I feel music. Grand rockin'reggae. Pump'pumping my heart. And hers. Eight moons. Am done. Toothpaste in the squeeze. Have retained memories. Acquaintances. Management skillset. Limbo. Now moving head down. Torpedo in the tube, am I. Moving forward, will implement plan. Will rectify. When I know event. When done being born.
Without a whole lot to do these eight months while my cells multiplied, differentiated, developed, when not reviewing my former life until the bus for possible wrongs or oversights done to others I have whiled away the waiting to be born remembering favourite memories. Stupidly fast internet. Kissing Carrie-Anne, under her porch, and her mom calling her in for supper. Also, sci-fi movies. From Avatar to Zardoz.
I have daydreamed several of my sci-fi faves. Blew up Tatooine, and changed Luke's fate, for his own good. Rallied humankind after accidentally tangling John Connor in terminal trouble. Carried off Patricia Neal in my giant robot arms, left Michael Rennie for dead, and bickering Earth to figure things out for itself.
Have even dreamed sci-fi dreams. There's the one I'm having now, just minutes from me being born. A recurring kinda'nightmare, probably based on some doomed-spaceship-and-blackhole epic I might have found at the bottom of the five-buck bargain DVD bin. And John Hurt in it. If he is John Hurt, he's a matter-of-fact John Hurt, as if ending up in a black hole is just one of those bad ends that might happen to a work day too near a black hole.
"You don't have to be fixing...anything. Still. It's up to you. How you want to...go out." He does sound like John Hurt, over the headset. He's piping Bob Marley's Jammin' for the 'nth time on all frequencies.
Am...the space opera extra, again. Now. As am about to be born. It's...troubling. I shouldn't be dreaming at all.
As always, the ship is not getting away. Burned out its engines in trying. They're all going to die. Captain's in her chair, where she wants to be. They're all where they want to be, at duty stations, or in their quarters. John's been playing his Bob Marley. It's established, he is especially stuck on Jammin'. And he's set on going-out in his chair spotting safety for the extra who is choosing to die outside, doing a pointless fix on the coms array.
"Just damn'well try it." The extra lost his buddy, earlier, at the start of the climax scene. He blames himself.
"Pointless. Really. There. No joy."
"Didn't ask you to spot me. Leave me be."
"Don't be an ass. Not now. Can't very well leave you to die alone. Sad thing, to die alone. Would seem so."
It's dazzling out. All the stars are falling together. He's no hero. He doesn't get the girl. He's only an extra. He fixes things. A hardhat fixer. Inside a gumdrop orange hardsuit with manipulators for hands and feet.
Through shielded visor, through the glare, he sees the old hull under him trembling, as if the ship knows she's a goner. Suit's low-oh-two alarm chirps. He glances. Gigantic gas world by his shoulder. Looks like a kid stirred all his favourite watercolours, tipped them in the clouds. This world the captain had dragged them here to observe is streaming away its atmosphere into white space. White like an empty canvas. It's terrible, and beautiful, together.
"Can't. Breathe." Am hearing steelpans, down an airy tunnel, jangling merrily.
"Zero oh-two. Didn't wanna say. Umbilical's round your neck. They're cutting it, no worries."
Am out. Upside down. Gripped about my legs. My butt's popped hard. I see stars. Can breathe. And cuss the heavy-handed doc. Doesn't sound like they understand me, because I hear laughter ring around the room.
Who am I? Mom said I was an easy birth. I was early at eight months, like I couldn't wait to be born. There were no complications. I wasn't almost strangled by my own umbilical cord.
Newborn eyes aren't much use. It's bright. Cold. Can't feel mom's heart drumming through me now. Am trembling.
Had my plan laid out and clear. Be born. Get on with growing up and at some point in my future figure out whatever it is I'm supposed to rectify.
But what if I'm not me? Not former me? Am not big on complications.
Giants' hands, warm in sticky surgical gloves, overhandle me, splay me out, towel me, swaddle me, like the catch of the day. It's the moment I've been waiting for. I'm gurgling loudly enough, and understood.
"All right, all right." The nurse. She picks me up. I smell soap on her. "You know who you want, don't you?"
I do. Yes. And hurry.
She sets me down on rough sheeting over a body warm underneath. Big arms close around. Her heart, again, drums under my ear.
I just need to see her. To I.D. her. To know if this woman who just gave birth to me is my mom, from before. Or my mom, this time. These newborn eyes are a pain to focus. My head wobbling isn't helping.
"Oh he's perfect, isn't he perfect?" She's breathy. I know her voice. Know her huge smile, her face framed in dark falling hair.
Oh Yeah! Hi, Mom.
"Welcome to planet Earth, Snoopy my boy." Dad. A lot of coffee on his breath.
"Ohh he heard you. You can't call him that." Mom's laughing, bumping me up and down on her chest.
"Snoopy was good enough for Apollo 10." He's chuckling like a drunk. Almost don't recognize Dad. He's grinning big as a half-moon, in those black-rimmed specs I remember from snapshots when he was young.
Dad. And mom. They're both so young.
Mom kisses the top of my head, like she has always done. "Who're you going to be, little man, hmm?"
Mister Go-Getter. Wait n'see, mom.