We hope you are safe, healthy, and eating your fruits, whatever that means to you. This week's selection is "Florida Boy," a lovely and unsettling piece of flash fiction by Aleksia Mira Silverman.
We're accepting submissions on the theme of "intimacy" until April 22. All forms of art and writing (up to 1,500 words) are welcome. Send your finished piece as well as a short bio to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Aleksia Mira Silverman
I tell Seth that his iguana is fantastic. Fantastic is Seth’s word. Tonight, “fantastic” has been whispered into my hair as we squeezed towards the bar, as we zigzagged through the backyards of brownstones, as he worked a hand under my skirt in an empty park. Fantastic fantastic fantastic, he chanted as he angled my face into the dusky beam of a streetlamp. I watched his pupils tighten to pinpricks, then jerked us back into the shadows.
My word is, “Okay.” Okay, I yelled over the music when Seth pulled me towards the door. Okay okay okay, I said while I examined the paleness of his thighs against the park bench, the blaze of hair down the center of his stomach. When he held my hand, I wondered if he felt my stillness, the bored regularity of my pulse.
It is the iguana — ancient and massive and olive green and mean-snouted, stalagmite spikes down its thick back — who makes my fingers go shaky with anticipation.
“Can we let the iguana out?” I ask, politely. It lives in a cage the size of a cabinet, underneath a humming heat lamp, surrounded by fake tiki torches. I touch the hooked latch, press a palm to a pane of metal mesh.
Seth tells me that the iguana’s name is Florida Boy. Florida Boy doesn’t leave his cage because he’s a biter.
“That’s too bad,” I say.
“Do you want me?” Seth says into my ear. His hands are at my waist, kneading the inch of skin above my belt. “Do you want me?” he repeats.
I want to see Florida Boy everywhere. Florida Boy in the kitchen sink, mouth hoary with spit. Florida Boy on top of the dresser, long fingers dripping over the edge. Florida Boy raiding the kitchen cabinet, knocking over canned foods.
“Stay here,” Seth says, squeezing my hips.
When I hear the clank of a belt buckle being loosened, I open Florida Boy’s cage. He crawls out and pauses by an Ottoman. His stomach pools by his feet. Is he surprised by the softness of the carpet under his claws? Can he smell my sweat? His mouth is open and his cheeks are watermelon pink, slick and pulsing. Is he hungry?
“Ready?” Seth calls. There is the rushing sound of a bathtub faucet, the crinkle of packaging being discarded. A bath bomb and a pair of sudsy hands are waiting for me. Florida Boy turns in the direction of the noise. The wicked point of his tail grazes my bare toe.
“Come!” Seth says.
If I shift the ashtray filled with gummed disks of carrots, there’s space for me in the cage.
So, I sit under the red pupil of the heat lamp, waiting for Florida Boy to make his move.
About the Author
Aleksia Mira Silverman is a content strategist and freelance writer. She recently graduated from Bowdoin College where she co-founded and edited fiction and creative non-fiction for The Foundationalist. Her work is forthcoming in The Winnow Magazine and Rejection Letters. She can be found in South Florida, sitting on a dock.
Terrace House is a Japanese show that’s a bit like The Real World — minus the explosive sensationalism of American reality TV, plus the slow-burning and satisfying (often quotidian) drama of people living with and dating each other, plus hilarious studio commentators, plus plus plus a ton of extremely attractive Japanese food. This Terrace House food supercut is as comforting to watch (and listen to) as cradling a warm bowl of soup in your hands.