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  • Writer's picturePeter Clarke

"Baby Alice" Published in Birds Piled Loosely

I hand-wrote "Baby Alice" while in a coffee shop in Santa Cruz. Whenever I write stories by hand, things tend to get pretty weird. "Baby Alice" was inspired by a real life newborn sick in a hospital. Instead of setting up a tragedy, I figured I'd make the kid a superhero. I believe it worked. Birds Piled Loosely was the first place I sent it to. They picked it right up and it just appeared in their Issue #7.

It's short, so I'll post it here. But I do recommend checking out Birds Piled Loosely's latest issue. There are quite a few great poems and stories


Baby Alice came out with an infected head. She was five pounds, atheist, vegan, and spoke a combination of English and Russian, as requested by forms 91-6A, 93-B1, and 78-L9 respectively. The infected head, which was not requested, had caused a massive purple bulge to form between the left eye and ear.

“No milk!” Alice screamed in her first words when a white-mustached doctor came with a needle. “I’m vegan!”

“Shhh…” said the doctor. “Holds still, Alice. It’s only to kill the pain.”

Baby Alice cursed at the doctor in Russian. Her voice was husky and authoritative, as per form 88-P2.

“I know my rights,” said Alice, crying now.

The doctor laughed. This kid was making good use of her vocab module, all right.

“We’re just draining all the puss out,” the nurse explained, leaning in with a large syringe.

There was about a pint of puss. It was bright yellow and incredibly warm.

“What should I do with this, doctor?” asked the nurse. The doctor gave some orders under his breath. The nurse nodded. All very solemn, Baby Alice noticed.

“No!” she said. “Give it back!”

“Shhhh…” the doctor cooed, poking the baby with a strong sedative.

“You won’t get away with this…!” But before she could even get out a single curse in Russian, she was out cold.

When Baby Alice awoke, she was alone in her hospital room. She could hear her mother out in the hall talking with the nurse. Still in her very first moments of life, Alice sized up her mom as a sweet but gullible woman. A product of a time before form 91-6A, etc.

The nurse was saying, “She’s doing very well. She’s resting now…”

There were footsteps leading away. Then silence.

“Yeah right, those bastards,” said Alice, jumping out of bed and doing a summersault to the door (kinesthetic hyper-enrichment per form 61-B2).

The white-mustached doctor was standing huddled behind a desk with a couple of other quacks. In undertones, they were discussing the success of the day’s harvest. Alice crept up close to listen.

“Another eight gallons today. That’s fifteen gallons since Sunday.”

“My god, it’s a goldmine!”

A look of extreme fury crossed Alice’s face. When the doctors had their backs turned, she whizzed past. Putting her hyper sensitive nose into action, she sniffed out the trail of puss in the air, following it to a locked door. With no time to lose, she kicked it right down.

“You think Alice is okay?” asked her mom to her dad a short distance down the hall.

“We paid so much extra for those super abilities and genetic corrections, she damn well better pull through!”

“Imagine an infection on her head. Never heard of that, have you?”

“I don’t like the sound of it…” her dad grumbled.

Entering the locked room, Baby Alice closed the busted door and gasped. The room was filled with hanging bags of baby head puss. There must have been hundreds of them.

Just then… “What happened to the door?” It was the doctor’s voice. His head poked into the room.

Alice panicked. She was standing right in the open holding a dozen bags of baby puss.

What was this stuff anyway? That was the great mystery. They were harvesting it for something.

“Hey!” yelled the doctor, storming towards Alice.

Not quite old enough to restrain her baby impulses (despite her better judgment as per form 23-BL), Alice ripped open one of the bags and guzzled the puss.

“What are you doing you crazy baby?!”

The doctor began backing away, terrified. Baby Alice burped, muttered something in Russian, and got a little wobbly. Her eyes began to water. She turned red and broke into a burning sweat.

It was only then that she realized that this, her first meal, didn’t exactly satisfy her vegan ideals. So that was one mistake. Also she suddenly found herself seriously questioning her convictions as a born and bred atheist. It was like her whole life up to this point had been a sham. For a whole seven hours, she had been living in a fantasy world of lies and evil deceptions. But now her eyes were open and she saw the truth—not only that there was a god, but that she herself was god.

“Out of my way!” she bellowed and her voice was huskier and more authoritative than ever. She raced around the hospital curing everyone and punching anybody who got in her way.

When the god juice/baby puss began to wear off, doubts immediately crept in. Her pre-programed atheism was triggered like a switch. Also she was hungry and dying for a real vegan meal, served on the bosom of her half English half Russian momma.

Exhausted, Baby Alice stumbled back into her hospital room and started crying in her bed. She didn’t even notice the new purple bulge that was beginning to grow on the side of her head…

At last she fell asleep and the doctors, one by one, peaked into her room. When it was determined that it was safe to enter, the white-mustached doctor escorted her parents to her bedside. In her troubled dreams, Baby Alice could hear her father’s voice demanding an answer.

“We’re harvesting it…” the doctor whispered, “for aliens…for the government…for god…”

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