White guilt is a funny thing. On the one hand, it can inspire you to altruistic heights as you plant bulbs in the community garden, tutor bilingual elementary-school children or, at the very least, tone down your hurling of racial slurs. But on the other hand, it can be used by conniving fuckers who recognize that there's a real opportunity for conning rubes overcome by it. And in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood like Baker, where I live, a faux-pregnant woman is exploiting white guilt with aplomb.
I got took by a knocked-up crook.
Last week I was sitting in my living room at about 2 a.m., winding down from a night out that involved a few adult beverages. I wasn't shitfaced, mind you, but was feeling warm and fuzzy as I ate a late-night snack. And then the doorbell rang — not once, not twice, but thrice, in rapid-fire fashion. I peered out the window and saw a large Hispanic woman who appeared to be quite distressed. I opened the door.
"Oh, thank God!" the woman exploded. "You're the third house I've tried! I'm so sorry to bother you, but your light was on, and I don't know what else to do!"
I didn't know what else to do, either, so I sat there and took it in as she continued.
"I'm going into labor!" she screamed. "I need help!"
The woman, who said her name was Ana, told me that her water had not yet broken and that in her harried, distressed state, all she really wanted was to be with her mother. She'd had four kids before and knew what she was doing; could I help her get a cab? She was breathing heavy and holding her stomach, so I gave her a twenty and watched her call a cab.
Renewed panic: "They're not picking up!" she cried. "Can you give me a ride to my mom's house?"
"Where does your mother live?" I asked.
"65th and Pecos," she said.
Since I'd had a few drinks, I told her that I didn't think I should drive her that far. So she begged me to take her to her daughter's place, which was much closer. And into the car we went, What's So Funny nobly helping his less fortunate neighbor while Ana, poor Ana, wheezed and shared the baby names she'd thought of. I let her out at Ninth and Mariposa and waited while she waddled around the housing project and then emerged several minutes later, daughterless. Off we went again, this time to Sixth and Fox, where Ana had ascertained her daughter might be. Again I let her out, and she went into a house and flashed a porch light several times, the signal we'd arranged so she could assure me she was fine.
And I went home.
When I told this strange tale to my mother the next day, I expected her to pat her fine boy on the head and remark how well she had raised me. Instead, she told me that the same thing had happened the year before to my sister, who lives a block away from me. So I called my sister to ask about it, and she told me the exact story, right down to 65th and Pecos.
"Did you ask to take her to the hospital and she refused?" my sister inquired.
Indeed I had.
"Same woman," my sister said. And then she told me that she'd met another Baker resident who'd had the same experience!
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Admittedly, this scheme is pretty goddamn clever, and at least "Ana" is willing to work for her scams. But still, it's low to abuse the basic human instinct that wants to aid a pregnant woman — especially for just twenty bones and a ten-block ride.
When I shared this saga with a friend, he pointed out that there are no houses at 65th and Pecos. In fact, he said, there's nothing at that intersection — so we began speculating what might have happened had I driven Ana there. Might she have had a crew waiting to jump my ass? To take my wallet, take my car and leave me to ponder my stupidity by Clear fucking Creek?
When I realized how the night could have gone, I wrote Ana a note informing her that I was on to her and asking her to contact What's So Funny to explain herself, and then taped it to a prominent location near the projects on Mariposa. And now I'm writing this column to warn the entire city of this fecund scam. If a woman shows up on your porch at 2 a.m. claiming she's pregnant, make her show you her vagina. If it's dilated, help her out. If it's not, kick that bitch in the stomach.
And tell her What's So Funny sent ya.