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Special Delivery   By: (1922-2002)

Special Delivery by Damon Francis Knight

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction April 1954. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Special Delivery


Illustrated by ASHMAN

All Len had to hear was the old gag: "We've never lost a father yet." His child was not even born and it was thoroughly unbearable!

Len and Moira Connington lived in a rented cottage with a small yard, a smaller garden, and too many fir trees. The lawn, which Len seldom had time to mow, was full of weeds, and the garden was overgrown with blackberry brambles. The house itself was clean and smelled better than most city apartments, and Moira kept geraniums in the windows.


However, it was dark on account of the firs. Approaching the door one late spring afternoon, Len tripped on an unnoticed flagstone and scattered examination papers all the way to the porch.

When he picked himself up, Moira was giggling in the doorway. "That was funny."

"The hell it was," said Len. "I banged my nose." He picked up his Chemistry B papers in a stiff silence. A red drop fell on the last one. " Damn it!"

Moira held the screen door for him, looking contrite and faintly surprised. She followed him into the bathroom. "Len, I didn't mean to laugh. Does it hurt much?"

"No," said Len, staring fiercely at his scraped nose in the mirror. It was throbbing like a gong.

"That's good. It was the funniest thing I mean funny peculiar," she clarified hastily.

Len stared at her; the whites of her eyes were showing: "Is there anything the matter with you?" he demanded.

"I don't know," she said on a rising note. "Nothing like that ever happened to me before. I didn't think it was funny at all. I was worried about you, and I didn't know I was going to laugh " She laughed again, a trifle nervously. "Maybe I'm cracking up."

Moira was a dark haired young woman with a placid, friendly disposition. Len had met her in his senior year at Columbia, with looking at it impartially, which Len seldom did regrettable results. At present, in her seventh month, she was shaped like a rather bosomy kewpie doll.

Emotional upsets , he remembered, may occur frequently during this period . He leaned to get past her belly and kissed her forgivingly. "You're probably tired. Go sit down and I'll get you some coffee."

Except that Moira had never had any hysterics till now, or morning sickness, either she burped instead and anyhow, was there anything in the literature about fits of giggling?

After supper, he marked seventeen sets of papers desultorily in red pencil, then got up to look for the baby book. There were four dog eared paperbound volumes with smiling infants' faces on the covers, but the one he wanted wasn't there. He looked behind the bookcase and on the wicker table beside it. "Moira!"


"Where the devil is the other baby book?"

"I've got it."

Len went and looked over her shoulder. She was staring at a drawing of a fetus lying in a sort of upside down Yoga position inside a cross sectioned woman's body.

"That's what he looks like," she said. " Mama. "

The diagram was of a fetus at term.

"What was that about your mother?" Len asked, puzzled.

"Don't be silly," she said abstractedly.

He waited, but she didn't look up or turn the page. After a while, he went back to his work. He watched her.

Eventually she leafed through to the back of the book, read a few pages, and put it down. She lighted a cigarette and immediately put it out again. She fetched up a belch.

"That was a good one," said Len admiringly.

Moira sighed.

Feeling tense, Len picked up his coffee cup and started toward the kitchen... Continue reading book >>

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