I had pressed a head of lettuce to my cheek and was doing the tango when I noticed a woman down the aisle smiling. I thought I’d take a chance, but when I asked her to dance, her smile drooped like limp celery, and she pushed her cart away from me. I should’ve left it right there, but the lettuce whispered in my ear Don’t give up so I asked her again. This time she grabbed her purse and walked away from her cart. I was standing there thinking how the red peppers in her basket reminded me of the rumba when another woman came up to me. I guess she was the store manager. She was scary as broccoli and asked me if I was bothering the customers. I was feeling the rumba in my bones by then and couldn’t resist. So I asked her to dance.
“Sir, if you don’t leave right now, I’m calling the police.” I didn’t want to go through that again so I went to wait for my whale.
Whales are safe. I avoid sharks. I’ve seen them fight each other. Usually in the intersections. People get hurt. But whales are safe. People have been riding in whales for thousands of years. It’s Biblical. Anyway, I entered my whale and stood next to a woman who was wearing earbuds and swaying back and forth. I started swaying with her, but when she noticed, she flipped me the bird and moved deeper inside the beast.
A few minutes later, I got out of the whale where I always do and hurried to my apartment. I was anxious to get something to eat. I didn’t feel hungry, but my bones were getting too near the surface. The last time that happened, my skeleton stripped me off like old clothes. All I could do was lie in a heap while it danced around the room. Eventually it put me back on. That time. Maybe it wouldn’t the next. So I knew I couldn’t risk getting so skinny again. Besides, I wanted to look my best in case the black-haired woman came back. I had high hopes for her.
I first saw her online. A video about a woman on an island. She was eaten by a giant crocodile. In the video they killed the croc, cut it open and slit its gut. Then they pulled out an arm, then another, then legs, a trunk. It ended with them taking out the woman’s head. They laid the parts together in the sand. The woman looked like she was only sleeping except for a few shredded areas and bite marks. Then they cast a spell. The next thing they showed was the black-haired woman sitting in a chair. She had a funny look on her face. They asked her questions. She mumbled, but I couldn’t understand her.
That night something woke me. It was the black-haired woman, standing at the foot of my bed and glowing where the spell had put her pieces back together. Then she faded away. If she returns, I’m going to ask her to dance with me. I just hope my skeleton doesn’t strip me off and start twirling her around the room while I’m left lying in a heap. I hope with all my heart that doesn’t happen. I haven’t had anyone to dance with in a long time.
David Henson and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years and now reside in Peoria, Illinois. His work has appeared in various journals including Dime Show Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Fiction on the Web, The Fiction Pool, The Eunoia Review, Fictive Dream, and Literally Stories. His website is http://writings217.wordpress.com. His Twitter is @annalou8