by Hannah Gordon
The last boy was born on a Wednesday in December. You know what they say about Wednesday’s children: always full of woe, but he was a cheerful baby. All smiles and soft hair and pink, chubby hands reaching toward light and sound. Of course, no one knew he was the last boy right away. The woe would come later.
Soon every maternity ward was full of warm, pink blankets and swaddled, screaming, baby girls. You wouldn’t believe how they screamed; sometimes it sounded like they were wailing in perfect unison. And there was no blue blanket in sight.
No one could answer why only girls were being born. Was it some environmental effect? Was it due to birth control? Or was it divine intervention?
Men started to be afraid the way we used to be. They didn’t want to be outnumbered. We pitied them — they were a dying breed, after all. Poor things.
The last boy grew up too quickly, his mother would say. One day he was a babbling bundle, the next he was off to kindergarten surrounded by little girls. They chased him on the playground, but it was with a new sort of fervency that worried the teachers. Perhaps the girls had overheard their parents’ whispers at night — of the last boy, and how he’d be in class with little Annabelle or Sarah or Becky. The last boy overheard his parents, too: how they worried for their poor boy, the last one. How it was all too much for a six-year-old.
Then one day he was seven, then eight, then nine, and the years kept coming, but the little boys had stopped, and soon he was a teenager and knew exactly who he was and why it mattered. You had to envy him that. Most people never find this out.
The last boy wasn’t afraid, though. Rather, he was excited. Because someday he would become the last man.
Hannah Gordon is a Detroit-based writer, coffee addict, and amateur baker. She is the managing editor of CHEAP POP. Her work can be found in Ellipsis Zine, Maudlin House, Synaesthesia Magazine, WhiskeyPaper, and more. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her cat and watching cooking competitions or TV shows about vampires. You can follow her on Twitter at @_hannahnicole.