The Little Mermaid
It was the little things. The way she was always at the water tray in nursery, her pockets full of stolen pebbles and seashells.
She spent hours watching Ponyo, hands pressed against the screen, puckered mouth blowing spit-bubbles.
When she was quiet, I knew where to find her: sitting naked on a pillow, brushing her hair with a silver comb, my mother’s pearls draped around her neck.
She was happiest on her stomach in the bath, legs kicking, toes flicking, head submerged like there was something only she could see.
And then, one day, we took her to the ocean.
Xavier Lee Martin Jr.’s mother swore that he could unhinge his jaw to finish dinner before the six o’clock news opening theme song. He idolized Lead Anchorman Perry Williamson down to the argyle bowtie. Xavier’s clipped on.
Perry’s tone was electric. “Good evening. In the biggest drug sting in Montgomery County history, police apprehended Xavier Lee Martin, Sr. who smuggled 6,000 pounds of . . .”
Live on air, officers escorted Xavier Sr. and Bruno who helped manage their “produce warehouse.”
The next day, a tieless Junior called his favorite teacher, Miss Tracy, a fucking bitch for the first time.
The Smiths Spice Things Up
by David Henson
“How would you like a pet snake, dear?” pops out of Mr. Smith and the blue one day even though snakes tremble him. Turning from her burners, Mrs. Smith says “Fine” as a shiver slithers up her spine. They surround a deadly coral with glass, bring home Saturday sacks of milk, butter, eggs, toads, and mice. One evening the cage is blank. A broom searches under the sofa, behind drapes, dangles galoshes. Finding nothing, the Smiths crawl into bed, pull the covers to their chins, and stare at each other wild-eyed. Smiling.