Authors: Wrath James White,Jerrod Balzer,Christie White
Wrath James White
copyright 2008 by Wrath James White
This edition copyright 2011 by Wrath James White
All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced without prior written consent of the author. Reproduction requests may be addressed to the publisher for review.
Honey's stomach undulated beneath Todd's hand as he rubbed her bloated belly. He could see the faint impressions of little faces and tiny paws stretching her flesh as the puppies moved around inside of her. The Golden Retriever had crawled back into the far corner of the closet, panting heavily, struggling to give birth. Blood and fluid dripped from her vagina while she paced around the tiny closet in a tight circle, squatting occasionally as if she were trying to defecate. Her body quivered and her legs shook from the exertion.
"Come on, Honey. You're doing fine, girl."
He filled her water bowl and Honey lapped feverishly at the water.
"That's a good girl."
Todd stroked her fur while she continued to drink.
He was excited. Honey was his best friend. She had been his since he was just a year old. Todd could not remember a time when she hadn't been by his side. She was, for the most part, his only friend. His mother was deeply religious and had homeschooled him rather than send him to public school, saving him from a "heathenous secular education."
"It's no wonder there's all these kids out there shooting each other, using drugs, alcohol, and smoking cigarettes now that they've taken the bible out of school. They won't even let the kids pray! Then they teach them sex education and wonder why they're all having under-aged premarital sex and making babies out of wedlock. There's no way I'd let my baby go to one of those godless schools. Everything you need to know is right here in the bible."
He wasn't allowed to play with any of the neighborhood kids, which his mother regarded as sinners, deviants, and criminals. So, Honey had been his only playmate. She slept at the foot of his bed, to his mother's chagrin, but the one time his mother had locked the dog out of Todd's room he'd cried himself hoarse. His mother had finally relented and Honey had been sleeping with him ever since. When she had gotten pregnant he'd been so excited. Puppies would mean even more friends to help cure his agonizing loneliness.
Honey began licking herself and then laid down on her side. The first puppy slid out still encased in a sack of amniotic fluid. Honey licked and nibbled at the sack as she pushed out the next small sack. She ate the membrane off of each puppy, as she continued to push them out - chewing them free and then licking them clean. Todd was so happy he was in tears.
"They're beautiful, Honey. Look at all of your babies. You did it, girl."
He reached out and rubbed the dog's head as Honey laid back down, still panting from exhaustion.
"Ah, Jesus! Look at that mess in there!"
Todd's dad stood behind him, still wearing his muddy work boots and his grey Dickies shirt with the sweat stains in the armpits.
"Mom says you shouldn't take the lord's name in vain. I'll clean it up, Dad. Aren't they pretty though? I watched the whole thing. You should have seen it. It was amazing!"
"Yeah? How many of them are there?"
Todd looked back over at Honey who was still cleaning her puppies.
"Eleven? Jesus, we can't afford to feed eleven puppies. We can barely afford Honey."
"But, Dad, we can't sell 'em!"
"You'd better hope we can sell 'em or else they're going to the animal shelter."
Todd began to cry.
"No. No, Dad. You can't. No."
"Come here, son."
Todd walked over to his father who knelt down beside him.
"Look, son, I know you want to keep them but we can't afford to feed them."
"But on T.V. they said they kill puppies at the animal shelters. They put 'em to sleep."
"Well, if they didn't there'd be dogs and cats everywhere. We'd be drowning in 'em. They'd eat up all of the food and they'd be dying in the streets of starvation and disease. Putting them to sleep is the humane thing to do. It keeps 'em from suffering. In the wild they had predators that helped keep their population down but since we took 'em out of the wild there's nothing to keep 'em from just continuing to reproduce. There's no wolves or lions or anything to compete with for food or kill off the old, the sick and the weak ones."
"Well, what about us?"
"That's what I'm talking about. We help keep their numbers down painlessly and humanely by putting them to sleep when people can't take care of them."
Todd looked back over at Honey. The puppies were now blindly reaching for her nipples, trying to suckle. Honey nudged them gently with her nose to help them find her teats. They looked so weak and helpless. Todd couldn't imagine them being sent to the pound and murdered. He began to sob. His father reached out and hugged him close.
Todd knew that his father loved him even if he didn't always understand him.
"I know. It's hard. But it's the right thing. We just can't afford to feed them all. Either we eat or they do."
"But what about us? We don't have any predators either. What happens when there are too many people?"
"Well, we have diseases and wars and disasters."
"But we keep curing all the diseases."
"There's a whole bunch that we haven't cured."
"The newsman said that there's like six billion people alive right now. Only a hundred thousand people died in the Gulf war."
"A hundred thousand is a lot of people."
"Not compared to six billion."
"Well, there're more wars than that going on. There are wars going on all over the place."
"That's still not enough. If we have to kill Honey's puppies to keep there from being too many dogs then why aren't we doing the same with people?"
Todd stared up at his father. He could see the man's frustration as he rubbed a coarse calloused hand over his furrowed brow. He was visibly exhausted. His father let out a sigh and reached down to wipe a tear from Todd's eyes. Todd knew that he was just speaking out of anger and frustration but it just didn't make sense to him.
Todd stared back at his father, waiting for an answer, waiting for him to make it all make sense to him. Waiting for his father to explain why it was okay to put his puppies to sleep because there were too many of them while humans were still multiplying like roaches. Past the tears still welling in his son's eyes, Todd's father could see the anger boiling there. He didn't know what to do about it.
"Son, you shouldn't talk like that. What would your Mom say if she heard you talkin' about billions of people dyin'?
That's not very Christian."
