Wolf in Sheep's Clothing / by Courtney Mehlhaff

About this time last year, I was in Canada visiting some friends. On the last day of my trip, I had to get up around 5:00 a.m. to catch the train. This would have been hard enough for a late sleeper like me, but add the fact that I’d been up most of the night with terrible cramps, and it was a very rough morning indeed.

Out of sheer desperation for some pain relief, I stopped at a Shell station about halfway through my rainy slog toward the Amtrak depot. No sooner did the guy open the door for business than I made a beeline for the lone bottle of ibuprofen on the shelf.

I was haggard from no sleep and Lamaze breathing through gritted teeth, plus dripping wet. So I must have looked like death warmed over when I slammed a water and medication onto the counter.

The sales clerk, a dude in his early 20s, gave me a knowing stare.

“Wild weekend?”

I may have glared back at him. There’s no way to be sure. I wanted to say, “No, buddy. It just feels like my uterus is being ripped apart by wolves. Now give me the pills.”

But if he actually thought I might have indulged in some bacchanalian craziness instead of touring art galleries, taking ferry rides, and eating ice cream . . . well, who was I to disabuse him of this much more interesting fantasy?

“Sure,” I said, fishing out my remaining Canadian coins. “Thanks.”

And I walked away feeling sort of unjustifiably badass, courtesy of angry ovaries. Work it to your advantage, ladies. Work it.