I rolled up your pant leg to look at the fang holes. Tiny red oceans that I wanted to swim through, bathe in.
You said, “You need to suck the venom out. Don’t let it spread through my body. Please.”
I said, “Hold on, let me spit out my gum.”
You said, “Hurry up, I’m dying.”
I said, “You’re really beautiful. I just noticed that. I think, one day, I might marry you.”
You said, “Goddammit, hurry.” Your face was flushed and pale at the same time. I didn’t know that was possible, but what isn’t possible with you?
I said, “Okay, okay hold still.”
I said, “I am going to suck your blood.” You always loved my Count Chocula impression.
I put my mouth over the tiny holes in your leg and began to suck the venom from your blood. I spit the venom into the dirt. I apologized to the dirt. I said, “Dirt, you are too amazing to be filled with venom like this, but my love for her is more than my love for you.”
I sucked and spat for what seemed like an eternity. It seemed exactly like an eternity, an eternity where everything happens at once.
Your leg kept getting bigger. The fang marks began to ooze. I licked the blood and the ooze from your skin. I was like a lion, but I was not a lion. Why shouldn’t I be a lion?
I said, “You’re going to lose your leg. The decay is too much.”
You cried for your leg. You cried because you have had so many beautiful moments with that leg. That leg brought you to the state track finals in high school. You lost, but damn if that wasn’t a close race.
I cried onto the puncture wounds, just in case my tears have magical healing abilities like in a movie I saw once.
But my tears are not magic.
I began to chew at your leg, an inch above the fang marks, to stop the spread of the venom. It was such a beautiful leg, a leg that brought you home to me each night, a leg that worked the gas pedal like some kind of miracle.
I said, “This is a good thing. This is for the best.”
You said, “I agree.”
I continued to chew through meat, through bone, through meat, until the leg was off.
I wrapped your leaking nub in my tee shirt. I picked you up, your nub pointing at the sky like a canon that shoots blood and, oh, you’re so lovely. I carried you to the car. I sang to you. I sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but only the “Glory, glory, hallelujah’s,” You passed out in my arms, but I continued to sing as I marched up the hill toward the car. I put you in the passenger seat and we drove off and I sang and I sang and I sang.
Daniel Bailey lives in Colorado. He wrote a book one time. Another time he petted a dog. And another time he petted another dog. And another time he petted another dog and then the first dog again. And then he petted a cat. And then he continued to pet that same cat for a while. And then he petted a dog. And, and, oh boy, life sure can be something. I don't know what. Just something.