CREATIVE PARENTING • by Chris Maiorana

Dr. Fruitinella did not see patients, he rendered them.

Re-circulation was a fairly noble destination. Jung-Rachel had read the pamphlet numerous times. It was a mistake to purchase George. She would not make the mistake of keeping him.

She shifted uncomfortably in a narrow plastic chair. She was back where it had started, in the waiting room at Creative Parenting. It was a sterile, sobering place, and cold. She had come this far. She wasn’t going to turn back now.

George stared at the video pod with a simple slack expression that terrified his nervous mother, handler, sitter, whatever.


All of Jung-Rachel’s friends, whose opinions she’d held dearly, had made persuasive arguments: population growth is not what it used to be, consider a sterile existence; you’re throwing your life away; you’ll never visit Europe again; kids are kids until you die, and very expensive, too.

Jung-Rachel trusted that her motherly instincts would naturally bloom. (But that would be for the benefit of the child.) More directly, Jung-Rachel sought to fill a void in her own existence.

So from a pattern of desirable features George had emerged. First he was merely a three-dimensional series of polygons in a computer simulation. Then he was a seed. Soon enough an esoteric algorithm determined that George was ripe. The amnio fluid drained from the borning tube and Jung-Rachel held him for the first time.

What followed could be descibed as an introduction to a steadily unraveling nightmare. Jung-Rachel felt anxiety for the first time. She watched as her personal goals of motherhood and refined existence were shattered by the needs of another person. George had robbed her of something, like a blind man entering the wrong room in the middle of the night and drinking a stranger’s apple juice.


The receptionist, Sun-Moon, was very friendly. “Did you remember to bring your receipt?”

“Uh, yes.” Jung-Rachel had not a fresh or clever observation to share, nothing in the order of pleasant conversation. Girls like Sun-Moon were populating the video malls and stuff parties; their lives were not spent in mothering. Jung-Rachel tried not to hate Sun-Moon for that liberty, it would serve no purpose.

“The doctor will see you now.”

Two gray-suited techs took George away into a side chamber. Jung-Rachel prepared herself for the doctor; she was to appear business-like, but warm, not anxious at all. What kind of doctor is he anyway? she wondered. She went in.


Dr. Fruitinella did not see patients, he rendered them.

He inquired about George: does the boy have any irregular habits? He’s still young enough to have slight DNA modifications installed. Is he too mathematical? Would you prefer a more artistic sensitivity? Does his excrement smell too damp? Is it too soft?

Jung-Rachel had not an isolated complaint about George, but rather a series of inner stressors. Perhaps there was a better purpose for George to serve. Re-circulation was a fairly noble destination. George would be stripped down to basic materials; certain nutrients would be salvaged and re-distributed to various health-food markets. The hair and skin would be sold to the garment industries. The parent receives twenty cents off every dollar.


The profound silence in George’s old room was alarming, but familiar. It would make a good office, Jung-Rachel resolved. With enough feeling in recent memory, she composed a sufficient email that George would never receive. Sun-Moon said it would be therapeutic.

It read: George, I must admit it was a pleasure to know you. You changed my life in many ways. I cry for you now. That is, now. You taught me things about me that I never could have figured out without you. The math was too complex. You were always good. I still see your toys about. Your food. We will always be friends, George. I miss you now. But I’m happy. George, your mother is happy now.

Chris Maiorana exists most actively in the polymorphous system of Emen, but that’s just temporary because he’s skippin’ and hoppin’ across the US of A and playing with stories on a steam-powered text editor.

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