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Flash Fiction

by Ariel

My favorite coffee mug has a rim of maybe mold around it, but I shrug and select my second-favorite, a bright yellow bucket with art deco owls on the sides.  And since it is four o’clock at night (morning in my opinion only occurs after you wake up again, hence it is still night for me), I ignore the Colombian fruit-bean roast and opt for some cocoa instead.  HOLIDAY SPECIAL FLAVOR boasts the box I pull down.  It has a picture of a fox drinking latte-colored foam on the side.  I take a packet of this and a packet of the usual dollar-store coffee (complete with dehydrated marshmallows) and mix them together in the cup.

People say hot chocolate is better with milk and I suppose it is; but I’m a week and a half away from a rent I can’t afford anymore so I’m using tap water instead.  In the microwave for 2:35, and six minutes later I’m trying to mix the two cocoas together.  I guess cocoa powder is a lot like oils—they refuse to mix well.  The dollar store powder sits on top of the richer holiday cash grab like the inferior product it is, and I grab a soup spoon and attempt some furious stirring.

Thirty seconds in I watch the creamy foam transform into a beige galaxy, complete with mallow clusters of tiny squishy stars.

***

The reptile moved slowly, delicately placing his clawed feet against my chest, rooting his head about in a most peculiar fashion that cannot be described with words, but looks like a small child seeking comfort.  Satisfied with his position, he tucked his arrow-shaped head underneath my chin, and I lifted my head up slightly to allow him more room.

We have an agreement, he and I.  He can sleep as long as he desires on my person, but when I go to sleep, he goes in his own room, the heated vivarium on the opposite side of the room.  My hands bear the battle scars of the conversations we’ve had about this topic, as he is as stubborn as I am and demands he gets enough time to fully fall asleep before I rudely move him.

He’s a clever creature, that I can say.  Probably average for the species, but no one realizes that reptiles are scary smart about things.  He understands time roughly, knowing when I wake up, when I go to sleep, what time he gets fed.  What time I go to class, then return, and what times he should be playful and run about the tank.

My jawline doesn’t seem to be cutting it for him today, as he instead crawls up and over my collarbone, resting his head on the small plane of flesh where the neck and shoulder connect.  They wiggle when they go to sleep, you see.  It’s to make sure they get down in the sand easier and retain some heat until the morning.

He’s never seen the savannah, but his body still knows what to do.

***

I’m having my daily identity crisis as my eyes unfocus from the white and navy blue screen that I should go back to boycotting.  He clings to my shoulder, eying a piece of my loose hair.  It probably smells like the herbs he likes to eat, as I just washed my hair this morning and my shampoo is as much of a hippie as the person I was two personalities ago.

Speaking of her, a photo of myself and another body catches my interest on the screen.  Someone I remember from my first personality reposted it, stating that they miss the simple days where things made sense.

Someone who comments on it asks who I am.  No one knows the answer and I am unsure if this is what I wanted my legacy to be, relegated to images on a website where people struggle to remember if they have ‘friended’ you in the real world or not.

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