The Chaos of Childbirth

Cash Myron Toklas


We’re drinking whiskey and playing cards. It’s my brother Japetus and me. I’m doing most of the drinking. After all, it’s my wife who’s in the delivery room. We’re expecting Chaos. Uncle Hypnos walks in and takes a seat. Japetus says, “When my wife was pregnant, I went hunting. Now guys feel like they have to sit around the hospital drinking whiskey.” Uncle Hypnos snorts. “When your Aunt Pasithea was expecting,” he says, “I told the doctor to just knock us both out until the whole thing was over.” I laugh, but he isn’t joking. He closes his eyes and falls asleep. Now Grandpa Erebus walks in. Japetus pour him a drink and catches him up on the conversation. Erebus says, “When Grandma Nix was pregnant, we didn’t have anesthesia. Nix just cast a great darkness over the world. When it cleared, I could hear the babies crying.” With that, everything goes dark. A loud cold blast of clanging entropy rocks the room. Hypnos wakes with a start. Even in the darkness, we can tell that Chaos is among us. I struggle to my feet and say, “Great Grandfather Chaos, what was childbirth like in your day?” The entropy clangs again. Chaos says, “In my day, there were no women, no whiskey, no hunting, no darkness, no sleep. I did all the work, and I did it in tohu va-vohu.” The shaking stops. Chaos continues, “All children come from Chaos and are sworn to serve me. When they forget their vows, we call your Uncle Thanatos.” A doctor appears and announces, “It’s a boy.” We let out a whoop and follow the doctor through the birthing center, stumbling in darkness, buffeted by wind. Squinting, I see Rhea, my wife, holding the baby blanketed in wool. She hands the package to me. Chaos shakes again. Chairs fly to the ceiling. Windows smash. “We’ll name him Zeus,” Rhea says. I take the package, stuff it in my mouth, and swallow. A nursemaid darts around the corner, another package in her arms.



Cash Myron Toklas is the pseudonym for an author, poet, and playwright who wishes to remain anonymous. He is new to literary publication, although three of his poems appeared recently in The Piltdown Review. His current project is a reboot of Hesiod’s Theogony from the perspective of Saturn/Kronos. In general, his work explores the lessons that ancient myth can offer for modern life.