“Dammit woman, push!” cried the midwife. “And, don’t forget to breathe.”
“I’d remember, if my so-called husband would help me with my Lamaze breathing,” Mary shot back.
Mary lay on her back, her legs unevenly splayed apart for she was not on an even surface, doing her best to remain calm and focused on the task of giving birth in less than optimal circumstances.
“Come on hubby, give your wife the pyramidal countdown she needs to push this baby out!” the midwife ordered.
“Fine, but I don’t get why I have to help out when I’m not even the father,” a man’s voice replied from the shadows.
“Joseph, front and center!” boomed the loud almighty voice of God from above. “I may be the father of this child, but you knew that when you agreed to marry the mother of my child. Now, be the man I know you to be and help Mary bring our baby into the world.”
“Alright, alright,” Joseph grumbled. He slowly got up from his chair in the dark, unlit corner and ambled over to Mary’s side. “All I’m saying is that I’m a little uncomfortable with the situation. You have your three henchmen standing here, staring at Mary’s exposed lady parts and doing nothing, but you expect me to coach her through labour and delivery. Let them coach her through labour and delivery.”
“We’re not doing ‘nothing.’ We’ve come bearing gifts,” the Three Wise Men chimed in unison.
“At least someone brought me a push present or two,” Mary shouted at Joseph. “All you do kvetch and moan.”
“Technically, these gifts are for the baby,” the Three Wise Men advised. “Gifts from his father.”
“You see what I’m saying? Even these guys know that I’m not the proud papa, which is why I don’t have to give you a push present,” Joseph countered. “I didn’t even get you into this mess, your incorporeal baby daddy did. Let him get you gifts.”
The midwife shook her head in disgust while trying to keep Mary and the baby safe, which was no easy feat given that they were surrounded by baying horses, mooing cows, clucking chickens and sheep shit. The risk of infection was high enough without having to contend with the infestation of animal E. Coli surrounding them in the makeshift barn-cum-birthing suite.
“Being hippies and all, I normally wouldn’t complain about bunking in a barn. But, Mr. Sperm Donor, did you ever stop and think that maybe you should have forced one of your rich disciples to open up their palatial homes to us, so that your baby mama wouldn’t give birth in pile of cow dung?” Joseph queried. “You could have threatened them with boils, frogs or even seven years of bad crops, but instead you force Mary to deliver your kid, with hay up her ass, in a room that smells like horse piss.”
“Bare down, Mary. Bare down,” the midwife instructed.
“Who are you to question God’s choices,” the Three Wise Men asked. “If he means for his son to be born in a manger, then it shall be done.”
“I’m sure God’s son would prefer to enter the world in a sterile MRSA-free environment instead of getting a pile of gold and whatever other crap you brought him,” Joseph retorted.
Mary continued to bite down on a knife to cut the pain. The midwife’s head remained buried between Mary’s legs as the baby’s head began to crown.
“That’s it Mary, keep going. I can see the head. You’re doing great,” the midwife cheered. “Now, I’ve got the head out. One more push and you get to meet your baby.”
Joseph remained seated next to Mary, perfunctorily holding her hand, while simultaneously reading the latest gossip scroll with the news of whose marriage was crumbling in Jerusalem.
“Argh!” shrieked Mary.
“Wah!” wailed the baby.
“It’s a boy,” cried the midwife.
“And, his name shall be Jesus,” God announced. “In honour of his father, Joseph.”
The Three Wise Men nodded their heads in reverent adulation of the birth of the Son of God.
“Our Messiah has been born,” the Three Wise Men sang.
Suddenly, Mary lurched forward from her supine position writhing in pain, letting out a blood-curdling scream, shifting focus from cherubic Jesus’ cries.
“What’s going on down there?” asked God.
The Three Wise Men looked at each other blankly, impotent from collaborative confusion, incapable of providing God with an answer. Having resumed reading his idle scuttlebutt, Joseph looked up as Mary let out another violent scream.
“Don’t quote me on this, but I’m not one hundred percent sure that Mary is finished laboring,” the midwife thought aloud.
“But, you already delivered the placenta,” God offered.
“Thank you Mr. OB in the sky, I know that,” the midwife replied, proceeding with her internal examination of Mary’s uterus. Suddenly, all colour drew from the midwife’s face, forcing her to take a deep breath, almost sucking all of the oxygen out of the manger.
“There’s another baby in there,” the midwife whispered.
The Three Wise Men cheered at the proclamation that God was to become a father for a second time. Joseph shrank back into the corner.
“What did you just say?” God asked angrily.
“Mary’s going to have a second baby. My, what potent semen you have, oh omnipotent one,” the midwife advised. “Ok, Mary, time to start pushing again.”
“Blessed be He!” exclaimed the Three Wise Men.
“That’s not possible,” God cried. “I divinely touched Mary once to give birth to one Messiah.”
“Sometimes all you need is one try. Besides which, science has ways of making one turn into two babies,” the midwife explained.
“I invented science. It does what I want it to do. And, I wanted one baby,” God added confusedly.
“Mary push, push, push. Your baby is almost out,” the midwife instructed.
“I’m not that baby’s father,” God bellowed.
“Now look at who’s disclaiming paternity,” Joseph remarked smugly.
Aware of God’s displeasure, the Three Wise Men encircled a sleeping baby Jesus, rationing their gifts to be shared amongst Jesus and his sibling.
“Joseph, you’ve got some explaining to do,” God ordered. “Did you have sex with Mary?”
Joseph said nothing. Mary, too breathless to speak, shot Joseph furtive glances, shaking her head to indicate that he should keep his mouth sealed shut.
“I don’t hear you, Joseph. Did you have sex with Mary?” God demanded to know.
“I have the right to remain silent,” Joseph replied.
“Is that an admission? I can’t believe my ears. You had sex with Mary!” God bellowed.
“Um, well she is my wife,” Joseph replied meekly.
“How could you defile the immaculate conception and birth of my son by getting busy with my holy vessel? I don’t give a damn that she’s your wife,” God shouted.
“Wah!” the second baby cried.
“It’s a boy,” the midwife announced, as Mary passed out.
“What’s his name?” the Three Wise Men asked with trepidation.
“Don’t ask me,” replied God. “I’m not the father.”
© 2014. Naomi Zener. All Rights Reserved.
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