Up for Next
Brandi Wells

When she's hungry she never orders her own food or makes a sandwich. Doesn't eat his food either. Instead, she picks at the jagged skin around his nails, chewing down the uneven parts, scraping her teeth across his cuticles until they are torn and saggy.

So he paints his nails with clear polish, lets them dry and then soaks his hands in a bowl of vinegar.

"I like it," she tells him. "Reminds me of pickles."

She scrapes all the polish off with her teeth and spits it onto the table.

"Stuff's like plastic," she says, jerking his hand to her face and digging between her teeth with his fingernail.

So he empties dozens of bottles of clear nail polish into a bowl and dunks each of his hands in for a few seconds, swishing them around so they'll be fully coated. He holds them over the bowl and lets them drip dry.

She tells him she's cold, but he only shrugs and puts his hands in his pockets.

"You know that Jack London story?" she asks.

He shakes his head.

"Where the guy wants to cut his dog open and jam his hands inside for warmth?"

He thinks of his own shiny, lacquered hands, tries to flex his fingers, but can't seem to move them.

"I could cut you open," she says.

Brandi Wells has fiction in or forthcoming from Hobart, No Colony, Monkeybicycle, No Posit, Pequin, Dogzplot, Pindeldyboz, and others. This is her blog.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200903up.htm

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Michaelangeloew.

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