Negative Kazoos

Krammer Abrahams

Carl pretended to either empty the dishwasher, examine his fingernails, stretch his back, yawn, make note that he needed to call his mother, be upset he slept so late, wonder what he would do with a three-inch tall child, remember he needed to pick up parmesan cheese, or not care what happened on the other side of the bathroom door.

A toilet flushed. A faucet made itself useful. The soap dish got wet and was rearranged. The hand towel was readjusted. The doorknob twisted. Hinges were used. Bathroom lights were turned off. And out of the darkness stepped a girl.

When Carl saw her he tried to pretend he was busy stretching his back, yawning, wishing he hadn't slept so late, and making a grocery list. He did not look at her. The trash was overflowing. There were nonexistent cracks in the ceiling. She raised her eyebrows. He kind of noticed. He looked up at her and said, "Well?" She said, "So?"


"What do you think?"

"I don't know," Carl said.

"Are you nervous?"

"I guess not."

"I'm not pregnant," she said.

"Oh," he said. He paused. A few seconds passed. He tried to make movements to comfort her. He bent over slightly so his body could touch hers. His arms acted like early forms of robotic technology and were not comforting. He didn't realize his own awkwardness. It was painful to imagine Carl having sex with anything.

"Are you happy?" she asked.

"Are you sure the test is right?" Carl asked.

She pulled out something that reminded him of a kazoo. Carl wondered if it smelt like her pee.

"This means the test worked," she pointed at the circle on the right with a red vertical line.

"And this means I'm not pregnant." There was a circle on the left with a horizontal red line forming a minus sign.

"Couldn't that be a reflection of your personality and not a true determinant of your ability to produce a child in the next six months?"

She was silent. He thought she missed the joke.

"See, because it's a minus sign and…"

"Yeah, I got it." She turned and threw out the pregnancy test.

Carl thought, "There goes my aborted baby." Whether he was curious or he thought he could save an unborn child, he went over to the trash to look at the test's ability to predict the future.

"Maybe its wrong?" he said, "I think this negative dash might one day grow into a positive. Maybe I should keep it."

"I thought you didn't want a baby or at least act happy."

"I am happy I guess."

"You guess?"

"It's just that I feel like we killed a baby today, like you killed our baby?"

"You're being weird."

"I don't mean you used a coat hanger or anything, but…"

She turned away from him and looked at nonexistent cracks on the floor.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"You don't have anything to be sorry about."

"You've had a rough day."

"No I haven't. I woke up only an hour ago."

It was noon.

"Well you haven't eaten anything and you're probably feeling empty…like you've had miscarriage or something."

"Oh my god, what's your problem?"

"The loss of a child can be devastating. I know there never was … I mean I don't know, but I imagine you're hurt by everything that's happened."

"Just shut up for a second."

Carl smiled for no reason.

"You're a child."

"I don't mean to be one."

"You really need to grow up."

"I'll try."

"You know, I did this for you."

"I did not ask for an aborted fetus."

"Will you fucking stop talking about aborted fetuses?"

"Yes, eventually."

"God, don't you realize I did the test for you."

"Thank you. I guess I shouldn't complain."


"Could you get me something a little better for my birthday?"

"Oh my god."

"I feel great."

"It never changes. I mean I know you've been worried because I haven't had my period."

"It has been three months."

"That's not uncommon when you switch birth control."

"It sounds like a miracle."

"My doctor said, maybe it's a problem with the dosage."

"A miracle from god. I feel it. A child is coming. The messiah."

"Please stop."

"I want this child, but if you don't then I can live with that."

"What the fuck are you talking about? You don't even have a full-time job or a living room"

"I don't think an Asian baby would mind?"


"Can you make an Asian bay? Don't they take care of themselves?"


"I'm sorry. I don't mean to mess with your feelings on such an emotional day."

"It's not that big of deal."

"You're right. I can't raise a baby here."

"It's not that bad. I like this place."

"Just the same, let's have the abortion."


"Can't you have one to be safe? I'll pay."

"Jesus, I'm not pregnant."


Carl paused and then punched her lightly in the stomach.

"Ow, why'd you do that?"

"Homemade abortion. No babies," he said

He punched her again, soft, but with a purpose.

"Ow, stop doing that."

She stared at him.

"In case it was twins," Carl said.

She tried to hide her smile.


He took her hand and made a fist then guided the punch into her own stomach.

"No babies," Carl said again.

"Why do I keep putting up with your shit?"



"Okay?" Carl asked.

"Let's have a baby," she said.

Carl tried to hug her again. His robotic arms were replaced. He felt a little pathetic.

"Not today," he said, "Maybe tomorrow."

He hugged her again. Boredom filled his arms. There was little comfort.

"Three were people on a boat," Carl said, "Then one fell off. The baby fell off. Then there were two."

She punched him in the arm and smiled.

Carl thought, 'miscarriage,' and rubbed his shoulder.

Krammer Abrahams has not played pick-up basketball in a long time because he doesn't have health insurance and sometimes people on the court get excited and want to be a shoe made by nike and start throwing 'bows around and now Krammer Abrahams is getting fat. He's been published at titular, elimae, robot melon, and a few other places.