Surgeons think they’re gods of course, so I snort a breakfast of coke before heading in, just to make things even stevens. I enter a room nearly as big as my office and straight away I’m seeing his armpit sweat – this guy will not be taking a knife to me. He has his entourage with him and I’m grateful for a tight ass in nursing uniform to take the edge off a buzz that lost its fun. I’m a great people reader – you can’t be in advertising without this skill – and this guy is freaked out.
“Look are you going to operate or what? I just need this stomach sorting out, keyhole-style, then back to the day job and fitting in my old clothes. What’s the problem here Alan?”
He’s blinking, face all wonky like he’s had a stroke, looking over at Bonny or Christie or Ginger or whoever.
“Mr. Leyland, I have to inform you that you are around twenty-four weeks gestation. That is to say, pregnant. This is not a bariatric issue. How do you wish to proceed with this matter?”
The next bit is blurry; some swearing (me), mild threats of violence (me again), confusion (both of us), apologies (him), all building up to some kind of clammy hysteria (everyone). In the end I call Burt to come over. Alan gets a bottle of whisky out of his top drawer for us and to be fair to him he sniffs up half the remaining charlie like its Vicks Vaporub.
I catch myself rubbing my belly anti-clockwise like that might unlock it. Burt walks in and cools the room back down from hellish hot.
“Right then Leyland, we need to do an analysis of this situation. Look at the options.”
“Me and Burt have business to attend to Alan, can you send nursie out for burgers. And make sure there’s pickles. Lots of the bastards.’
Alan is a goddamn genius. He’s old school; scribbling over some paper with an actual pencil like it’s the middle ages. I pat my pocket for the comfort of its contents, the constant buzzing of emails and texts lets me know I’m the real deal. He’s writing in columns, adding stuff up, working out the best way ahead. I’m going through my own list, who the hell has got me knocked up? Surely the ones I pay are more careful, so probably someone from the bar? Or the office? Selfish cows. Just after a tip, a promotion, not giving a shit what they have landed me with.
Burt pushes the paper towards me.
“Think this answers it, right?”
Costs of childcare, electronic devices and education are on the left. I burp up some bile. On the right – income generation from interviews, publishing rights, blogs and branding. I knock back the last of the whisky then place both hands around my growing gut.