Premium Baby — Rich Boucher

A lot of people have it bad when they’re born. But I had it very bad. Very worse. And I had it badder than you; I had it a lot very worse than you. When we were younger, my generation and I, when we came out of our mothers, the doctors used to hold us up by gripping our hind feet together, holding us high in the air and smacking us on our asses so hard that we began to breathe. I’m told doctors don’t do that anymore; I’m not sure if this is true, and there’s no way to know for sure. It was different when I was born. Things were different; life was different. The world had only been in full color for maybe a week. Doctors were harsher and meaner then; they smoked while they worked, and these doctors had no fear of us.

When I was born and I exited my mother, the doctor grabbed me by my neck, lifting me up in the air, squeezing his fingers tightly; he drew back with his right arm and punched me across the nose as hard as he could. I only knew of a few million other guys that had that happen to them. What made matters worse in my case was that I was a premium baby. Maybe you don’t know about this, but premium babies are called that because they’re born very, very early, typically nine months earlier than the date of their own conception, and so they are very weak. I was a premium baby and needed help to get out of my mother. They had to give me a little wheelchair that they put inside of her that I could get on and they built a little handicap ramp that came out of my mother that I could use. All of this because I was a premium baby.

But the wheelchair and the handicap ramp wound up not working because they couldn’t unlock the wheels. So what they tried instead with me was to fasten a truck winch to one of the tables in the operating room, and they attached some twine to the winch and wrapped up my feet in the other end of the twine and used the winch to try to pull me out of my mother. But premium babies can be very nervous about seeing light for the first time, and as most of my body was being pulled out of my mother, they told me later on that my little premium baby hands grabbed on to my mother’s nether lips and tried to hold on and not be pulled out all the way. Premium babies have very delicate sensibilities, and so, as one of the stories goes, after the doctor punched me, as soon as I could breathe, I bit him in the mouth. I punched him in the crotch. I boxed his ears. I brandished a sword I found in my mother and challenged him to a duel. There was an incident and the police had to be called.

It was very hard to be a premium baby. It was very difficult, extremely umber and troublesome. Babies who are born premium produce milk for their own mothers, but in my case the milk was soy, and my mother never took to it. She told me it wasn’t delicious, and that I was a bad baby. I was a premium baby and I was a bad one. And now I’m just here, outside, in the cold air of the city, and I’m waiting for the city bus. I’m always waiting for the city bus. All of us who used to be premium babies, we have to wait for the city bus, and we have to wait forever. ✷



Rich BoucherRich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee, and also as a member of the 2014 Albuquerque City Slam Team. Rich’s poems have appeared in Gargoyle, Yellow Chair Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, Menacing Hedge, Lotus-eater, and Cultural Weekly, among others, and he has work in the Write Bloody Publishing superhero anthology MultiVerse, which was released in the Fall of 2014.