I was minding my own business in my police car with a 44 ounce iced tea between my legs, a handful of sunflower seeds in my mouth, one hand on the steering wheel, and the other wrapped around my seed shell spit cup, when I nearly ended a man’s life.
That there was a white man in the neighborhood I was driving in wasn’t really that shocking in and of itself. That he suddenly appeared out of nowhere and was now standing in the middle of a traffic lane, directly in front of my car, however, was.
I hit the brakes hard, causing my nearly full tea cup to lurch forward into the steering wheel. The contents of the bag I carry all my work shit in over on the passenger seat flew onto the floor board and I yelled, “What the fuck??!!!” to nobody in particular before stepping out of my car.
“What the fuck?!” continued to be my theme as I thought it to myself while looking at the man with no brains standing in the middle of a busy, six lane roadway.
We made eye contact and I guess the look on my face was enough of a clue that I was pissed off and curious as to why he was throwing his body in front of my car that he immediately apologized and pointed towards some nearby apartments.
My anger turned to laughter (inside laughing only) as I watched this guy jumping up and down like a monkey as he pointed towards the apartment building.
“What?” I said?
He pointed and jumped and pointed some more.
“What is it, sir?” I was beginning to feel like Timmy’s mom talking to Lassie and trying to coax information from her as to whether or not something had taken place at the old mill.
While dummy continued to stand in the middle of the road jumping and pointing asininely at the nearby apartment building, a tall, older woman caught my attention by shouting out, “Officer.”
“Yes ma’am. What’s going on here?” I asked her.
“There’s a woman in there maybe going into labor.” The woman answered.
She pointed towards a gate that was normally locked, but that was being held open at this time by a little girl wearing a Girls on the Run tee shirt.
“Hey, sweetie.” I asked. “Did you do Girls on the Run?” I asked as I tried to stall for more time while thinking “please God don’t let there be a woman in labor beyond this gate.”
“I did do…”
“Malika!!” A woman shouted and cut the little girl off. “Let that man tend to Shanika.”
Ugh, I thought to myself.
Not 20 feet away from where I was trying to enjoy a conversation with a little girl at the gate to the courtyard for this apartment complex, there was a woman very clearly in labor, or so she thought.
“Fuck me.” I thought to myself.
While I know we’d all like to believe that our police officers are well trained in CPR or first aid and that such activities as suturing up sucking chest wounds or delivering children in an apartment courtyard are second nature, the truth is…they are not. Not to all of us, anyway.
I walked over the the very obviously pregnant woman seated in a plastic patio chair and asked her name and when she was due. She introduced herself as Shanika and said that she wasn’t due until October. She also said that her baby, well, she said “He” hadn’t moved all day. That was unusual, she said. He’s normally very active.
It worried me to hear her say that because number one, I’m not a Gynocologist, number two, I’m not even a podiatrist, and number three, I ain’t no sort of doctor PERIOD!
While I feel more than qualified to give expert advice and information to moms and dads to be via this blog or during conversations where the mom to be either isn’t even pregnant yet, or at least isn’t in the process of giving birth as we speak, when it’s the real deal event, I’m not the main man for the job. Also, in spite of my non-expert status at baby delivering, I still recognized that no movement seemed like a bad thing.
I noticed the woman was wearing a McDonald’s uniform and had a neck tattoo that seemed familiar to me.
“Are you going to work now?” I asked.
When she got done breathing hard and screaming in pain, she told me that she was sent home early from work. When I asked her which McDonald’s she worked at, it turned out that she worked at the one in a nearby truck stop that I like to visit from time to time. Her and I have talked before, but I don’t think she remembered.
We talked for a couple of minutes and then she suddenly got those pains again. She bent over in her chair and began breathing hard all over again, all the time barking out orders to her boyfriend about what she wanted him to bring to the hospital.
I laughed at the look on his face. He had that deer in the headlights look that I’m sure I had when my first was born eleven years ago last week.
I stopped laughing when Shanika started to contract again.
There were many other people around by this time, none of whom was a fucking doctor or nurse or midwife or online birthing video fetish enthusiast.
“WHERE THE FUCK IS THE AMBULANCE!!!???????” I screamed inside my head.
I offered the woman my hand and she squeezed it tight as fuck. She was strong, and she was in labor to boot. “THANK YOU!” She yelled.
“WHERE THE FUCK IS THE AMBULANCE!!!?????” I screamed inside my head again, but this time I had company. Shanika had yelled out the same thing as I was thinking it!
“JINX!” I said, to which she looked at me like I had seven heads. “Never mind.”
I was suddenly taken back to the only other time I was involved with the birthing of a child that wasn’t one of my own.
It was also while I was at work and it had also involved a lot of “WHERE THE FUCK IS THE AMBULANCE??!” screaming.
I don’t feel like reliving that moment, but suffice to say it was a disgusting, disturbing, bloody, messy, gross, messy, disgusting and beautiful, if not disgusting and messy, experience.
It was a boy, by the way.
I knew the boy’s grandmother and I ran into her at the chicken palace a few weeks ago. She was all excited and told me to come to her table, fast!
She introduced me to her grandson, the one that was a messy, disgusting sight to behold just thirteen years before. He was now a tall, much less disgusting young man with impeccable manners. I was very impressed with him and like to think that I played a small part in him growing up so well thus far.
Anyway, back to the six lane roadway.
By the time I’d snapped out of my trip down memory lane, the FUCKING AMBULANCE had arrived along with several fire trucks.
“You want us to take over, or do you want to do this?” One of the smart asses asked.
“Thanks for showing up, jerks,” I said. “Thank God nobody was dying.” I took off my plastic gloves as a sign of surrender.
“It’s all yours, boys.” I said.
As I was walking away, Shanika yelled that I better come see her for some free Egg McMuffins or hamburgers. I laughed at how absurd it was that she was thinking about anything other than her own pain and baby at that moment.
“She’ll be a great mom.” I told myself as I got back in my car.
Having been through four births in my life, minus my own, I was pretty sure that Shanika was going to be leaving the hospital in a few days as a new mom, so I was more than a little surprised to see her at work the very next day.
I looked at her and said, “What the fuck?” as I pointed towards her belly.
“Was that you yesterday?” She asked.
She ran from around the counter and nearly knocked me over with a bear hug that was completely awkward and wonderful at the same time. She smelled of french fries and milkshakes, so I loved her for that.
“I didn’t do anything, dear. I just held your hand for a minute while you crushed my bones with your strong, pregnant lady grip. How are you not holding a new baby right now?”
She smiled a wonderfully huge smile and told me that the baby was just in a weird position or something and that’s what was causing her pain.
She also said that she had sat in that chair for several minutes in pain surrounded by neighbors and her own baby daddy to be, and not a single one of them touched her or tried to comfort her from any closer than ten feet away.
“I think he was scared. You were yelling at him pretty good. Understandably so though.” I was trying to stick up for the poor bastard.
She said that when I offered her my hand, she was so grateful and relieved. She said she felt safe.
“Awe. That’s really sweet, Shanika. You just made my whole week. Do I get free egg McMuffins today?”
She laughed, nodded her head and took my hand to lead me to the register. Her hand was soft and warm, with just the right amount of squeezing this time. “She really is going to be a great mom,” I thought again.
They were the best egg mcmuffins ever.