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The Ochlaphlorn

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 1st June, 2013

The year was 1939, a man named Joseph Markinson was finally being recognised as an inventor after Gerznik Inc. purchased his newest contraption ‘The Spring Spoon’, a piece of cutlery that was shaped like a coil. Markinson created the spring spoon as a way of making dinner time entertaining as well as appetizing. This invention flew off the shelves as soon as stores began selling them, and this was mainly thanks to some zany magazine adverts. Joseph came home to inform his wife Julia about the great news, and they celebrated with roast dinner.

During their dinner, Joseph and Julia discussed their plans for the future. Julia began remarking, “You know Joe, we could easily take the time to concieve a baby now. We’ll be able to afford everything we need to raise a child.” Joseph grinned at his wife excitedly as he held her hands affectionately. “You’re getting gravy on your sleeves dear,” giggled Julia. Joseph immediately lifted his elbows in embarrassment. While Joseph wiped gravy from his elbows with a cloth, Julia asked, “I want to try for a baby tonight Joseph, straight after dinner.”

Misfortune plagued the Markinson’s attempts to make a baby though, all techniques failed and it got to a point where Julia became concerned. “There has to be a reason why we can’t conceive a child,” said Julia, as she was helping Joseph pile sand bags on the air raid shelter. Joseph dropped a heavy sandbag on his feet and yelped in painful discomfort. He kicked the sandbag and exclaimed, “Bastard bags! What were you on about honey?” as he sat down to take off his socks and check for any damage on his bare feet. Julia repeated herself and Joseph responded by explaining, “It’s fine, we just have to keep trying.”

Joseph and Julia spent the next night having sex in a variety of positions and relied on unorthodox methods. Afterwards, they settled down in bed as Julia smiled and began giggling in excitement. Joseph began rubbing his wife’s stomach affectionately as he whispered, “Hello womb, one day you’ll be the home of a wonderful child. Who knows what kind of person he or she could be?” and he raised his head to Julia’s face to kiss her. Unfortunately, the next test provided the couple with the same outcome that they had been given since the beginning.

After the disappointing result, Julia and Joseph asked their doctor to find an explanation for why this had become consistant for over a year. Tests on Julia and Joseph were made to conclude the reasons for their failures. Dr. Ashay Winfer had a sunken expression on his face on the day that he had to break the news. His wrinkled frown was enough to make Julia and Joseph predict the worst possibility. Dr. Ashay rubbed his bald scalp akwardly, as he struggled to begin a coherant sentence until he felt comfortable enough to explain, “Mr. and Mrs. Markinson, I’m afraid that the root of your troubles lies in Mrs. Markinson’s Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.”

The inventor and his wife looked at each other in astonished confusion. Dr. Ashay began drawing a diagram as he explained the problem with Julia’s ovaries, then concluded, “It appears that Julia developed POS and the disease left behind some tissue damage in her ovary. In other words, you are infertile Mrs. Markinson.” This caused Julia to erupt into tears against Joseph’s chest.

Weeks passed as Julia spent most of her time crying in her rocking chair. Joseph continued to promote his spring spoon product to the country. During air raids, Julia would carve wooden sculptures in the garden shelter and continue to miss her beloved husband while he was away on business. While touring the country with his cutlery invention, the thought of having no son or daughter made him feel rotten. This inspired him to start designing something, an alternative to conventional pregnancy. He drafted up ideas on over six different notebooks and began building the finished design.

Months passed until Joseph returned home and said that he no longer needed to promote his invention and this delighted his wife. However, Joseph had some interesting news to give concerning his next invention. He sat Julia down on the sofa and began explaining his project, “Julia, I have created something that will benefit us both and push my career even further.” Joseph pulled out a golden egg from his pocket, the egg had detailed patterns with the letter “O” scribed on it. Joseph hands the egg to Julia as she inspects it with squinting eyes while Joseph explains, “This is the Ochlaphlorn, an artificial fertilizer. Once planted in a woman’s uterus, this egg will begin to create a mechanical foetus that will develop into a clockwork baby!”

Julia placed the egg firmly on the table and snapped, “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t waste your time making jokes like this, Joe!” Joseph knelt down, held his wife’s hands and eagerly explained, “Honey, this is no joke. We are in the 20th Century, technology has advanced and I have spent the past three months building something that will contribute to mankind’s step forward. I haven’t tested it yet, would you be a loyal wife and accept the role of being a test subject?” Julia let go of her husband’s hands, stood up and walked into the garden. She stood in the garden for some time. Joseph later joined her, as she told him, “This is both scary and exciting” Joseph held her hand in comfort.

The air raid siren suddenly screamed into the neighbourhood as the Markinsons stepped into the shelter and shared an awkward silence. As muffled explosions were heard in the distance, Julia sighed and whispered, “Okay… I’ll do it… test the Ochlaphlorn on me.” Julia held Joseph’s hand as he bared his teeth with a wide smile. After the raid’s explosions faded, the couple went into the house for dinner. While eating at the table, Julia said, “So what will our clockwork baby feed on?” As she cut her steak, Joseph explained, “Well, I’ve designed it to develop in size if it is fed milk.” This excited Julia as she tried harder to slice her stubborn meat. Julia remarked, “The freedom to breastfeed my child, that’s something that I’ll cherish.” This made Joseph smile.

