Pre-frontal Cortex

This week Quin Browne debuts at cavalcadeofstars.

pre-frontal cortex
By Quin browne

weeks had crawled by.

she’d lie on her bed, in that dark where you find either boogeymen or the answers to your unvoiced questions, with her hands resting on her belly. she slowed her breathing, slowed her thoughts. the baby stirred, no longer rocked internally by her daily activities. slow somersaults shifted it from one side to the other… something–a hand or a foot or a head or an ass–some part pushed upwards, then settled back into the depths of her body with the same languid movement that was used to start the action. there, in the dark, in the pool of her breathing and the clock ticking, she could swear she heard it’s contented sigh slip up through her pores.

trite but true…. she never thought she’d be in this position. it hadn’t been her first time making love, nor her first lover. what gave her a snort of irony lying there (she grasped irony, to her parent’s surprise), was that it was the first time she’d used any form of birth control…the first time she insisted a guy use a condom.
and it broke.

the result of that breakage dwell in that little sac of fluid, trying to get comfortable in smaller and smaller quarters–alice/alex ate the cake, and the room was becoming too tiny. a foot kicked, she poked back… tit for tat.

her parents. her friends. her teachers. her doctor. they all knew. she listened to the advice and lectures and laughter from each of them in different doses, different voices. the pile of adoption/abortion pamphlets had grown in her closet, each giving their version of what should be done, how to deal with this matter. they all begged her to choose them; offering early term, late term, parents who will love this child. they all offered her a way out of wonderland–this was a situation for adults, not 15 year old girls who liked having sex far more than she liked doing algebra homework, deal with it one way or another.

she picked the two best looking brochures, tweedledum and tweedledee, and left a message on the machines…another layer in the waiting game she played. having come to the fork in the road, she took it. neither option repelled nor attracted her. abortion. adoption. adoption. abortion. they were her version of ‘the morning after pill’, far too many mornings after. whomever called first, won.

she slept. the child slept, too… both of them curled on themselves. their dreams fluttered–she saw herself holding a little penguin or a cat or something with all the parts in the wrong place, wondering how she’d change its diaper. the child had dreams of it’s own–of all the universe had told it–knowledge that was erased with the first breath of life. no one understood the reason babies cried with such anger at birth was not the shock of air on their once protected face, but, in sorrow over the loss of the answers to everything.

wrapped in silence, warmth, odd dreams, they heard the phone ring…


their collective future was decided.


it’s best not to ask
By Quin Browne

her father was a real schlemiel. a pest that tended to be perpendicular when anything needed to be done around the house.

she insisted on calling him, ‘pater’. she said it was the only way to give him any respect; to assign him a fancy schmancy name, anything other than ‘dad’. he hated it, which made her use it all the more.

“ma,” she said, as her mother raked up huge piles of leaves, “ma, why did you marry him?”

her mother sighed, using the shovel to shift the leaves from ground into plastic bags, grimacing as she found the remains of a squirrel. “jessica, you need to understand. your father…oh! your father used to be a wonderful man, full of jokes and vigor and energy. he always accepted me for who i was, no questions asked. he loved me, allowed me to be who i am, gave me confidence. then, when bush, sr. was elected, well, he worried the country was going to the dogs, and took to the sofa to mope. later, when george w. was elected, he completely turned inward, giving up on all hope for mankind”

jessica held the black garbage bag open, turning her head from the bits of squirrel that was dumped in it’s depths. she pondered the reasoning behind the one time reason to love, then declared, “ma. that was then. this is now. what are your reasons now?”

stretching out, hand in the small of her back, her mother looked with unfocused eyes on the horizon for a few moments, glanced towards her prized lilac bush hedge.

“he knows where the bodies are buried.” she said, as she went back to her raking. “so, are you still dating that boy you met last month?”


quin browne remains pleasantly flattered her work has been published by people other than herself both online and in 3D books. a nola girl, she’s lived in a great many places, with storage units all over the damn place. until recently, finding herself unable to like a single word enough to made her want to add other words in order to create something, she’d decided she must be dead. there are times it’s a great thing to find out you are wrong–this is one of those times.


About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published thirteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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6 Responses to Pre-frontal Cortex

  1. mdjb says:

    quin browne, how the hell are you? terrific to be reading you again. this is very real sounding, and i like the whoosh ending. sound of a broom sweeping away reality. excellent work as always. wish you’d send something to mudjob, but just as happy to find you here.

  2. Quin Browne says:

    aw, michael!! thanks so very much… i’ve decided life in the little pretend place in my head is much easier to deal with than the 3D world, so, i’m back!

    drop me a line about mudjob–i’d be flattered to contribute.


  3. Gita says:

    Wow, Quin, long time no see! And what a comeback this is! If you never write another sentence, you will forever be exalted for writing “no one understood the reason babies cried with such anger at birth was not the shock of air on their once protected faces, but in sorrow over the loss of the answers to everything.”
    My only question is, when things needed to be done around the house, was father perpendicular or was he horizontal? LOL!

  4. Quin Browne says:

    ah, gita–if i tell you, i’d have to have you removed. 🙂 thanks for the note. glad you liked the sentence–i did, too.

  5. Hard hitting and wonderful.

  6. Quin Browne says:

    Paul–thank you so much.

Comments are closed.