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Unbegotten Child by Winston K. Marks

unbegotten child

By WINSTON MARKS

Illustrated by VIDMER

_If this was true, there ought to be another edition of What Every Young Girl Should Know!_

* * * * *

"What," she demanded, sitting bolt upright in the hospital bed, "has happened to the medical world? In Italy, they tell me I have an abdominal tumor. In Paris, it's cancer. And now you fat-heads are trying to tell me I'm pregnant!"

I stuffed my stethoscope into my jacket pocket and tried to pat her hand. "Take it easy, Mrs. Caffey--"

"It's _Miss Caffey_, damn you," she said snatching her hand away, "and better I should have gone to an astrologer!"

[Illustration]

"See here, now," I said, letting a stern note enter my voice. "You came here requesting a verification of the malignancy of this growth. Our discovery of a six month foetus is a fact, not an accusation."

"Look, Buster, I'm a thirty-six-year-old spinster. Like the joke goes, I haven't been married _or anything_. Also, I knew about the birds and the bees before you were emptying bedpans. Now will you get off this subject of babies and find out whether it's safe for me to start any continued stories?"

* * * * *

Such protestations from unmarried mothers were not uncommon, but Sara Caffey's cold convictions were unshakable. She sank back into her seven satin pillows and sighed mightily. Her wide-spaced, intelligent eyes glared at me from a handsome, if somewhat overly strong, face. Creamy white shoulders swept gracefully into gradually darkening neck skin and frankly tanned cheeks and broad forehead. Her straight, slender nose was sunburned.

As resident physician for over fifteen years, I had learned patience in these matters. But the thought that this lovely creature expected me to believe that she was an unfulfilled old maid got under my skin, particularly under the circumstances.

"Miss Caffey, I am a physician, not a philosopher. Just the same, permit me to congratulate you on your virginity."

"Thanks," she said, in a voice not untinged with pride.

"However," I went on, "in spite of certain contra-indications and irregularities of symptoms such as the absence of morning sickness and the like, I would like to enlist your cooperation in delivering yourself of an infant within the next three months."

"Dr. Foley, please understand!" She threw her hands apart in despair. "I love children. I would have an acre of them if I were married, or even in the mood for any other alliance. But men just don't fit my frame of reference. And regardless of what kind of a damned fool I may make of myself in the future, I haven't, to date! Doctor, the kind of cooperation you ask for hasn't been known for two thousand years."

I tried another tack. "Well, since you arrived without a medical history on your condition, would you tell us the name of your last doctor so we may write for a transcript?"


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