Pro-Choice stories: A fetus walks into a bar by Jonathan Cardew

A fetus walks into a bar

with a Ruger AR-556 5.56 NATO M4 Flat-Top Autoloading Rifle which it purchased from Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore for $549.99 (free shipping).

The cool steel feels amazing tucked under its proto-proto-proto-arm – the matte black oxide finish a quite sexy side feature.

At .25 inches, the fetus is small-fry, and the unsuspecting bar-goers don’t really understand what’s carrying the gun; it’s like the gun is sliding in on a conveyor belt.

“Motherfuckers,” says the fetus, bug-eyes bulging – pinpricks, really, not eyes; not at all. “Taste my cold metal.”

The sounds the fetus forms are only in its head. And its head is a kind of plasma soup.

Jim Parsons, bartender and amateur gun enthusiast, fumbles under the countertop for his Heritage Rough Rider Single-Action Rimfire Revolver. He knows what’s going on. He knows that rifles don’t just slide in. He’s been to enough NRA gun safety classes (one) to understand that it is people that kill people, not guns.

He knocks over glasses in his desperate scramble for the revolver, catching the attention of the fetus.

“Oh fuck,” mouths Jim, as several rounds explode through his torso, tearing into spleen, liver, lung, heart.

The last thing he thinks about: his wife on their porch, in her summer dress, in the sunshine.

The fetus swivels the rifle back into the main bar area.

Like a stressed-out wave, the bar-goers splash over to the left side of the room. They know: this is their time. Every little shitty worry they ever habored melts away. Every Facebook post in which they opined their snivelling dogma: hogwash now. One of them pisses himself; the warm realization of animalhood. Prayers uttered inside teeth.

The fetus surveys the scene. It doesn’t necessarily survey the scene – with the jumble of cells at its disposal, it’s more like it is _____ ______ ______. The Ruger carries an incredible amount of rounds: 30, to be exact. Enough bullets to kill a herd of African elephants. Enough bullets to silence a congress. Enough bullets to stop the hearts of schoolchildren.

What is an elephant?

What is a bullet?

What is a schoolchildren?

These are not questions.

The fetus squeezes the trigger.


A fetus walks into a bar


Jonathan Cardew’s stories appear in Passages North, cream city review, Wigleaf, SmokeLong Quarterly, and many other places. He loathes theocratic fuckwits.


Art Roy Lichtenstein CC4.0 (see link for more details)


This story is part of our Pro-Choice theme. If you are interested in helping support women’s right to autonomy, consider checking out these websites and, if you’re able, maybe even giving to organizations like these:

Alabama’s Yellowhammer Fund
Planned Parenthood in the US
Alliance for Choice in North and South Ireland
Marie Stopes International

and many other pro-choice organizations and charities. We are looking forward to expanding this list as we learn more.