I had no idea what I was good at.  I had tried everything.  Arts and crafty things like mug making.  Then I tried sweater knitting for little premie babies down at the local hospital.  I even tried selling underwear at the flea market.  I had a Chinatown connection.  He would give me the garments for nothing.  I’d display ‘em and try to sell ‘em and then whatever I sold, we split the profits.  Nothing was working and I really wanted to move on with my life.  I wanted to eventually build a family because I hadn’t come from much.  So, I thought I could build my future world the way I thought it should be.  But, it’s hard to think about becoming a single mom when you ain’t got two nickels to rub together.  I was getting frustrated.  Real frustrated.  Until, I pulled up at the AutoZone that day…

My headlight had gone out.  Somebody pointed it out to me at the gas station.  He said that if I headed over to the AutoZone, usually one of the guys would put a new one in for me and it would only cost me a couple of dollars.  When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw him.  He was standing behind a table under one of those temporary tents.  People were walking up to him every now and again.  He was signing pictures of himself in front of the AutoZone and giving out free water bottles.  The minute I saw him, I knew.  He was my destiny.  I walked towards the entrance right passed his table.  As I did, I smiled real wide.  I wanted to hook him from the beginning.  No way, no how, was I going to let this one get away.  He nodded his head back at me.  Bingo.

I bought the bulb quickly and asked one of the guys if he could help me stick it in because everything that’s behind the hood of a car confuses me.  Plus, I wanted a “cover”, so I could gawk at him a little more.  The nice man behind the counter walked me outside and got busy under the hood.  I looked out over his bent back towards the tent.

Jon looked hot.  It was nearing 100 degrees, so I could see why.  When the AutoZone man was done, I thanked him and jogged over to the 7-11 to get some cold beverages.  I returned with an iced cappacino for myself and a lemon-lime gatorade for Jon.

“I brought you this,” I said handing it to him over the table.

“Thanks,” he said and nodded again.  He wiped his forehead with an AutoZone towel  and opened the gatorade to take a swig.

“Would you like a signed picture?” he asked.

“Oh, yes.  That would be great.  Can you make it out to Re-Re?  That’s my baby’s name.”

“Re-Re?  Sure,” he replied.

While he was writing, I fished my mind for more small talk to keep the flow going.  I had to think fast.

“You live far from here, dontchya?  I remember hearing that,” I said.

“Yeah, but metroline is pretty good.  So, I’m just going to take the train back to the city.  I like the train.  It gives me a chance to unwind.”

Bingo-rama, I thought.  I had him now.  I had to squelch the Chesire grin from forming between my thighs.  The very thought of him in my net made all four of my limbs tingle.

“But, there ain’t no train outta here on Sundays,” I said.  “It used to be a farm stop and most of the farm folk go to church on Sundays with no need to go into town.  So, they stopped the service not too long ago.”

His faced changed just then.  His red cheeks got redder and and I swear his hair stood up even taller.

“Will you excuse me a second?” he said.

Jon walked away from the table back towards the inventory of water bottles and pictures waiting to be signed.  He flipped open his cellphone and placed a call.  Then he started cussin’ up a storm.  I’m telling you, I hadn’t heard cussin’ like that since my granddaddy accidentally shot himself in the foot.  He closed the phone back up and his shoulders fell.  The man looked defeated.

I tried to tell him I could drive him home, but he wouldn’t have it.  He said he was going to go over to the tavern across from the train station to have a few drinks.  I just couldn’t believe my luck.  Sometimes when you meet your destiny, obstacles just jump out the way to let you pass.  I got Jon good and drunk that night.  I had just got my unemployment check in and I just about spent it all on whiskey and buds.  When the bar was closing, I helped the manager carry Jon upstairs.  I knew the guy well, we had gone to high school together way back when.  He nodded to me, asking me silently if I could take it from here ‘cause he had his wife and kids to get home too.  I nodded back, of course.

That night I mounted Jon.  I rode him like a unicycle over a cobblestone street.  In the morning, when he saw me, he ran out to catch the train.  I checked the sheets to see if there was any extra I could stuff back up inside myself, but thankfully I think I had got it all last night.  My tank was full up.

