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miming chorus bearing brown paper sacks filled with sandwiches--huge Poor Boys from some ecstasy delicatessen--the picture: Joan about to give birth on the kitchen floor, one dim shaded desk lamp by her feet, and a dozen people encircling her eating sandwiches and smoking weed, faces all in shadow of the only lamp.

The contractions have begun to quicken and Joany is saying over and over again softly, "Come on little Baby . . . come on"--a little song over and over again directed inside as if by this time the intelligence of the as yet enwombed Baby was beginning to be focused on its birthing passage by the soft speech of Joany's song--"Come on Baby . . . come on little Baby . . . come on."

The labor was becoming long, more than 24 hours now and the concentration of Joan's song had drawn the muscle lines tensed above her eyes pointing to a spot between them, slightly above them, and directly within.

John Doss had a slightly worried look as his hands felt over her belly. He seemed to be trying to gauge the position. Reaching within he felt for the baby's head which seemed to be turned in a wrong direction. The contractions were now great visible waves that moved down across Joan's belly and with each one her tightened face appeared to have the full focused power of everything behind it pouring down through her body toward the slow and heavy workings and waves of force that carried the baby in its passage.

"I need an instrument," he said mentioning some sort of birthing clamp. "I have to turn the baby's head." He turned to someone there and told them to go across the street to the hospital and get an instrument and an intern.

Meanwhile John begins instructing Billy in how he, Billy, is going to receive his baby. Beneath the belly skin you can see the baby making its movements. Around Joan about a dozen Diggers and Digger ladies looking like all the accumulated faces of the Universe, the Divines of Ever pouring from each eye.

Like no time there is a bang on the door and two white coated hospital guys come in stiff and important with shiny metal in their hands, take one look at the scene and decide it won't do for them to have anything to do with it. John Doss goes to meet them and they start backing off real quick. John grabs one of the guys by the lapels and starts to jerk the doctor's jacket off and gets it down to around the guy's elbows.

"Take off that coat and get to work in here, for Christ's sake. Be a doctor for once in your life!" he says to the guy.

"Take it easy, John, take it easy," the other guy tries to soothe. "This can't be done here . . . it's not sterile. She must be moved to the hospital. "

About this time I start to ride up. "She isn't going anywhere," I says leaning across Joan at the guy. "Cool it," Bill says from the floor. They [end page 415]


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