Stevie and I fed the alligator in the lake behind the bowling alley on our lunch break. Not directly. We weren’t idiots. We left expired hamburger and piles of fat scrapped off the Snack Shop grill on a special rock at the edge of the water, farthest from the dock.
You marry the dead girl. She is a scarecrow in a white dress, only the smallest bone of her pinky finger woven into the straw and wood holding her together in effigy. The rest of her has gone into the air as smoke and ashes.
Later, when I gasped his name it sounded strange in the air, like a phone ringing in a home you know to be long emptied of anyone.
If he spent years studying some aspect of what you think of as “your” culture, he won’t waste time arguing with you about whether it’s really your culture, or whether you know enough about it. Instead he’ll make clothing suggestions––sarongs, saris, dashikis, dreads, natural hair instead of extensions––and he’ll study you.
It’s for your own good, she says. Otherwise you’ll bake like a pork tenderloin. Or does she call me a pork tenderloin? Or maybe what she says is, Are you hungry yet? Dinner’s getting cold. If you don’t eat your pork tenderloin, he will.