Read part 1
I hadn’t set out to become a Posh Preggers. It had all happened so fast. I was at the mall with my best friend Eve when we passed by a Posh Kiosk, one of the few in the area. Kiosks were omnipresent in the poorer areas of the city – girls there were desperate to get pregnant in a bid to get on one of the underage pregnancy shows, earn money for their families, gain a bit a fame. But this was Beverly Hills. Girls here didn’t need to get pregnant to make money or to get on television. Their fathers were probably executives at television networks or movie studios, or attorneys on retainer for networks or movie studios. If they wanted to be famous all they had to do was ask. But what Eve didn’t know, what no one knew but me and my parents, was that my father was up to his ears in debt, he was hanging on to his job at the law firm by a thread, a lay off was probably imminent. They’d never ask me to do this. But I owed them so much.
Eve had already given birth once, a few months ago, right after her 13th birthday. She’d wanted to get on Posh Preggers, but her last name was a barrier. Her mother, Mirabelle, had already been on Posh when she was 13 herself. She’d given birth to Eve on the show, becoming an instant celebrity. But she’d spent her money unwisely, on drugs and extravagant cars, lavish parties, rental houses and hotel rooms she’d trashed. By 18, she was broke, with a five-year-old.
Mirabelle was a black mark on Posh Preggers’ legacy. They didn’t want to be associated with a trashy, recovering drug addict. The producers wanted to be seen as benefactors, blessing underprivileged girls with new, exciting, prosperous lives. So having Eve on the show, a reminder of their one failure, was never going to happen. But Eve had options, as had Mirabelle. Pushing for profit. They both had fair, milky white skin, big sea-blue eyes, thick, golden blond hair and statuesque, naturally thin frames. In short, despite what was going on between their ears, they were genetically blessed. Childless couples would pay top-dollar for their offspring. And California was the only state where selling a baby for profit was legal. Couples came to California from all over the world for the chance to purchase a being, no questions asked, and make him or her their child. So Mirabelle had immediately gotten pregnant when her Posh money had run out. Her blue-eyed, fair-haired male being had sold at auction for a cool million. Mirabelle and Eve had moved out of the tenement building on Skid Row and bought a small house in the same neighborhood as my family. Mirabelle had given birth to four more beings since then, three male (considered the most desirable) and one female, all gorgeous, all blond, all going for seven figures. Mirabelle, nor Eve, would have to work again a day in their lives, which was fortunate for Mirabelle, since she had just turned 26, the age when the fertility of most women in this part of the country began to decline.
There were many conspiracy theories as to why women’s fertility levels had begun to decline so rapidly in the early 2100’s. The most common theory, CEFPs (Chemically Enhanced Food Particles). Every morsel of food that Californians consumed now was manufactured in a lab. Farms were all but obsolete. The factories were protected by the local and federal governments, and despite many attempts to find out what was in their food, they weren’t talking. And the feds couldn’t force them.
Of course, there were women who still attempted to get pregnant the old-fashioned way after the age of 26, but ran the risk of more difficult pregnancies and births, and raising children with deformities and developmental delays. Many women opted to be sterilized at 26 and become a parent through some other method.
Eve didn’t know, or very much care, what was in her food, but she did know that if she wanted to be financially independent from her mother, she had to act fast. Not long after she turned 12, the legal age of consent, she’d gone to a Posh Kiosk and gotten pregnant. I went with her. More out of morbid curiosity than support for my friend. We went behind a black curtain, where there were two rows of white tables, maybe 10 on each side. There were five bored-looking girls in there at the time. One was using her comm/ent (communication and entertainment device) to transmit messages to her friends, the others appeared to know each other and were talking about what movie they were going to see after it was over.
A woman with long, jet black hair streaked with green, a nose piercing, wearing a white tank top and beat up jeans approached Eve, holding a long needle.
“Just a prick,” she assured her. “Like getting your ears pierced.” The genetic material had been donated by California’s elite – scientists, doctors, philosophers, and top-notch athletes. Scientists had combined and manipulated the DNA to create genetically perfect children. Children with high IQ’s and the athletic prowess of Olympians, all the girls had to provide was their beauty to fill in the holes deliberately left blank in the genetic code.
The woman asked Eve to unbutton her jeans. Eve closed her eyes as she gave her a quick injection in her lower abdomen.
“Is that it?” she asked, opening her innocent, wide blue eyes.
“That’s it!” The woman discarded the needle and moved on to the next girl. Eve paid the fee at the front, $50, and left, claiming that she already felt different.
