SHE LEFT HIM WITH THE TALLOW OF THEIR LOVE GONE FLABBY. It was the first line from her mystery novel-in-progress--Augurs Under My Bed. It concerned a forensics expert's suspicions of infidelity, his eventual murder of his jet setter wife by anoxia, the box-tight alibis, the ruse to counter ultra violet light. Feeling dirty, she, the author, (pen name: Garuda Talbek) rose from her desk, left the page at a tab ten spaces from the left margin, and threw on the shower. Closing her eyes, she felt inside her, approximately five spaces from one ovary, larva skipping stages, caterpillars turning to worms, worms turning to class-conscious snakes, snakes turning to jaded warblers. Irretrievable. Her body, as if an inverse Jati Smara, recalling previous inhabitants, her washcloth, evidence of feathers and avarian DNA, her voice, a new monarchy of scales.
from Amazing Animal Facts #2
She woke up with lily pods in her eyes.
He rolled over with a strange hum, thick and low, a sound at the bottom of a river, the kind she imagined him making at boring conferences.
She never expected to fuck her zoology professor, married with 17 snakes, 2 species of wild cat, three cross-bred hamsters, a blue snapping turtle, exotic fish that could live 100 years. So he claimed. He kept them in his basement. His wife lived near a black and white TV set on the unfinished second floor.
When he lectured, she thought he looked directly at her, even when his head was turned. His floating eyes bisected her, such an edible specimen.
Now light on her feet, wrapping her bra around her small breasts, she remembered the timbre of his voice, trailing off. In class, he said that a female cod can lay up to 9 million eggs. To this, she wished to reply, I only get laid by vegetarian boys, stony-eyed, with sickle secrets.
In his private office, he said, I always see you with my eyes closed. She wanted to pee.
In lab, cutting up dead frogs, she thought: How does sex feel if you're wingless? The girl next to her was fat with hairy arms and wore thick glasses. Was her fate sealed in formaldehyde? She dropped a jar containing the egg of a frog's memory.
He coached girls' softball. He researched local batting averages. She struck out. By the fence, he came up behind her. He was saying, when you're in love, you lose some body parts, and re-grow others. But it might take a long time. Or no time at all. She wished to eat him with her vagina or turn him into a mouthful of seafood.
She realized it was just a night, an instinct, something the animals might do better. The hippocampus was not as highly developed. Not completely true. She imagined spotting his wife, a distant face in a crowd, and what stories they might conceal, how they would greet each other's disguised scrutiny. Tiptoeing slowly, she reached for the door. He woke up. Where are you going? he said. He flicked on a light and studied his watch. Turning around, she caught a glimpse of his face, broken in shadow, projections in frontal plane, a flash of zebra in the night.
She remembered how he taught in class that snakes can see from behind their eyelids. And a Jesus Christ Lizard can run across water. She invented her comical version of ontology.
She ran and morphed into something small and breathless, something she once grew out from.
Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey, where he skateboards and falls and rarely gets up. His work has been featured in Prick of the Spindle, Lacuna Journal, Ophelia Street, Rumble, and other places.
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