When I Was a Fish
by xTx

The lawyer hasn’t answered me and that’s okay but how long do I give him?  A day? Two? A week?  I was surprised he had email because he lives in a place where the roads are all dirt and the cars are ponies, cows and horses.  I imagine his office has a spittoon, his shoes, boots, his bow-tie a bow-tie, mustache ends turned up and waxed into curls, bad teeth a brown parade barricading his tongue.  I will pay him in bounty hunters and cotton.  Maybe he’ll send me some smoke signals.  Maybe he’ll send me a telegram.   Maybe he’ll ask to meet me down by the river.  Maybe he will give me my answers while we fish.  He will assure me that my father’s estate is being handled properly while bites from trout or bass or catfish bend the tip of his pole.  I’ll watch that tip bend with quick jerks.  I’ll watch his mouth move in front of those teeth and I’ll pretend that it’s thirst and not grief that’s making me take extra long pulls from the silver flask full of whiskey the lawyer’s been frowning at since I pulled it out of my satchel.  Unladylike, but it’s hard not to be something you’ve always been.  I lift my skirts up to my knees and let the sun warm my legs.  The lawyer’s head jerks like his pole as he tries not to look.  He tells me my brother will be in charge of everything now.  He says that’s how my dad willed it.  The lawyer’s pole continues to arc convulsively and then it holds into a quivering hook that swings right and then left with the fish it now owns.  I tell him, “You’d better handle that.” He stands and starts to reel it in.  I drink more whiskey and wait to see what’s chosen him.

xTx is a writer living in Southern California. She has been published in places like PANK, Smokelong, Monkeybicycle, Storyglossia, >Kill Author and Wigleaf.   Her new story collection, "Normally Special," is available from Tiny Hardcore Press. She says nothing at www.notimetosayit.com.

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