The doctor was surprised when he saw that I had made up the hospital bed in AutoZone sheets.  I had made myself an AutoZone nightie and an AutoZone onsie for Re-Re.  I wanted to commemorate where this miracle had all started.  The doctor kept yelling, “Push!  Push!”  I did what I was told and I pushed and pushed.  No one tells you just how much having a baby is like shitting.  I tell you, had they let me have a cup of coffee, I woulda shit out that baby in an instant.  Instead, it took ten hours.  Ten hours and my beautiful baby, Reality Gosling, rolled into the world.

Now Jon tried to deny that Reality was his.  At first, I didn’t get her tested because it wasn’t Jon that I cared about, it was Kate.  I had heard through a church group that Kate was having a birthday party for the sextuplets this Saturday.  So, she would be at the house.  I drove up with Reality in my arms.  When I told Kate, her brood of eight had a half sister she looked nonplussed.

I said, “No, really, Miss.  Now it’s Kate plus nine.”

She told me, “Get off my property.”

“C’mon now, don’t be like that.  We family.  Just take one good look,” I said shoving my bundle of Reality right up into her face.

It made her look, just for one quick second.  And her eyes said it.  There was little to deny.  After all, it was clear that Reality was Blasian.  Black and Asian, a mixture sent from the gods.  The security guards came and escorted me and Reality off the property.  I didn’t care.  I had gotten what I came for.  Acknowlegement.

I found an apartment in the town where Kate lived and I raised Reality up until she was school age.  From the time she could sit up, I put her in front of the TV and showed her old episodes of Jon & Kate Plus 8.  I explained to her who her daddy was and who her brothers and sisters were.  So, she knew.  By the time she could talk, she was asking for Jon.

Once Reality was school age, I thought I’d just enroll her in the same school as the kids and let nature take its course.  After all, the other 8 was gonna want to know who their half sister was.  Especially, if she was sitting right there in the same school as them.  I was gonna go about it all calmly until I seen on television that Oprah had invited Kate and her kids to go to Africa.  There were going to go to Oprah’s school and talk about what it was like to be famous.

I was so mad, I was itchy.  I mean there was no mention of Reality.  Surely if Oprah knew that Reality was Jon’s baby, she’d arrange a flight for her.  I was having none of this.  It was time for me and Kate to throw down.  I had seen on the news that she was having a book signing for her new book, “How to Free Up Your Anger By Putting Things in Crates” at the local Books and Nooks.  I grabbed Reality and set off.

I stood in line and when I finally reached the desk, I was so miffed.  Even Kate’s hair looked like it was provoking me.  It was fluffing off her head and jutting out at me like an aggressive mushroom.  I wanted to slice and dice it right there.  Turn her million dollar soccer mom ass into a butch looking hag.  I am not a mean person, unless you make me mad.

When it was my turn, I looked Kate right in the eyes and I said, “What time should Reality be at the airport for the South Africa trip?”

She was studying my face trying to place me, so I just continued.  “I said, what time do you want Reality GOSLING to meet you all at the airport?!  ‘Cause my baby is going.  My baby is not going to miss out.”

Kate’s face went wide with horror and her mouth got all wiggly-looking like when you see heat escape a radiator.  It didn’t matter.  I didn’t care about this bitch no more.

“Take a look at my baby, good and hard.  She is Blasian.  She is Jon’s baby and she is going on the Oprah trip, goddamn it!”

I don’t remember much after that.  My social worker told me that I had to be sedated on the way to prison.  The Goslings ran a paternity test though and, of course, because I ain’t no liar, Reality was Jon’s.  So, now she gets included on things.  She gets to go on the big publicity tours and the rest of the time she spends her days at that camp for the gifted that I never would’ve been able to afford myself.  So, you see, I definitely found my calling.  I’m good at expanding a family.  While I’m in prison, I’m trying to strike up a relationship with this housekeeper.  He’s trying to get his hands on some fresh stuff for me.  I’ve already got the baby name picked out if it all goes right.  I’m gonna call her Fantasy.  And I know I can make Fantasy even better than Reality.  Especially, a beautiful, baby girl named Fantasy Jolie-Pitt.

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