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Umbilical

Lisa Beebe

As the conferences grew in popularity, the woman became a celebrity, known the world over for her healing abilities. The woman realized that while she couldn't cure anyone of their mental or physical illnesses, the cord somehow enabled them to go on. After connecting with her, they felt more alive, and more hopeful.

The woman connected with homeless people and world leaders, adults and children. Despite all the good she was doing, a few people got suspicious and started asking questions. Was the woman really helping anyone, or just brainwashing her fans?

"This umbilical thing can't be good," they said, "it feels disgusting and wrong. What if she's spreading some sort of disease?"

Her detractors called on the FDA to investigate, and instead of fighting back, the woman decided to stop everything she was doing. She canceled all of her upcoming conferences. She didn't want to imagine how many medical tests the FDA would run. She wanted no part in it.

She went home, and lounged around the house in midriff shirts, letting the cord dangle. She threw the Spanx away.

When the woman went out to run errands or buy groceries, she wore loose clothing, but strangers often recognized her. They sometimes asked if she still connected with people, or if it was really over.

"Oh, those days are over," she always said. But if the cord twitched beneath her shirt, if it reached toward the stranger, she'd ask if she could give that person a hug. Sometimes those hugs lasted several minutes, and sometimes, beneath shirts, beneath jackets, the cord connected and did its work.

The woman hugged a lot of people. She did a lot of good.

Before she died many years later, the woman asked to be buried without a coffin so that she could connect with the earth. Now, when anyone wants to connect with her, all they have to do is lay face down on the ground, and relax.


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