by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Dirk’s esteem was at an all time low. When cannibals started moving into the neighborhood, he made a showy production about boarding up his windows and carrying a shotgun. But no one tried to break into his house, even before the fence went up. He’d cross the street whenever one of the neighbors came his way and he avoided the carpool, but to be honest they didn’t even look him over. After a year of shoddy treatment he left his front door wide open and sprinkled his head with Mrs. Dash. No one even tried to lick him.
“Is there something wrong with me?” he finally asked Marla, the girl next door/cannibal/neighborhood floozy.
“Watcha mean?” she asked.
“Do I smell bad? I mean, like I’ve . . . gone bad?”
She sniffed him and he felt a nervous thrill with her hard white teeth so close to him.
“Is that Secret?” she asked, pulling away. “Girls wear that.”
“Hey, it’s strong enough for a man! The ads said as much. Is that why you don’t want to eat me? Because of Secret?”
“Why would I want to eat you?” she asked.
“Because you’re a cannibal.”
“Well, someone thinks very highly of himself. Let me ask you something: Have you ever seen a cow? A real one, up close?”
“Yeah, once at my grandfather’s farm.”
“Did your mouth water? Did you want to eat it then and there?”
“Exactly. On top of that, who the heck wants to go through all the trouble of skinning and cleaning you? When I want man-meat, I go to the store, just like anybody else.”
“You can’t buy people at the store!”
“You ever look through the deli? I mean, the entire deli?”
“No. I guess not. Look, thanks a lot. I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
“Oh, no problem. Listen, you want to come in for a drink?”
They had Yoo-Hoos with vodka chasers for most of the afternoon. To Dirk’s surprise, when they were both too blitzed to see straight, Marla ate him.
I need one of those twist endings here, so I should specify: Not in the way you’re thinking. Of course, I don’t know what way you’re thinking, but it’s probably that other way. Do you know which way I’m talking about? Good.
Because I sure don’t.