The Heavy Pour
An extreme close-up on a screaming infant's face. The baby's skin is bright red and there are two sharp fangs in its shrieking mounth.

Li’l Devil

The cover of Unwinnable Monthly #145, featuring a fluorescent grinning skull wearing an ornate crown.

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #145. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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Three fingers of analysis when two will do.

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A close-up on a child holding their knees to their chest. There is a clown-faced bandaid on their knee. Text: Mama is telling me about the day I was born.

Seen from the point of view of a patient, several doctors in blue scrubs focus downward. Text: "You know, when I was giving birth to you I could see a reflection of what was going on in the lamp above the doctor’s table? I could see everything down there if I wanted to, but I had to look away. Do you know why? I was in labor with you for nine hours; do you want to know why I didn’t want to see you come out?"

Marbles of all sizes spill out of a drawstring bag. Text: I feel that way where it’s like I swallowed marbles or ate a whole tray of Jello so I sit on my hands and bring my arms in tight to make myself steady.

A My Pet Monster toy from the 80s stares straight ahead, its wrists in shackles. Two human children sit on either side. Text: “I knew I was giving birth to a monster.”

An abandoned small-town field as seen through a car window. A broken-down couch sits abandoned in the middle of it. Text: I turn my head to look out of the window. No one wants to build anything new here. In the middle of the field sits a dilapidated, misshapen sofa. Right now three fat crows are perched on its back and arms, but I’ve seen groups of older kids hanging around it, smoking and drinking. Mama smokes and when she wants me to make her feel better she’ll say her smoking probably gave me my asthma, and that she’s sorry for it, and has there ever been another mother as bad as her?

A toddler dressed in a devil costume, replete with drawn on goatee. Text: “I knew you were going to have horns. I knew you had to have horns. God, it hurt so bad, giving birth to you. I told the doctor to move the lamp because I didn’t want to see you, but they all just ignored me.”

Seen from above, a small child holds a shiny red balloon. Their eyes are squeezed shut. Text: This is the part where I usually start to feel floaty and numb, and I lean into the feeling. Mama seems far away; like nothing she says can stick to me.

Close-up on a crying newborn infant. The baby's skin is bright red and they have horns and fangs. Text: “So I closed my eyes and I pushed and I felt your horns splitting me open and then you were here. And that was it. I had a baby.”

A toddler is dressed in a clown costume with baggy pants and a giant bowtie. Text: I wish there was a version of this where the end is a happy surprise for her. Maybe the birth still hurts just as bad, but at the end she’s delighted and relieved that it was just a cute little baby after all that. A little pumpkin instead of a little devil. She never tells a version like that.

A close-up on a child holding their knees to their chest. Their skin is bright red and a bandaid printed with a little devil is stuck on their knee. Text: Every time she tells it, she’s always sure she was giving birth to a monster. What if she's right?

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Sara Clemens thinks too much about things, generally. They run a site called Videodame and a Twitter called @thesaraclemens.

 

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