After the procedures, Posh kept track of each girls’ pregnancy. They were required to come in bi-monthly for medical checkups and interviews with technicians and producers. 4-D ultrasounds were done coupled with age progression software to show how being would look once born. DNA tests were gathered to check intelligence, beauty, and athleticism, all before birth. Girls deemed worthy were moved on to the next phase of the audition process – on-camera tests. Some girls were gorgeous in person but just weren’t telegenic or articulate enough to be on television. If they passed that phase, the producers would pick their favorite 20 girls to star on the next installments of the show. Four new 30-minute episodes of Posh ran five nights a week, each featuring a different girl. Ratings for each episode were astronomical. America couldn’t get enough of knocked up teenagers. Each girl’s season lasted 22 episodes, usually starting at the eighth month of pregnancy and running through the first year of the being’s life.
Some girls, like Mirabelle, chose to keep and raise their new beings as their children. Others gave them to their parents. Some sold them. Beings that had appeared on Posh, as you can imagine, sold for outrageous amounts. No matter what they decided, they all became outrageously famous. Appearing on magazine covers, launching acting careers, modeling, writing books. They were America’s sweethearts. Beloved. There were a few girls on some of the other shows who’d made it big. There were tons of copycats. Most of those girls had gotten pregnant the old fashioned way, which was frowned upon in girls our age. Posh girls had to be pristine, or at least give that impression.
The most disturbing copycat show in my opinion was Battle of the Bumps, where hormonal, pregnant teens who disliked each other in real life were all put in the same house to hash out their differences. There were many physical altercations. A fleet of security guards, a birthing room and a full medical team were on stand-by for emergencies. They were all paid well for making fools of themselves in front of the nation, but most were never heard from again. Posh was the pinnacle. The standard all the other shows could never meet.
When Eve didn’t make the cut, instead of trying out for another underage mom-themed show, she went to all of the auction houses, armed with her DNA tests and pictures of her previously sold Aryan half-siblings. A virtual bidding war began on Eve’s fetus months before it was due to be birthed. In the end, her male being didn’t sell for as much as she’d hoped, once it was discovered it’s eyes were brown instead of blue, but she still made six figures, 50% of which went to Posh since they provided a portion of the genetic material. The Posh technician told her that in six months, she could try again.
Eve was a success story. Some girls got pregnant multiple times to audition for the show, and were rejected each time, their beings’ level of beauty or intelligence deemed undesirable. Some had no choice but to return to the poverty-stricken lives they were desperate to escape. Others tried to sell, usually making only a few hundred dollars after Posh took their cut. The beings that didn’t sell and that the mothers didn’t want to keep ended up in private nurseries, which were basically boutiques where potential parents could come everyday between the hours of 9 and 6 to look over the merchandise. Nursery attendants cared for the beings after hours.
Caucasian blue-eyed male beings sold first, of course, then the blue-eyed females, then the green-eyed males, and so on and so forth. Non-Caucasian beings were rare in private nurseries. Posh was usually reluctant to impregnate girls who were “ethnic,” as they called it, since shows featuring ethnic mommies got lower ratings. Brown-skinned beings nearing six months of age, the age where they would be turned over to government-run group homes with little to no hope of finding parents, sometimes were given away free of charge. That’s how my Caucasian parents found me.
My father said I was laying in crib next to the window, five and a half months old, still bald, with gorgeous golden brown skin and huge chocolate drop eyes, wailing and kicking my blanket everywhere. He picked me up, and I immediately quieted. He wiped my tears away and turned to my mother, who was already rubbing my wet cheek. My father was still rising through the ranks at the firm at that time. They would have never been able to afford one of the white, blue-eyed beings anyway. But he is adamant that they fell in love with me at first sight.
“How much?” My father asked the impatient nursery saleswoman, who was already irritated that she wasn’t going to be making much of a commission off my parents.
“Take her, she’s yours,” she said in a huff before turning on her heels. Priceless. My father calls me. They named me Reya. Queen.
I take a long sip of my passion fruit banana smoothie and grab Eve’s arm, dragging her toward the kiosk. “I want to go in.”
She looks at me but says nothing. I know what she’s thinking. Do you really think you’ll make the cut? And if you did, why would you want to?
The brunette at the front desk lights up when she sees Eve. Clearly she doesn’t know who she is, just that she’s white and blond. “Coming in for an impregnation?” She doesn’t acknowledge me at all. Eve shakes her head slowly and looks at me. The woman’s demeanor immediately changes. “ID please.” She holds out her hand. I’m fourteen, over the age of consent. If it had been Eve I know she wouldn’t have asked, just waved her through. I hand her my ID card without complaint. Her eyes brighten again when she reads my address.
“You live in Beverly Hills?”
I nod. I see the wheels in her head turning. Rich girls never auditioned for the show. This could be a bonanza for them. A spoiled pampered princess defying her parents, getting pregnant against their wishes. Young lovers being kept apart. Dramatic arguments. Viewers taking sides. I could be the most famous girl in the country.
“Wait here.” She leaves her desk so quickly the chair is still spinning a full minute after she’s departed. She returns with a man I recognize as the executive producer of Posh. Before he opens his mouth, from the look on his face, I know it. I’m in. And I’m not even preggers.