In bed, Julia cuddled up to Joseph as he began to explain. “Tomorrow morning, I’ll sedate you in advance before Dr.Ashay arrives. During sedation, he’ll plant the golden egg inside you and when you wake up, the magic will begin.” This made Julia snuggle her husband in excitement as her toes curled. Dreams of motherhood swept through Julia’s conscious mind as she slept that night. She dreamed of the ideal moments that a mother would enjoy with their child and this warmed Julia’s soul deep down. Joseph, however, had nightmares about being a father, scenarios of failed parenthood clouded his sleep.

The next day, Joseph relied on medical books to clumsily insert the Ochlaphlorn inside his wife’s uterus. He relied on dangerous methods and improvised with tools while she was sedated on a table in the basement. He had lied to his wife about his intentions, yet this did not guilt him enough to stop at any point. Hours later, Julia woke up and complained, “It feels like there’s something burning inside me,” and Joseph stroked his wife’s back while comforting her. “It’s just the Ochlaphlorn’s first effects kicking in dear,” he explained. Days passed, Julia continued to scream in bed, Joseph held her hand while sat at a chair beside the bed as she yelled, “This was a bad idea! I should never agreed to this, you clearly had no idea what you were doing. How did you even get this shit inside me?” and Joseph lowered his head.

Joseph explicated, “I used instructions from some medical novels by Dr. Jack Ardem. I had no choice, no professional doctor would agree to shove a golden egg inside my wife,” and this infuriated Julia as she threw a tantrum on the bed. “You idiot! Who knows what will happen to me now!” she screeched. Days continued to pass, Joe spent most of his time sat in the bedroom corner as Julia rolled about in her bed and shouted, “I had way too much confidence in you Joseph you asshole. I mean, you’re no Da Vinci, all you’ve ever made before was a bouncy spoon! I bet you just filled this stupid egg with rusty coils.” Joseph sighed and detailed, “No dear, I spent the past few months building a complex contraption,” as Julia growled.

The next week, the screaming stopped and while Joseph was washing up, Julia entered the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Joseph observed the smile on his wife’s face, he wasn’t used to seeing her with such a positive expression and this caused him to leave the tap running. “How.. how are you feeling?” asked Joseph, not noticing that the water level was starting to go past it’s limit in the sink. Julia swirled her teaspoon in the mug of coffee as she replied, “Much better, You know? It may be interesting raising the first ever artificial baby. Perhaps my face will become as nationally recognised as yours?” Joseph turned to frantically switch off the tap as he said, “Yes, you will be part of human history.”

Exactly one week later, the pain inside Julia returned as she showed signs of illness. She had a high temperature, constantly coughed and her skin was pale. However, she wasn’t expressing her rage this time, she had no energy to direct any fury towards her husband. Joseph held his wife from behind as she quivered and choked on her own saliva. He whispered, “Just relax, this fever is just a short term result of the Ochlaphlorn’s effects. Any day now, you’ll be able to feel like a real woman and bring life into the world. This life may be synthetic, but it’ll be something created within your own body.” He held his wife closer as she pulled a face of sorrow.

The next day, Joseph woke to an explosive scream that was coming from the bathroom. He rushed out of bed, clumsily slid on his slippers and saw his cold-skinned wife crying in a stiff posture. With a weak voice, Julia said, “It’s gone…” Joseph quizzed her, “What’s gone?…” and Julia raised her nightgown to reveal that her crotch was almost missing. In its place was dripping gangrene and jagged pieces of golden metal. Julia screeched and coughed as she yelled, “Your fucking ridiculous invention has rotted away my vagina. You ruined my body! You promised I’d be a real woman! A real woman! Now look at me!” She collapsed to her knees. Joseph began crying in small doses of tears as his voice whistled, “What… what… what have I done?” Julia lay on the bathroom floor in agony.

Surrendering to the practical and sensible approach, Joseph took his wife to the hospital. Surgeons managed to fix the damage to the best of their abilities but Julia never spoke to Joseph again, not even during court proceedings for divorce. Joseph was not only divorced from his wife but also convicted to prison for 25 years for practicing illegal surgery. He spent most of his time in silence during his imprisonment, and by age 56, Joseph Markinson was finally released. Instead of committing his time to inventing contraptions, Joseph began designing Christmas cards for a large corporation, but he was later fired when the company discovered his past.

After her divorce, Julia became Ms. William and dedicated her life to teaching in public schools. Her secret of lacking any genitals was never revealed, but she found it difficult to urinate, and often developed infections. Soon enough, tragedy struck and her body couldn’t go on anymore. The impact that Joseph’s invention had left Julia William’s body with, caused a huge amount of damage. She passed away a week later, and it angered her family that Joseph remained alive after Julia’s death. At the funeral, Julia’s mother’s commented, “That bastard may be squirming away in a cell, but he still has the freedom to breathe, eat and piss. My baby girl is gone!” as she sobbed into a handkerchief.

This incident was logged into various history books that charted the biggest failings of invention history. One non-fiction novel read, “Joseph Markinson was a selfish and stupid man, he sacrificed his wife’s health for nothing when attempting to test his dangerous invention of a ‘Clockwork Baby’. His only achievement as an inventor was a novelty spoon that was banned in 1936. He is considered an embarrassment to inventors everywhere.” However, other novels slandered Julia William, by remarking on how it was her fault for agreeing to such a hazardous experiment, stating that Julia was just as stupid as her husband.

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