Jesse Jarnow

the animals i saw, no. 6

(Short fiction in shorter increments.)

The Animals I Saw: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10
It was the mosquitoes that eventually got me inside the house. They swarmed around Melch and me, up on the ladders, as we reshingled the Inges’ cabin. Back in the woods like that, caught in the sun, the bugs hummed in abstruse shapes. It was hot, the humidity unbearable. Rain was expected. The siding already stripped, we needed to finish before then. By evening, we were both covered in sweat and slowly rising welts.

Through the evening, as Melch and I drank off the itching with his beer stash, the humidity never broke. We were at the house he’d adopted for the season — the Spitz’s, I think. Melch grew drunk and apologetic. I considered telling him why I’d come back, that I’d even been there in the first place. It would mean explaining my father, his relationship with Abe Lewis, and why the house was no longer ours after it had been returned to land.

I opted not to, and set out for the Becketts. The air cooler, it was almost pleasant. The rain would arrive soon, I could tell. My legs felt warm as I walked, as if wrapped in a soft quilt. I felt the bones in my feet flex. Then, the house was in front of me. I needed to piss like a motherfucker, and I went inside.