A Few Things Ill Considered

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor

Chapter 50 Table of Contents Chapter 52

Chapter 51

Soap, February 20, 2057

Anna came down the hall complaining. “Mommy, my tummy hurts.” There were bubbles coming out of her mouth.

Edie took one look and yelled, “Luc, call an ambulance!”

I came out of the kitchen and saw Anna down on her hands and knees vomitting on the front room floor. There was a trail of liquid down the hall to the bathroom. Following the trail back, I found a shampoo bottle on the bathroom floor. It was about half full.

“Do you know how much was in this?”

“Oh my god!” exclaimed Edie. “I forgot.”

Anna was still on her hands and knees heaving with involuntary contractions.

“Anna did you drink this?” I held the bottle down in front of her.

Between the tears and the heaves, I thought I distinguished an affirmation. Edie was holding Anna up, stroking her back trying to make sure she could breathe and trying to soothe her.

On the back of the bottle it said, “Naturally emetic properties for increased child safety.”

I opened a large front room screen and called the Poison Control Centre.

An older grey-haired woman with an unflappable air responded. “PCC call centre. What is the nature of the emergency?”

“I have a child who has drunk this.”

I held the bottle up for her to see.

The woman looked at me and then glanced down at Edie and Anna on the floor beside me.

“How old is the child?”

“15 months.”

“Does she have any other medical condition?”

“No.”

“Is she currently taking any prescribed medication?”

“No.”

“Read me the product code on the back of the bottle.”

I read the long sequence of numbers beside the barcode and the woman smiled, looking up from a screen.

“It will be messy, but not dangerous,” she said. “Vomitting will persist for about 20 minutes. You should keep a close eye on her, but hospitalization will not be necessary.”

Anna had now quit heaving and was sobbing quietly in her mother’s arms.

I looked back up at the woman and nodded. “Thank you.”

“Feel free to call again should further problems arise.”


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information, see
A Gentle Introduction.

If you want a copy, see
The Deal.

Last modified July 30, 2013

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