Monthly Archives: August 2016

Pogo, Pt. 3

Rosa frowned. The thought had slithered into her mind suddenly and unwanted, a shadow skulking out of the darkness. It weighed on her like a demon perched on her chest, a recurring nightmare.

It’d been popping up more and more of late.

She shook her head, as if the thought were something she could physically dislodge. Forget the “surprise.” Think about something positive. “Anyway. Hey, babe! Didn’t you have a follow-up interview today? How’d that go?”

Steve’s grin grew wider, but there was no joy in it. That was a bad sign, something he did when he knew he was about to disappoint her but was trying to be nonchalant about it in hopes of allaying her concerns and fears.

Or avoiding a lecture.

Here it comes. “Oh, I don’t think I’m going to get it. But it’s okay, y’know? There will be other–”

“I didn’t go.”

Her brains couldn’t process the words in any meaningful way. They were just noise. And then suddenly, painfully they snapped into focus. “You what?”

Steve flinched. The grin slipped away from bravado and back into sheepishness. He wouldn’t hold her eyes, suddenly a shamed little puppy. “I didn’t go. So, like, I thought about it, and I decided, y’know, that isn’t the right environment for me. Like, too corporate. I wouldn’t be happy there. So I’m going to keep looking.”

Silence hung heavy in the air between them. Rosa was the first to break it. “We need money,” she said. Her voice was flat. It wasn’t angry, it wasn’t an accusation. It was a simple statement of fact.

Steve recoiled like he’d been slapped. He became a kicked dog.

I don’t want to date a dog.


Pogo, Pt. 2

The creature’s tongue slithered out of its mouth and lazily dragged across its eyes, first one, then the other. Rosa wrinkled up her nose. Her mouth drew back in a look of distaste. She looked over her shoulder at Steve, was going to continue voicing her displeasure, but he gave her the Look. Watery eyed and wounded, like a kid who’d just been yelled at by his mother. “You don’t like him,” Steve said. It wasn’t a question, and it wasn’t wrong.

The smile came instantly, effortlessly. Twenty-six years she’d been smiling like that, always the first to try and defuse tension, even when she wasn’t the one in the wrong. “Babe, I like him! I’m just… You know me. I’m more of a dog girl.” Her words sounded hollow to her, insincere. She imagined they sounded insincere to Steve, too. He had to be able to hear it, didn’t he? How could he not?

He smiled. “I know. And we’ll get a dog some day! I just this would be neat, y’know?” The smile looked genuine. All of his smiles always did. And why shouldn’t it be? He’d gotten his way. All he had to do was look a little sad, a little heartbroken, and he’d gotten his way, just like every time before.

They needed to break up. She needed to break up with him.

Pogo, Pt. 1

Well, that sure was something akin to an unannounced vacation. Anyway, I’m back! Let’s have a horror story about herpetology, shall we?

It was an unnatural thing. Limbs ending in spindly fingers and toes tipped with claws. A body like leather studded with thorns. It’s mouth as wide as it’s head, like an open abyss you could fall into and then be no more. And the eyes. Beady and soulless and somehow guileless, but they tracked you as you moved. The thing wasn’t stupid; it simply thought in a way too alien to fathom.

“Jesus Christ,” Rosa said. “Why the Hell did you buy this thing?”

Steve grinned, his teeth a bright in shining white in the warm light of their bedroom. “Isn’t he the best? I’m going to call him Pogo!”

“Babe, why did you buy a big-ass lizard?”

Steve’s grin softened into a shy smile. With his messy brown hair and his hazel eyes, he looked younger than his years. Not that either of them were very old, but sometimes Steve still seemed like a boy. “I don’t know. I thought he looked cool. My older brother used to have a leopard gecko when we were kids. This kind of reminded me of David.” The quiet smile on Steve’s face turned into a smirk. “Except Pogo’s way cooler, obviously. That leopard gecko just had spots; Pogo’s got spikes.”

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