There was a guttural grunt.
“Come on, honey, push!”
Another grunt and a groan of pain and frustration.
“Look, I’m trying, OK? Shut the hell up. You want to make this baby?”
She backed up, sheepishly.
“No, you go ahead. I’m just excited…”
He finally got the machine out of the box and plugged it into the outlet in the wall. He hit what looked like the power button.
“It’s not working. Let me try this one.” Clicking. “Hmmmm.” More clicking. He stabbed at the control panel with his finger over and over again, hitting multiple random buttons in frustration.
“Have your read the directions? Maybe we should ask for some help.” She peered into the box and located the instruction booklet. “There’s a phone number in here…”
He flashed her THE look.
“Wait! Look. Something is happening!” He turned his attention back to the console.
The 3-D printer was making a soft whirring sound.
“How long is it supposed to take?”
“I don’t know…”
The whirring continued for a few more minutes. Then there was a gentle coo from behind the panel door.
“Oh, my God.”
She slid the panel open, scooped up the perfect naked baby boy, and held him to her chest.
“Hello, James,” she murmured into the little ear as she turned, “Meet your daddy.”
He reached out to touch the soft, newborn skin tentatively. “He’s real.”
Suddenly, the machine started whirring again.
“Is it supposed to do that?” She looked up, alarmed.
“Uh, I don’t know…” He shrugged.
They both stood there staring as they heard another coo. He pulled open the panel again. There was another baby.
“Did we order twins?”
He picked up the baby.
The machine started whirring again.
“Sean.” Panic crept into her voice. “Is it making another baby?”
“I don’t know!”
“Make it stop. Make it stop right now.”
In short order there was a third baby. The whirring started again.
“Plug. Pull the plug!” She was yelling now.
He was frantically pushing buttons again but stopped to fumble behind the machine and pulled out the power chord from the socket in the wall.
The whirring did not stop.
There was another baby. It seemed to be moving faster with each one.
“You hit something you weren’t supposed to,” she accused, still yelling. “Did you even read the directions?”
She lined the babies up in a row in the floor, including the new fifth one. They were identical.
“Never let a man to do a woman’s job…” she muttered as she grabbed the baseball bat from the hall closet. “…making babies…” She cursed loudly.
Within seconds she was bashing the hell out of the machine with all her might.
“There isn’t a baby inside is there?” He shouted. “Don’t kill it!”
She kept swinging the bat until the machine was a crumpled pile of metal bits and fluids of various colors dripped onto the floor. She finally stopped, out of breath, surveying the damage then stared in disbelief and at the babies.
What to do next? she wondered, the heavy, wooden bat still in her hand…