy.” Pause. “Yes. It’s that girl. This is gonna be drama-licious!”

She ended her call and sighed happily in my general direction. “Gods, I rock. I should be a ride at Six Flags. They should name a country after me—wait! No. The planet. They should name the entire planet after magnifique moi!” She suddenly snapped back her head, and locked her eyes on the ceiling. “Oh yeah? You just try it!”

I couldn’t move my head, but from the corner of my eye I noticed a little black dot.

A fly? She’s talking to the fly?

She then pointed right at the little bugger. “That’s right! I’ll take you down. I’ll cut you, bitch!”

The fly buzzed away.

The woman shrugged and then leaned into the table. A wide, evil grin stretched across her elfin face. “Okillee dokillee, Penelope. Let’s not play games—for the next five minutes, anyway—Pin the Tail on the Donkey is my favorite, though. Just in case you were wondering.” She snorted. “I like it when they squeal.”

Her paralyzing grip didn’t allow a response, but I was all ears; this woman scared the crappity-crap out of me.

“I know everything about you,” she continued. “You’re Penelope Trudeau. You were raised right here in good ol’ N-Y-C. You’re mother has been fighting a mysterious illness for the past year, which is why you’ve put off going to grad school even though you’ve been accepted to several excellent programs.”

Who the hell was this woman? She recited every fact about my life, including how I was a size eight—or size ten after the major holidays and sporting events—had a black belt in karate, was afraid of spiders, and had no intention of celebrating my twenty-fifth birthday tomorrow. Birthdays freaked me out.

“My brother and I mean business, Penelope. This isn’t a joke. Though…”—she snorted twice—“did you ever hear the one about the porcupine who married the sheep?”

She released my wrist.

Ever so slowly, my body sparked back to life. Terrified, I blinked several times before nodding no. She was insane. Truly. Unequivocally. Bonkers. And she apparently knew how to do that Vulcan grip thing. Not a good combo.

“Well, their children were able to knit their own sweaters!” She chuckled loudly and slapped her knee.

Then, for no apparent reason, her expression transformed into a void of human warmth. It sent shivers deep down into the pit of my stomach, which was now telling me to run. Run far, far away. I didn’t know if her offer to pay me one million dollars was genuine or the ramblings of a madwoman, but God save me, I didn’t want anything to do with her.

“So, you in or out?” she asked, crossing her arms. “One million dollars, honey. It will solve all your problems: help your mother, pay for school…What’s one little egg and nine months of your life?”

The insane woman continued staring as I realized I had full control of my body again.

The words “My womb is not for rent!” exploded from my mouth, and the entire café fell silent. Everyone stared with gaping mouths.

“Oh, sure. Now you’re all paying attention,” I mumbled.

I turned my attention back to Ms. Nut Job and slowly stepped away, preparing to make a mad dash for my life. “I’m not interested.”

“Great!” She popped up from her chair and flicked her hand in the air. “You’ll get half the money now—just for showing up to the party. I mean that figuratively, by the way—’cause you’re not invited to my actual party. Friends and family only. Plus a few people who won the raffle. And some clowns. And my unicorn—don’t ask.”

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