Jill Talbot


Plan B, is that in feminine hygiene, family Planning, pharmacy? How do you find this out without asking?


There are kids in the coffee and tea aisle having an existential sit-down. You’re tempted to sit down with them. You’re tempted to put up a tent and refuse to leave. You’re tempted to crawl into one of the baby pens for sale. Baby pen, is that really what they’re called? How hideous! You’d never considered this before.


But back to the mission. Plan A is to find Plan B. Not with the condoms—why are there so many kinds of condoms? It’s too late for that. Not with the tampons—why are there so many kinds of tampons? You hope it will be time for that. Not with the Hallmark cards. The card is Plan C, or perhaps D, you haven’t got that far yet. This is worse than shopping for a new bra.


It’s with the pregnancy tests. You probably should have gone there first. Luckily, nicotine products are in the same place. Plan B comes in a big blue box, completely unnecessary. It wants to be noticed. It wants to convince you that it’s worth $30. It doesn’t want you to know you’re paying $30 for something the size of a single aspirin tablet. Even e would be cheaper. Plan E is a long way off. Just buy the Plan B. Pick it up, you say to yourself. If you think $30 is too expensive and are too embarrassed it is only further evidence that you need it. Do you want a living thing in that pen? Flash ahead to a screaming infant and everyone in the store thinking—why didn’t she just get Plan B?


You have picked up the big blue box as it seems as safe a time as any. You take it to the pharmacist for purchase, avoiding the long line at the front of the store.


Come back to us, the pharmacist says. She feels sorry for you. You feel sorry for yourself. You take your big blue box and leave the store. You buy a coffee and open the box and swallow the tiny pill at the bottom of the box. It sinks into your stomach. You now have so many hormones in you that you may as well be a cow in a pen.


At least you now don’t have to feel bad about letting him pay for dinner and drinks. Do cats resent being sterilized, do they dream of kittens? Or are they grateful and merely lack the ability to Plan themselves? After all, they don’t get one; they get six, maybe even ten or twelve.


The Allen Saunders quote, life is what happens to us while we are making other plans, suddenly gives you a new meaning. You laugh. People always think that quote is from Lennon, but you know that it isn’t. At least, you Googled it as you sat drinking your $4.95 latte as hormones did their work, fighting off baby pens. So now you know.


You read the box. Seventy-two hours. Forty hours ago, you had dinner. Sometime after that, drinks. You wondered what on earth you were doing and drank until you stopped asking. You didn’t plan on ending up in that hotel. And then there was the blank. And you woke up about thirty hours ago. Either way, the time is right. Plan B wins. At least, until it fails.


You remember your fourth martini, how it looked like there was a fly inside, and you thought, this is a bad sign. You remember the time you dropped a condom on a bus and the driver laughed at you. You remember all the places that give out free condoms in bathrooms.


Before you snuck out you searched for evidence. Found none. You looked in the mirror.


Finally, all plans have failed but this one. Finally, you are free. Life happens even when you aren’t planning. Besides, he was sort of cute, wasn’t he?


Jill Talbot attended Simon Fraser University for psychology before pursing her passion for writing. Jill has appeared in Geist, Rattle, Poetry Is Dead, The Puritan, Matrix, subTerrain, The Tishman Review and is forthcoming in PRISM and The Cardiff Review. Jill won the PRISM Grouse Grind Lit Prize and 3rd place for the Geist Short Long-Distance Contest. She was shortlisted for the Matrix Lit POP Award for fiction and the Malahat Far Horizons Award for poetry. Jill lives on Gabriola Island, BC.

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