I started writing this story on February 2, 2002, and have never finished it. After reading through it as I began to put this site together, I decided to post it here, up to the point where I left off. Then you all can post ideas about what should happen next. I do have a couple of ideas in my head, but I think it would be fun to collaborate. Be sure to comment, and let me know what you think!
A Young Man’s Fancy
Linda A. Wingfield
Begun February 22, 2002
(Copyright 2002-2018, Linda A. Wingfield)
Having had five sons over the last 15 years, Tom knew the drill well. He spoke calmly to his wife as the nurse began to roll her wheelchair down the hall. “I’ll go call Aaron to let him know we never made it to the drugstore and that they should go ahead and eat dinner without us.”
Nadine offered a quick grin. “You’d better hurry. I don’t think Freddy here is going to wait more than a few more minutes to…whooo!” She began breathing in quick, short breaths, as the nurse wheeled the chair through the door of the pleasant room that was part of Underville’s new birthing center.
As the contraction eased, Nadine spared a few moments to mark the difference between this addition to the old brick hospital and the OB ward where she’d given birth to her first five boys. The doctor had told her that with this baby she’d never have to leave the one room. Everything would happen in the same place, and the newest addition to their family could stay right with her for the one night they’d probably be in the hospital before she and Tom took him home to “join the crowd.”
“Okay,” Tom said, as he calmly rejoined her and helped the nurse assist her into the special bed. “Aaron and Brad have everything under control. They’ll feed Danny and Early, and put them to bed. Charlie will be spending the night at your sister’s house. I told Aaron I’d be home just as soon as we get you all settled down here with little Freddy.”
As the nurse hooked up all the electronic monitoring apparatus, Nadine and Tom began to watch their sixth baby’s heartbeat on the screen. Even as the next contraction began then grew in intensity, the little bleep remained strong and steady. Noticing this, they smiled at each other in relief. Their fifth child had arrived three weeks before his due date, as credited by his name. That birth had been a bit worrisome because the umbilical cord had threatened to strangle the babe. The information revealed by the monitor during that labor had not been so comforting. Though all had ended well, little Early’s advent had definitely not been quite as expected.
“No surprises with this little one,” Nadine panted to Tom. “Everything’s going right as scheduled. Freddy is even being born on his right day!”
“I still think it’s wonderful,” replied Tom as he rubbed her back soothingly, “how they do those ultrasounds now. It’s been great to know that our “F” child is another boy. Nobody had to worry about getting the right color of clothes and all, for the baby shower. Plus we still had plenty of stuff that you saved from when the other five were babies.” He smiled, but sighed softly. “Still…it would have been nice to have a little girl around the house, especially since this will probably be our last baby.”
Nadine would have voiced her agreement, but there wasn’t time. “Nurse Johnson, I think you’d better turn on that intercom,” she puffed instead, tapping her on the arm. “I need to push, and if you don’t want to deliver this little boy yourself, Dr. Chadwin had best get on in here!”
Smiling, the nurse obeyed. She’d helped three of the five Garrison boys make their earthly appearance. If Nadine believed she was ready to push, Nurse Johnson wasn’t taking any chances. This veteran mother knew her business!
“Hmmm…” murmured Dr. Chadwin about 20 minutes later. “Since we began doing ultrasounds here at Underville General, we’ve never been wrong about the gender, but…” A sheepish smile spread over his face as he turned and carefully handed the little one to Nurse Johnson to introduce to the seasoned parents. “Frederick is going to be an awfully funny name for this little beauty!
As Tom stood staring wide-eyed at the doctor with dawning understanding, Nadine reached out to touch the newborn’s soft little cheek. “Well! Fancy that!” she breathed in awe.
“I don’t need your help setting it up, Daniel!” The feisty little redhead stomped her foot as the young man kneeling beside her began pulling components out of the large, spot-marked box that had just arrived by delivery truck. “I’ve been working with computers for a long time, now, big brother, and I can do this on my own. Let go of that keyboard!”
Glaring at Danny, she seethed inwardly as he totally ignored her and continued unpacking the carton. She knew it wouldn’t do any good to keep protesting. If she continued, he’d turn around and say something like, “Well, fancy that! She knows how to do it herself,” while shaking his head in pretended awe.
The whole town of Underville knew the story of her birth, and since preschool she’d had to endure the fun others had with the appellation her parents had applied to her from the moment they found out she wasn’t the sixth son they’d been expecting. She understood that her five brothers had been named in alphabetical order, and that she was to have been Freddy. But why, oh why couldn’t they have taken just a few more minutes and come up with something other than Fancy That—her mother’s first exclamation upon realizing her newest baby’s gender?
It didn’t seem to help that Fancy T. Garrison had completed college and a teaching internship, and that she was now officially “Miss Garrison” to the Underville Elementary School’s fifth-grade class. Her five brothers were the least likely to ever let her forget the unusual circumstances of her birth. Once in a while she could get a little sympathy from Early, because of his own name, but never from Aaron, Brad, Charlie, or Danny.
Sighing, Fancy turned around and entered the kitchen of her sunny, above-the-garage apartment that overlooked her parents’ large brick house on the family’s five-acre country plot. She should have learned by now that the only way to handle any of her five large, handsome siblings was to offer them food. Picking up several of the freshly baked cookies that lay on the bright yellow countertop, she began munching one noisily.
“Mmmm! These sure are good,” she enthused as she innocently waved one past Danny’s nostrils. “That new brand of peanut butter Pritchards has been stocking sure makes great…Hey!”
It only took a couple of seconds for Danny to wolf down the offering she held. “There are more on the counter, and a fresh gallon of milk in the fridge, big brother,” she tempted him. As he grinned and rose, heading for the kitchen, Fancy took his place in front of her new computer hutch, and began assembling the machine he’d already stripped of packing materials.
As she’d known he would, once she was actually involved in the project, Danny gave her a big hug and let her get on with it. She’d learned the technique well over the years.
“OK, little sister, “Danny taunted. “Do it yourself. Just don’t get too “fancy” with that there contraption!” Grinning, he waved goodbye, ducking out the door just ahead of the piece of foam packing flying through the air.
Bending to her task, Fancy smiled softly. She sure loved her big brothers, even if they did make it hard for any other young man in the valley to “measure up.”
…and that’s it…
So…what comes next?