It was such a good story: Teen girls make pregnancy pact.
What?! No!! America's presses didn't exactly screech to a halt, but the media lapped up the story, with reporters descending on tiny Gloucester, Mass., from as far away as Brazil and Poland.
Teens making a pact to get pregnant enjoyed several news cycles not because it was so unbelievable, but because it was, alas, so believable.
And, because it's summer.
And the Democratic primaries are over.
Which is to say, we were due a sensational blockbuster with some sexual sizzle: Teen girls gone wild!
The salacious saga had all the elements we crave in a good yarn. Sex, teens, politics, illegitimacy -- and then some. There was even a homeless sperm donor, presumably seduced by one of the girls in order to join her chums in Labor & Delivery.
Except it wasn't quite true. There are apparently 17 (maybe) pregnant girls in Gloucester High School -- which would be four times the usual pregnancy rate -- but officials now say the pact was post-preggo rather than a conspiracy to become pregnant.
Or was it? As waistlines thicken, so goes the plot.
The original story, broken by Time magazine, was based on comments by the school principal, who said the recent spike in teen pregnancies was the result of a pact among some of the girls. The principal has now been overruled, both by the town's mayor and by the mothers-to-be, some of whom are enjoying a very short date with fame.
Pregnant Lindsey Oliver, 17, who appeared on "Good Morning America" with her baby's father, Andrew Psalidas, 20, said the girls became pregnant by coincidence, after which they agreed to help each other out.
The couple said they hadn't intended to have a child and were simply unlucky. Now, they're just trying to do the right thing. Why all the fuss?
Teenagers getting pregnant is, indeed, less interesting without a conspiracy. How the pact story got started is unclear. The principal is taking a timely vacation and has offered no further comment. Confirming the pregnancies, meanwhile, has proved problematic owing to privacy concerns.
Without the pact, we're merely left with the crude banality of several babies about to be born to children and a few dozen dangling questions unanswered.
Here's one: Where's Dad? Not the "fathers" of these unfortunate pre-borns, but the fathers of these pregnant girls. Where, in other words, is the shotgun?