Creepy / Lit / Staff Picks

First Kill

14frog model (1)

This coyote night is cold as ice-feet or kidney baths, he says. I wonder if this is a joke; I am afraid to wonder too much. Wide cheeks and a lousy mustache are enough to produce apprehension. He hands me a beer, he tells me I’m clumsy after I almost drop it on the gravel. He tells me he will drive me west to the end of the desert if I have enough money or meth. He scratches his ears as if gnats are tunneling the subdermal layer trying to climb out to some fresh air. I get in the truck because there is no other vehicle here and the desert is abrupt in its coldness.

We drive for an hour, Johnny Cash trilling through static. He stops on the shoulder around 3 AM. I feel untouchable, teeth clenched, pen knife in pocket with its dull blade. I run my finger along its length and think about him bleeding from the gut. How it won’t be sad like the first hooked fish. He just puts his hand in his shirt pocket and snorts some more crystal. He turns up the radio, now fuzzed-out Abba. I am kinda disappointed. I think about the frogs we caught in ditches when we were five, how we trapped them in tupperware. They were protected from the blades of the mower, but destined to solitude.

Image: Anatomic model of a frog in papier mache and plaster. Made by E. DEYROLLE (1838-1917) 

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