Tuna Fish

fj5en8skpjMary was thirty-eight. She lived alone. Well, there was Wilfred. The cat. Mary didn’t like to venture outdoors much; there were terrible things beyond her red front door. But Wilfred needed more Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore in Water. And Mary needed bread.
She stood up from her creaky old wooden chair with her dingy old cotton robe and dragged her frozen old blistered feet to her wardrobe. She opened the closet doors and spotted the dusty old black loafers. Right foot first, then left foot. No, no, left foot first, then right foot. She put on the brown sandals. Mary took her time getting ready. Checking and rechecking the doors, the cabinets, the microwave, the mouse traps; nothing could get past Mary. She walked outside, her red door getting smaller and smaller, until it disappeared with a pop.
The clean air suffocated her. The birds were evil pterodactyls soaring above her; translucent claws spread waiting to tear off her flesh in one swoop. The crisp air penetrated her paper thin hair with microscopic daggers of dirt and skin cells and rat droppings. The pavement made her teeth hurt. Thirty-one steps to the gates of Hell. Sixteen stairs. Swipe the magic card. Fight the turning snake. Thirteen stairs to the platform. Hold breath for twenty-two seconds. In the bowels of Hell below the earth she encountered demon after demon. Small ones with bright colored satchels; satchels filled with fresh scalps. Pierced ones. Old ones. Demons in overcoats and golashes. They pretended they didn’t notice her, but Mary was none the wiser. She kept her counts. Belly number six. That’s where Jesus is. That’s where he controls the silver dragon. Only Jesus can save me from these evil creatures. One demon…two demons…seven demons.
With an unearthly roar the beast plowed through the black tunnel, orange sparks glittering beneath her as she slithered next to the platform. The hot breath of the dragon whispered through Mary’s hair screeching its sinister thoughts into every pore of her body. It burrowed into the gray matter that lived in her skull like a wild boar and possessed her. ONE CAN OF BUMBLE BEE SOLID WHITE ALBACORE IN WATER. TEN BELLIES IN ONE SILVER DRAGON. ONE LOAF OF WHITE WONDER BREAD. GIVE THE DEMON BOY $5.22. LEFT FOOT, RIGHT FOOT, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT.
From the outside Mary looked like a loon; the kind of woman you look at and think, poor thing, but at the same time you hug your children tighter. You hold your breath when you catch a whiff of her heavy perfume of cat piss and human feces. You move to the other end of the train.
Mary entered the belly of the beast and darted her eyes to the faces of every one of the demons. They weren’t going to catch her unaware. The beast tried to toss her about, shaking her off balance, sucking out all of the air directly from her lungs.
“WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE! SLICE OPEN A WINDOW. I CAN’T BREATHE.” Mary screeched at the passengers who pretended they couldn’t hear her through their earbuds and sank their noses deeper into their books.
She paced up and down the speckled flesh of her captor and ran to her savior, Jesus Christ. She banged on his little silver door, begging and pleading for him to save her from the demons that wanted to rape and torture and slice and kick and bite her. He opened his door and looked at her through his thick goggles and snarled, “What’s the problem here? Do you need the police?” Mary was frantic. This was not Jesus. It was the Devil himself! She threw herself against the glass walls of the belly and jumped as hot metal scorched her skin. The beast was digesting her. The hot acid from its belly was dissolving her skin and melting her eyeballs. The demons crowded around her, warping together into one black shadow as she sunk lower into its bowels. Mary’s body went limp and her vision faded to black and her last thought was Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore in Water.


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