For 38 weeks, the only thing that would satisfy my immense appetite was red meat. I had a violent craving for steak, severely well-done and dripping not in blood, but a tangy surrogate: ketchup. I chewed the dry, tough meat for what seemed like hours, rendering the twine-like fibers into a thick cud and pausing only to squirt more of that sweet tomato nectar into my mouth.
I also should have known right away that whatever was growing inside of me was no normal baby. Between the plague of Pepe frogs falling from the sky onto our roof, the small pack of rabid jackals who followed me everywhere and kept scaring off the visitors, and the two horns rooted in the skull of my fetus that we observed on the sonogram, something seemed...off.
And then there were the dreams: Hazy visions of Ken Bone melting into a massive fly that splattered onto a windshield of a truck being driven by a big boy whose healthcare bill had just failed. Megyn Kelly as both of the Shining twins, holding hands as a cascade of blood filled the hallway. Jesus snorting crushed Adderall and shotgunning an energy drink that looked like a Four-Loko, but was called “Four-Saken.” Jesus told me again and again that I better buckle in for what was about to emerge from “that hellmouth that is your birth canal.”
After the fifth or sixth time this happened, I finally realized that what was supposed to be the beautiful innocent gift of new life was actually evil gestating inside me, and like Bret Michaels in Rock of Love Season 2, this disastrous drop of Poison did not plan on slowing down.
I should have known something would go terribly wrong because of the day this whole nightmare started: November 8, 2016. It was Election Night, and John and I decided to spend what was supposed to be the most empowering moment of my life getting shitfaced at a bar with a bunch of people wearing ugly pantsuits. We were there with a beautifully diverse group of people, including a few straight women with undercuts that I was planning on making out with later and a couple of minorities I raced to dance with whenever Beyoncé came on.
What John and I weren’t expecting was for the night to be so damn sobering. We left when Trump took Florida, suddenly realizing that we didn’t want to bear this newfound vulnerability of doubt with the drunken but, again, very diverse, strangers surrounding us.
We went home. And then it happened. As I sat on the couch, numb with horror, I was stunned to see something shift in John’s pants.
“Are you… are you hard?” I asked him incredulously, my eyes swelling with tears (from the results, not his erection).
“No,” he said, looking away, before admitting, “Yes.”
I was speechless. Sure, he still shared posts from Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash from time to time, but he supported Hillary with all the devotion in his heart as soon as he begrudgingly came to terms with the fact that Jill Stein was maybe an anti-vaxx sympathizer and there was literally no other option. He even wore the “I’m With Her” shirt I made him for our joint Halloween costume underneath the hoodie he wore for his individual Mr. Robot costume.
At first, I couldn’t understand where this horniness, in this moment of all moments, was coming from. It felt inhuman, perhaps even...evil. But as Trump took Ohio, I suddenly felt it too. It wasn’t despair, nor was it the helplessness rooted in the noble futility of “going high.” This was the base desire, nay, the need…to go low. John was as rigid as the New York Times election results odometer. And my enthusiasm gap was getting wetter by the second.
“Such a nasty woman,” John said unironically. I shot him the most crooked smile I could muster. The infernal flames of the dumpster fire that was 2016 had consumed us, and before we knew it, our pantsuits were in a heap on the floor as we passionately drained each others’ swamps.
Afterwards, we laid there in a mortified combination of bliss and confusion as the reality of a Trump presidency and the shame of what we had let consume us set in. We had been cucked by the devil himself.
August 8, 2017. I felt a pain uncanny in its sharpness. The son of a bitch in my uterus had a mean kick, but this was different. This was it. It was nine months to the day since the ungodly act that conceived this creature, and it was ready for its earthly debut.
I reached for my phone to call John, who had taken a 17-day vacation to deal with the stress of his impending fatherhood, but the next wave of pain sent me straight to the floor. I was going to give birth right there, the paisley Vera Bradley bag I had spent weeks packing for my hospital stay be damned. Or maybe I was going to die.
As the contraction rippled throughout my body, I remembered the countless times I tried to make things right while I still had the chance. Making clandestine ACLU donations only to find out I was actually donating to the Anti-Christ Lacrosse Ultra-nationalists. Attempting to attend a DSA meeting only to have the pack of jackals show up and eat all the socialists (twice). Trying to get a damn abortion, but finding Baphomet the goat-headed heathen blocking the clinic entrance, holding a sign that read “Smile! Your Mom Chose Life!”
“AUUUGH,” I shrieked. I could tell that it was time to start pushing. As much as I wanted to give up, something inside me (the demon spawn, perhaps?) found a way. I started breathing and pushing and yelling to exorcise this damn hell baby once and for all.
It was when the thing started to crown that I heard the voices: A distant warbling of what seemed to be Latin incantations that faded in and out with the contractions. As I squeezed more, propelling the creature out of me, the pulsating rhythms of the chorus pounded against my skull. In the blink of an eye, two adorable curled horns poked out from between my legs. That was when I decided to literally grab life by the horns, and as I simultaneously pushed and pulled it out of me, I heard the refrain the voices were chanting loud and clear.
“Bawitdaba, da bang, da dang diggy diggy, diggy, said the boogie, said up jump the boogie
Bawitdaba, da bang, da dang diggy diggy, diggy, said the boogie, said up jump the boogie”
Finally, with one last tug, the blood and shit-covered baby came out, screaming and crying and kicking and reciting the Beatles’ White Album backwards. The first thing I noticed, aside from the forked tongue and the hooves, was its hands. They were small, even for a baby. Like a Cabbage Patch Doll with Barbie hands.
Perhaps it really was the embodiment of evil John and I had rage-fucked into existence, hellbent on ushering the world as we know it into something even more apocalyptic than it is now. Perhaps I could teach it to love. Or maybe I would have to kill it, I don’t know. What I did know was that right then, it was pathetic and useless like every other human being and it needed me. And after nine long well-done steak-eating months, I could really use a fucking Diet Coke.
Danielle Coal is a writer in Brooklyn.