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The Boring Woman
"This is impossible. This is a fraud. This is silly."
She was very boring until one day she began pretending to be pregnant at work. Her mother helped pad her stomach every day. Co-workers tried to figure out the father. Suddenly she was very interesting.
One day her manager saw her at the county fair. She looked up and down at the interesting woman’s flat belly several times until the interesting woman burst into tears and explained the miscarriage. Her manager gave her a week off. The administration wouldn't allow it for a pregnancy, but a miscarriage was a tragedy. A month later, she announced she was pregnant again.
This became routine. She got pregnant at the turn of spring and the turn of fall and miscarried at Christmas and at the bottom of summer when the gardens are drunk with heat and rain. Her co-workers suspected but they admired her too much to ask.
One year she really did get pregnant. She reduced the padding each week until she was full and needed no padding at all. Afterwards she brought it back.
The child was not boring because she was raised in secret, which makes people interesting. When she was old enough, she helped pad her mother's stomach too. When she was 18, her mother's work hired her. She began to pretend to be pregnant too.
This was too much for their co-workers. This is impossible. This is a fraud. This is silly. They repeated these words to each other until they all knew they all knew. Then they marched to the manager's office and demanded action.
The manager laughed, then put on a grave face. This is a very serious accusation. Shouldn’t you make absolutely sure there’s no father first?
And so the co-workers did, wandering the city, asking prying questions of every man. But because they could never be certain, they spread across the world and were never seen again. Meanwhile the woman and her daughter kept working away. They found each other very interesting.
For Emi Yagi