"But what's going to happen, Daddy? What's going to happen when there's no more room? What happens when there's not enough food for everybody?"
"I don't know, baby. I'm not sure. But that's probably not something we need to worry about in our lifetime. Maybe that's when the rapture your Momma's always talkin' about will come or maybe we'll all get in a big spaceship and go to another planet."
Todd looked past his father, across the room, and out his bedroom window. The stars were out. They looked so far away. He couldn't imagine everyone on the planet getting in one spaceship and making it so far. It just didn't seem possible. If Jesus didn't come down and get them all, Todd was fairly certain that everyone in the world would look like those pictures of starving children he saw on television once the population inevitably doubled. He looked back over at Honey. One of the puppies was smaller than all the rest. The other puppies weren't letting him in to feed.
"Can I keep the little one?"
A month later they sold three of the puppies. Two weeks after that, they took the other eight to the animal shelter. Todd cried for a week.
Todd could not understand how some of these people had the nerve to come into his cubicle, begging for welfare and food stamps, claiming that they couldn't afford to buy food on their own, when they were clearly 50 or 60 or even 100 pounds overweight. It took a lack of humility that he simply did not possess.
He watched the corpulent woman, a cascade of chins hanging down her neck and disappearing somewhere under her T-shirt. Breasts twice the size of his own head bobbling about under her shirt in a bra that was unequal to the task of containing them. Her titanic arms jiggled even more than her mammoth tits as she filled out the paperwork. Her litter of unwashed, unruly children ran around his office, fighting and whining. Todd's stomach turned. She was morbidly obese. At least a hundred pounds over what even the most liberal physician would consider a healthy weight. Her body fat percentage had to have been in the high eighties. Todd imagined that, at 5'6" tall, her entire skeletal and muscular system, organs and all, probably weighed no more than a hundred pounds, yet she was well over 250 or 260 pounds, maybe even more. That meant that there was at least 150 pounds of fat on her body. There had to be a foot between her muscle and her skin. Just thinking about it was beginning to make Todd ill.
When she walked into his work-area it had taken a Herculean effort just for her to cross the floor. Coming to the Welfare Department was probably the most exercise she had gotten all month. Her breathing was labored from the weight of the fat on her chest. Todd could scarcely imagine what agony her heart was going through, trying to force blood through those clogged arteries and capillaries. The heavy rattling wheeze coming out of her suffocating lungs made Todd terrified that she would die right there in the chair and everyone would expect him to perform CPR on her.
He didn't think he had it in him. He imagined himself staring down at her as she slowly turned blue, her kids wailing and crying, begging him to help, his coworkers rushing into his cubicle to see what the commotion was about and finding him just standing there doing nothing, their accusatory glares as one of them clamped their mouth onto her pie-hole to breathe life into her overburdened lungs and the other fished in between those impossibly big flabby tits for a ribcage and began chest compressions which would only make those big fat sweaty breasts jiggle more while Todd secretly hoped that she wouldn't recover. Todd was still immersed in his fantasy, his facial expression no doubt betraying his revulsion, when she said something that almost made him walk out of the office.
"I'm going to need to get on that Women and Children's program. I'm pregnant again."
He must have heard her wrong, Todd thought. Surely she was not stupid enough to be having more kids when she couldn't feed and clothe the four unfortunate heathens she had already given birth to? Whatever happened to birth control? Who the hell keeps fucking this obese monstrosity of a woman? If she can't afford to feed herself why the hell does she keep having kids?
"I'm pregnant. I need an application for WIC."
"Why don't you have an abortion? We would be happy to pay for it."
The woman's jaw dropped.
Todd could not believe he had just said that. It had just slipped out. The job had gotten to him. Now she would tell his bosses and he would either get suspended or fired.
Unless I can convince her to do it. I'm probably going to get my ass fired anyway so why not try to do some good in my last few minutes of employment?
The woman was still staring at him wide-eyed with her expression slowly changing from shock to outrage. He had to say something. Todd leaned over his desk and spoke to her in a conspiratorial whisper.
"Look, if you abort that baby and don't bring another kid that you can't afford into the world for the taxpayers to support then I'll see that the entire procedure is covered by the state and if you go ahead and get your tubes tied at the same time, I'll personally see to it that you never have to come into this office again. No more job hunting, no more interviews, no more paperwork. You will get your food stamps and your check every month and you'll never have to see my face again."
The woman's mouth opened and then she paused. She paused! She was considering it. She looked down at the mewling infant in her lap with his face stained with baby food and juice, the two-year-old in the stroller beside her reeked from a diaper that needed to be changed an hour ago, the four and five-year-olds still fought over a toy one of them had stolen from the grocery store, and a look of exhaustion and resignation began to take over her face. Tears welled up in her eyes. She looked helpless and confused. Todd was surprised that he wasn't touched by it at all. For some reason, the plight of a single human never seemed to have the power to move him, not when there were 50,000 species of plant and animal life going extinct every year as we cleared rainforests and turned them into cattle farms so that fat whores like this could get cheeseburgers. He wanted to look away but he knew that he had to look sympathetic if he wanted to save his job.
"What do I have to sign?"
"I'll get you a medical hardship form. I'll fill out everything. You just sign the bottom of it. You are doing the right thing."
It took a supreme effort for him to keep the smile off of his face. He looked at the long line standing outside the door of his cubicle and for the first time he didn't feel the usual anxiety. He didn't feel the desire to hide under the desk or flee the building or take an AR15 rifle and mow down everyone in sight and then burn the place to the ground. For the first time in his nine years working for the Welfare Department, Todd Hammerstein actually felt like he had done some good.