Fiction

Story: The Snake-watcher

Cora Orl

And then there was our cat Ally. How could he do anything to Ally? When we got her, Tara said, “Mommy, she looks like an alien”—it’s because of her weird blue eyes—and that’s why we call her Ally.

We went to Ally’s little cage. She was usually in there, even when we didn’t lock her in. My Ally, with her three legs. We had one of them removed. A terrible accident. Poor Tara. What a horrible thing for her. I never yelled at her, though. I want to be a good parent. Because my parents weren’t. And I’m not going to put my kids through what I had to go through.

Ally’s cage was closed, and we looked in there. He got her too. He got all our pets. Too much.

And on top of that, to leave those snakes in their cages? Ugly red and yellow and black things. That’s a real sicko.

***

Cal Orl

I’m at Buddy’s watching the ‘Stros game. This guy limps in. Got a cast on his foot. And wearing this White Sox shirt. Guy’s got nerve comin’ into Buddy’s with a damn White Sox shirt on.

Guy asks Bob for a Harp. Bob goes, “What’s a Harp?”

Guy says Harp’s a beer.

Bob says he doesn’t got any Harp.

I turn to the guy next to me, and I go, “Fag beer.”

This guy next to me? He’s got on an old school Astros jersey, from the 80s. With the stripes? Thing’s torn to shit. He says to the Harp guy, “Hey, what’s up with that Harp shit?”

Harp guy goes, “It’s a beer. It has a magnificent aftertaste.”

Astros guy goes, “Harp beer? Man, that’s one step away from Flute beer.” We laughed.

Harp guy goes, “It’s Irish.”

‘Stros guy says, “I thought Irish folks played bagpipes. Why don’t they call it

Bagpipe?” We laughed hard.

Harp says something like, “Well, it seems that you’re highly qualified as a…” Damn, what’s the word? Connysoar, I think. “…qualified as a connysoar of preemilant drinks. Perhaps you can make a recommendation,” he says, “based on your extinguished palate.”

‘Stros throws up his hands. “C’mon buddy. Harp’s a bitch beer. Hey, man,” he says to Bob. “Give this guy a fuckin’ Warsteiner. That’s a beer. German beer. It’s magnificent.” We laughed.

‘Stros guy asks me if I want one, a Warsteiner. I say “Nah, I don’t like that imported shit.” Turns out this guy’s a huge ‘Stros fan, and he watched the game with us. I asked him how his shirt got all torn to shit.

He says, “Son of a bitch dog ripped it up. My wife gets this dog. Thing tears up my jersey. I want to get rid of that bitch—the dog I mean—but she wants to keep the damn thing.”

So I tell him about our old dog, shitting on the carpet and all. And I tell him about that Green Lightning I mixed up. Green Lightning. That’s what I call it. That’ll take care of it.

***

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