by L. D. Brodsky
My wife and I already have five kids between us: I've got four from my first marriage; we've got one together. I'm forty-two; she's thirty-eight. Our basketball-team-worth of boys is great — a manageable handful — but we'd like to have a daughter before it's too late. That's the math.
We find this company on the Internet that identifies X and Y chromosomes by means of injecting dye (the male-bearing Y genes have two and a half times the mass of their X counterparts) and sorting out the buyer's sperm of choice to send into the womb via catheter, easy as you please.
These are the ethics: we have three chances to make a girl baby — 90 percent guaranteed — by in vitro fertilization, bring some gender diversity to our brood. It costs $2500 a throw. We're happy to forgo our next two vacations, knowing we're spending our savings on the latest techniques in gene sorting.
And now, we're pregnant again. Miracle of miracles, it's a girl! My wife and I are bursting with excitement! She feels she's giving me the gift of a lifetime. I can't wait to have a little princess! Thank God for modern technology!
It may not be "pro-choice" as we know it, but it's close. And one day, who knows...beauty, brains, brawn, big bucks you choose!
In Nuts to You!, L. D. Brodsky's sixth book of short fictions, the reader is dealt a hand of wild cards depicting, among others, an office worker who notices the stairs to the basement vending machines diminishing every day and another who bolts from work, stays away for weeks, and finds himself not missed, upon his return; an art lover who is seduced by a lifelike statue; a media victim who hears voices, even from freshly baked pies; a college student who relocates his dorm room to the bathroom; an avid jogger who braves below-zero weather, in T-shirt and shorts; a desperate poet who advertises his services in the Yellow Pages; a Starbucks patron who actually tries to grasp the Zen-like profundities on the napkins; a sports-bar lizard who thrives on bad wine; and an ape who fears he'll evolve into a man. Of course, Brodsky's malapropistic working stiff takes center stage in five of the stories as well, reveling in his hometown's celebrity, fueled by "Big Mac Mike McGwire"'s record-breaking duel with "Sammy Salsa" and the pope's "pastural pilgrinage."