Alligators at Night

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Alligators at Night by Meg PokrassYou remember when you lived in Florida briefly, walking to the store with your husband in the middle of the night. You remember the sound of alligators crooning like deranged, nocturnal cows, all the way to the Seven-Eleven, from each side of the highway. You remember thinking that they must regularly sing to people on their way to the Seven-Eleven, mostly a welcome sound, because there is a three-hour walk there, and a three-hour walk home, and the night sky is so velvety in the summer, and the singing alligators are like jazz. It’s like you’re in a jazz club, but walking outside.

Walking to the Seven-Eleven, what you sometimes want is to never actually get there. Because you are holding hands, feeling his warm, fine skin. He has not yet had his dose of whiskey and his breath has not yet become thick as a mushroom cloud. You have not yet said you have a migraine, and that you don’t really feel like snuggling because your body is so sweaty after the six-hour walk. You have not yet cried or threatened to leave and you have not yet been quieted by your husband with his body half asleep and given up the fight.

You remember that your walk to the Seven-Eleven is glorious, you are both present but so quiet, the two of you loving the sound of strange overgrown creatures who are so close to you, but attached to their watery homes. Sometimes you can imagine these animals are chasing you and your husband all the way to the Seven-Eleven, but mostly you just think of them there in the dark, without alcohol and probably without love.

Photo by David Olimpio

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About Author

Meg Pokrass has published stories in McSweeney’s, Five Points, Wigleaf, Smokelong, and over 230 other literary magazines online and in print. Her work has been internationally anthologized, most recently in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton, 2015). Her books include Damn Sure Right, My Very End of the Universe, Bird Envy and The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down. She is the flash fiction curator for Great Jones Street App, and curates the Bath Flash Fiction Festival (Bath, U.K.).

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