Thursday, September 16, 2010


Based a bit on a conversation I had on Saturday at supper with my mother in law

“I want a boy,” Alex said to his wife, Sarah.

“You know that is not a choice we get to make. All we can do is make an effort to determine when we have him, and even that’s not an exact science.”

“But I read something online the other day, let me do some research.”

Sarah scowled back at him.

“I know you want one of our own, especially now that your sister is having twins, but I would love someone to play catch with, to take fishing.”

“Yeah, but she is having girls, I want a girl too, someone to give all of my old dolls to. I don’t want mom to give all of my stuff to Jenny.”

“Is that what this is about, your jealous about your old toys?”

“No,” she shook her head. “I would be happy either way.”

“You know, so would I.” Alex smiled and took Sarah’s hands in his, bringing them to his lips and kissing the back of each. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

It had taken Alex three days to track down the article he had read about a research facility near Cambridge that was working on a treatment that could influence the sex of a baby. He had hardly seen Sarah in those three days, their schedules at odds, let alone touched her, except for the passing hug and kiss.

It took him another hour of digging around on the Internet to find the phone number for the company. Excitedly, he dialed the phone.

“Hello, Halbert-Smith Labs, how may I help you?” Said a pretty sounding receptionist on the other end.

“Yes, uh, Hello, My name is Alex and I had been reading about the, what was it,” Alex backed up a page on his computer, ”Halsmith treatment that you were developing, and that it was ready for human testing.”

“Ah yes Mr….”

“Oh, Lieson, sorry.”

“Alright Mr. Lieson, is this number a good number to reach you at?”


“Good, I will give James Smith, the doctor in charge of interviewing the potential test subjects, know of your interest. Expect to hear from him in the next day or two.”

“Thank you.” He had hung up the phone, and carried it around with him from room to room of their small apartment. He would have to give up his office in order for them to have a nursery. Maybe he could move his desk into a corner of her office. It was larger, but too far from their bedroom to make a good bedroom for his son.

The next day the phone rang.

“Hello, Alex speaking.”

“Ahh, good, Mr. Leeson is it?”

“Lieson, long I, may I ask who is calling?”

“Where are my manners. Mr. Lieson, my name is James Smith, and I heard that you are interested in my Halsmith treatment.”

“Well, yes, first though, how does it work?”

“Did Sandy not answer your questions already?”

“I forgot to ask them, I’m kind of, uh, nervous about this. My wife does not know I’m looking into this.”

James laughed on the other end of the line. “No worries sir, we get that a lot. Well we here at Halbert-Smith Labs realized that, just like you and I, even our sperm has a genetic makeup, and after some research, we were able to separate the genes that determined the babies gender.”

“Wait, I thought scientists had done this years ago.”

“Oh, they did it in the baby, but we did it in the sperm. Now, if you will let me continue.”


“We then were able to develop a chemical that could kill the sperm that carried the different genes, one for female, and one for male. We then were able to turn this chemical into a liquid that you ingest and, well, the rest, as they say, is history.”

“So I drink this liquid…”

“Actually it is liquid filled pills.”

“Ok, I take these pills, and it kills all the female sperm?”

“Well Mr. Lieson, your sperm aren’t actually male or female.”

“I get it, how do I get into the program?”

“Well sir, that is where the tricky part is, to be guaranteed a slot, we would need a sizable donation, say $10,000.”

“Oh, well, I will have to look into that. Mr. Smith, do you have a number I could reach you at?” Alex jotted down the number on a scrap piece of paper, and wrote James Smith next to it.

“Thank you for your time Mr. Lieson, I hope to hear from you soon.”

Alex smiled, happy in the fact that Sarah had convinced him to keep a separate bank account from him. She had said it was so they could continue to surprise each other at Christmas. She was going to be surprised.

Ten minutes later, after triple checking his bank account, he called James Smith back. “Mr. Smith, it’s Alex Lieson. We spoke a few minutes ago. I really want a son. I am in, who do I make the check out to.”


Digging around on Alex’s computer, Sarah found the article, and the reference to James Smith within, and connected the dots between the James Smith on the piece of paper in front of her, and the one on the screen.

The phone rang twice before it was picked up.

“This is James Smith, how can I help you.”

“Mr. Smith, my name is Sarah Lieson. I believe you spoke to my husband Alex.”

“Ah, yes, I did, what can I do for you Mrs. Lieson?”

“I will pay you double what he paid for a daughter.”


J. A. Platt said...

Wow, they have a lot in savings, he didn't even pause. The twist at the end was great.

I did wonder if Mr. Smith should be Dr. Smith (I wasn't clear if he was an MD or a PhD, and I can't recall if there are different rules for those).

I also like the two of them looking into each other's eyes (saying they'd be happy either way) and lying their pants off.

Jonathan Martin said...

I pictured Mr. Smith as more of a hired Face, just a big investor that now gets to sell the product.

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