The Unspooling

The first time I breached the quantum barrier, I was six months pregnant.

My insurance only covered the cheap prenatal vitamins. All the iron, none of the stool softener—that should have been their motto. Stopped me up like a twisted tube of dry mix cement. 

That’s when I realized I could warp space-time with my hemorrhoids. 

The revelation came as I strained on the toilet. That poo was compressed denser than a neutron star. I blasted myself two days into the future when I finally passed the damn thing.

More revelations followed, like when I ate a microwave burrito and shat myself back to 1975. And returning to my normal time? Piece of cake. Literally, cake. Any kind of cake.

Turns out, time works like a roll of toilet paper. You can unwind the years, tear away a square, reloop back to where you started. Alter history. I began with minor changes, subtle tweaks: an insurance company here, a vitamin manufacturer there. 

Internet conspiracy theorists were the first to notice my pharmaceutical tinkering. They decided I was a monster created by chemtrail fallout and fake viruses. Told you those vaccines were dangerous, they said.

“No, I’m just constipated,” I said.

They didn’t believe me. I unwound more of the time roll.

Religious freaks caught on next. They thought my baby was Jesus. Excuse us, they said, we have to ask: was the child’s conception immaculate? 

I ripped away more squares.

Then they learned my baby is a girl.

Girls can’t be Jesus, the zealots told me.

We had to hide so they wouldn’t burn us.

Now I realize subtle changes will never be enough. The original timestream venerates idiots and boy saviors, but denies laxative because it costs an extra quarter-cent per pill. I have to go back, unspool the roll all the way to the spindly cardboard core. We’ll start over—with an irritable mother in charge this time.

And the best thing about this plan? I can keep trying until I get it right. Pregnancy only lasts nine months, but these goddamn hemorrhoids are gonna last forever.



—Excerpted from The Temporal Gospels, Book One



Myna Chang

Myna Chang’s work has been selected for Best Small Fictions, Fractured Lit,  X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, and The Citron Review, among others. She has won the Lascaux Prize in Creative Nonfiction and the New Millennium Award in Flash Fiction. Read more at or find her on Twitter @MynaChang. Myna recommends Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, April 17, 2022 - 22:16