By the next spring’s fall we were married, Shelley and me, and even had a realistic looking baby to tote around by then. It was 2 months old and we still couldn’t decide on a name. We didn’t even have a sex for the kid, since those kind of things could also be chosen back in the days before severe power outages ended all that. Afterwards it was deemed best to select before birth, whilst the child was tucked safe in the womb. Sex Stealers didn’t exist then — hard to imagine now since they seem to be around every street corner, peddling their ware. Apples and bananas, that’s all it is these days. The Orangemen some called them, because that’s what each and every one of us had in common and they couldn’t touch, not even on the navel. That was our saving grace all along, although we didn’t realize it before the Big Change.
We were able to acquire a full time, realistic looking chef as well, although he had nothing to cook at the moment. I made good money at the cotton mill, since I owned it now. Part time owner. Along with Peter Cotton himself, the inventor of the world changing cottonpicker by then. Some say we worked our laborers too hard, but his likewise-wife-by-then Henrietta “Hatti” Wilson wanted it that way, said that made them sweat and glisten to her liking. She often sat outside in disguise on a bench at the front door watching them leave the mill after their shift was over and get in their cars to go home to their mostly indifferent wives. Indifference, she sometimes ponders as they all motor away from her, leaving her alone again. It will eventually destroy the Earth and perhaps its Moon along with it. But maybe at least the Moon can be saved — she’s working on it. Malyshkin. The rebirth of Crabwoo.
“Dear, dear, you’re spacing out again. That’s enough milk for today.” Indeed, as I focused and looked down, the toddler’s navel was white with overflow. Better drain a little out before bedtime or else we’ll be up all night again. Oranges and milk: who knew they were the perfect pairing. If only it would have remained that simple.