Story: The Snake-watcher

Tara Orl

Mommy gave me these bracelets for my birthday. See? This one’s got bananas and lemons and this one’s got strawberries and apples and raspberries. I wear them together, like this.

One day, Ally, she rubbed up against them. She thought they were pretty, and she wanted to wear a bracelet too.

So I found bracelets for her. Two bracelets, just like mine. I pretended. They were red and yellow bracelets, like mine. I twisted them around her leg. Nice and tight. And Ally had bracelets like me. But hers were rubber bands. Two pretty girls, with pretty bracelets.


Troy Farlander

I didn’t get to finish my milkshake on our walk this afternoon. A boy perched on the sidewalk was clawing at something in the grass. His arms jiggled as he lugged a pail-sized plastic cup off the ground. Hey Wade, you want a beer?

We’re staying with my brother Wade and his family. Just until our new house is ready. It works out well for them; Wade’s got a broken foot. So we help out.

This kid flipped his cup and the water slapped the grass. He got on his knees and leaned so far over that his nose, which twisted out of his face like a tornado, nearly touched the ground. He had flappy brown hair and wax bean fingers. Hi Alaska. I’ll bet you want to get scratched. There you go. Alaska’s doing great. Taken a real liking to my wife. Follows her around the house. Don’t you, girl? Look at her eyes. Blue as Alaskan glaciers.

Anyway, this kid scoped the ground so hard that he didn’t see me coming. He reminded me of a buzzard preparing to rip into a carcass. Then I saw the target of his water attack: an ant hill.

My milkshake slapped over his head.

Coming, Trinity. Helping my niece build a cage. She and my nephew love the pets I gave them. Wade will make sure they take care of them. Trinity named hers Alp; she said the white patch on his face reminded her of a mountain. And I told her about the Dutch Alps. And Ty named his Troy. I’m flattered. Told him I look great in green, most of the time.

The milkshake jellyfished over the boy’s head, and his throat made a sound like glass getting wiped clean. I said, “Now you know what they feel like.” Then Lucky and Mac lapped up some of the shake.

When people ask me where I got these guys, I tell them the truth: Lucky came to me and led me to the rest of them. It’s complicated.

I’m sure the former owners were upset when they came home to find coral snakes in place of their pets. Of course they weren’t in danger. They were rubber snakes. I’d never put real snakes in such a dangerous environment.

The Astros play the White Sox today. Big rematch. Wade and I will watch the World Cup instead. Brazil vs. France. World Cup. Can you say “World Cup,” birdie? World…Cup.

We’re drinking Harp. Wade says it has a magnificent aftertaste. He’s right.

— END —

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Categories: Fiction

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