The two friends looked at the beautiful baby girl nestled in the basket. They had known Julie since high school and had come immediately when they found out she was calling together her friends to celebrate the birth of her child; they’d never suspected that Julie, forever a world-wanderer and explorer, would settle down and have a baby. They counted the little fingers and toes sticking up and wiggling from beneath the organic cotton, hand-woven blankets and whispered to one another, pondering who the father might be. Julie was a fair-haired girl whose folks had been bred in northern England; they’d been wanderers too and after hiking through most of Canada had settled in Wisconsin, where they’d had Julie. She had inherited their genes for sure and as soon as high school graduation was over, Julie tossed her cap and gown in the back of mom and dad’s Beetle van and took off for parts unknown. She often sent post cards from faraway places like Australia and Taiwan but for the last few years seemed to have developed a passion for remote places. Each of the two friends looking at the baby had received post cards from Pentecost Island as well as New Guinea. The friend on the left leaned over and whispered in the other girl’s ear: That couldn’t possibly be her real name. The second friend nodded in agreement. “Kuru” was embroidered on every stitch of clothing and accoutrement; as a man as brown as dusk entered the room, the two friends both silently thought, Must be a South Pacific name. Wonder if this is the dad. Their attention was focused on the wrong place however, which became apparent only after the cannibal ritual had begun.
Hey gang! It’s good to be back with the folks over at Today’s Author, who gave us today’s prompt (see words in bold in the sweet little ditty above). This story is loosely based on an actual experience. The baby’s name, Kuru, is actually the name of an extremely deadly disease (read about it here). In
stranger-than-fiction real life, I had a student who wanted to name her soon-to-be-born girl child after a name she’d seen on an advertisement placard on a bus; those of us in administration as well as her classmates were able to dissuade her from doing so. Anyway, happy writing!