Flash Fiction 2

The Embryo

Early Tuesday morning a 12-inch embryo glided its way on slime into a Social Security office.
Curved like a half moon with gills inside a cloudy membrane, it took a number and waited.
A few bleary-eyed people glanced up from plastic chairs. A short disheveled woman trailed the
embryo, attached by a flexible membrane. Everyone ignored them.
When its number lit up, the embryo and its mother glided to window 4Q.
“Am here to apply for a social security number,” it gurgled.
“Excuse me?” said the agent.
“Am here for a social security number,” it said, tilting its membrane. The agent didn’t second guess his client. There was never enough time to help everyone.
“Ok, for a new number we’ll need your name, address, phone number, and email. Then your mother and father’s names, your date of birth, city and state of birth, plus government issued ID. Do you have this today?
“Did you say date of birth?”
“Yes. Are you a US citizen?”
“I was conceived in the USA. Am US citizen.”
“But what’s your date of birth?”
“Two months from now.”
“Sorry, we can’t take your application. Your parents should apply after you’re born.”
“I have rights, you know. Soon my carrier here will have no say over me, and neither do you.”
“Dear, you don’t have to put up with this,” said one woman to the embryo’s mother from the waiting room. “I’d pull him back into your belly, if I were you.”
“I’m so worried after he’s born, no programs will favor us. All attention is on embryos, not children,” she said. “After 15 weeks, how will we live?”

—Aliza Zed

—Pavel Danilyuk