map We’ll Raise Them For You Wholesale

by Anthony McColgan

Published in Issue No. 270 ~ November, 2019

Like everything else included in having a child, it happens fast. Probably because most people wait twelve weeks to announce, leaving the interested parties about six months to get contracts signed. Ryan found this out the day after he and his wife posted the announcement to their family, friends, and online well-wishers. His inbox filled up with offers faster than he could delete them. After attempts to strengthen his spam filters resulted in minimal relief, Ryan began to read the propositions.


RE: Pay for diapers without having to leave the house!

Mr. Leblanc,

Congratulations on your first child! We’re sure you’re feeling overwhelmed right now with upcoming expenses. The clothes, the hospital bills, and especially diapers! Did you know that diapers can cost you upwards of $3,600 per year! That’s a huge cost to new parents. We at the Michigan branch of the Pavlov Institute of Psychology want to help you with that cost, as well as allow your child to be part of one of the most important studies in human behavior ever embarked upon.

Your participation will take minimal time, and you will be given all the equipment you need free of charge. All we ask is that for a set period of time (TBD), you allow your child to taste chocolate once a day. Once they have tasted the chocolate, we will then give your child a harmless shock from a device similar to a joy buzzer. These sessions will be recorded and automatically uploaded to our researchers via our provided webcam. We will then observe your child’s ability to be conditioned, allowing us to better understand the malleability of the young human mind. For this, you will receive a monthly stipend to cover the cost of your child’s diapers as long as they are involved in the study. You will also be helping many educational institutes better prepare for the classrooms of the future (including your little ones!) 

Act today, as we have a limited number of spots!

Ryan wondered if everyone knew someone who had sold their kid to an institute. It wasn’t socially acceptable, and the experiments always seemed on the verge of becoming outlawed. They always managed to win in court, though, and you’d always see at least one child at any given birthday party with a horrified expression on his face when they brought out the cake. Ryan had a cousin he didn’t see anymore that would have an epileptic fit if he heard Mary Had a Little Lamb. There was probably at least one in every family.


RE: Free Child Care For Up To Three Years!

Mr. Leblanc

We know that you have a lot on your mind right now, and we’re sure one of those things is how you’re going to afford childcare while you and your spouse work to provide your child with the best life you can. More and more, families are becoming dependent on unreliable sources of care or putting pressure on aging family members in order to make ends meet. The Bowlby Institute of Early Childhood development would like to help.

Open seven days a week, The Bowlby Institute offers top of the line free care for your child, while studying the effects of minimal human contact within the first years of development. While your child is here, they will be fed, clothed, bathed, and stimulated all through our top of the line automated systems while our experts observe the effects of lack of human contact for extended periods. These studies are integral to understanding the development of children in a time of automation and latchkey adolescents.

Sign up today, as spaces fill up quickly.

Ryan felt a hand on his shoulder as he closed the email. He turned around to see his wife had come home from work early.

“Hey,” he said, standing and kissing her. “Not feeling good?”

She nodded. She had been having a hard time with the last trimester.

“Got sick at work again,” she said, moving to a rocking chair her friend’s mother had given them at the baby shower. “I thought it would pass, but I’m useless on the sales floor if I look like I’m about to puke.”

She closed her eyes and started rocking slowly. She was due in five weeks.

“Do you have enough time off left for when the baby comes?” Ryan asked.

His wife shrugged to signify her feelings of ‘Even if I don’t, what can you do?’ and continued rocking. Ryan watched her a moment and went back to sorting through his email.


RE: Send your child to college for free

Mr. Leblanc

Every year it seems the price of college increases, and every year the job market in America makes it more evident that a college education is needed. With your new child on the way, we at the Tabula Rasa Institute are sure that you’ve looked into several savings plans with frustrating results. We would like to offer you a way out.

We are attempting to understand the very beginning of the human mind’s development. We seek to understand what parts of ourselves are inherent in all humans and what we learn through our environment. To do this, we need newborn children to undergo an experiment that will encompass the first three years of their life.

Within the three year period, your child will be given the best of care. All immunizations, nutritional needs, and medical concerns will be provided by our expert team, and your child will be closely monitored for abnormalities. They will also be placed in a sensory deprivation room for the duration of their stay. They will be fed intravenously, kept in the best of health, but denied most sensation. After the initial period, they will be rehabilitated by our childcare experts. Through this process, we will see what functions your child retrieves naturally and which were stunted due to their isolation. Full rehabilitation is guaranteed, and a voucher for a four-year undergraduate program of your choice will be paid for when your child comes of age.

While these may seem like extreme measures, the research is vital in our quest to answer the oldest questions of why humanity acts the way it does. The guarantee that you can afford the higher education of your child’s choosing means you are helping them secure their future. Do what is right! Apply today! Spaces are limited! 

Ryan doubted spaces were limited. At least he greatly hoped they weren’t. His sudden feeling of nausea reminded him that he should check on his wife.

“Feeling any better?” he asked, kneeling down beside the rocking chair and putting his hand on her stomach to feel the shape.

“Not much,” she said, smiling with a sardonic look on her face. Ryan let her put her head back as he waited to see if he could feel a kick from the baby. He imagined what it must be like to be born. To go from total darkness and be thrust into a world of light and sensation. He wondered if you took a baby straight from the womb and put them in a dark room with no sound for three years if they might be grateful.

Not that he was seriously considering it.

Though he was vaguely considering the joy buzzer.


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Anthony McColgan is a science fiction writer and English teacher living in central Massachusetts. His previous publications include The Garden Gnomes story blog for the short story Mars in the Holiday Season (9/14), The New Accelerator the short story The Ambassadors (5/15), and Five2One Magazine for the micro-fiction F.A.Q (7/15).