Animale Cruelty

                                                                        (Casey Hannan, 1990-something)

I had a pet snapping turtle. That was a long time ago. It was a baby snapping turtle. It looked like a rock with eyes. I kept the snapping turtle in a shallow fish bowl on the back porch. The gravel shifted in the turtle's bowl during a thunderstorm, and the turtle became trapped and drowned. I was bad with animals, but I loved them. There was the one time I squeezed a wild lizard, and its stomach popped out of its body and onto my fingers. There was the dog we fed too much microwaved popcorn. The vet said the dog's body was "riddled with cancer," like the dog was posed a question it couldn't answer. There were all the times grasshoppers peed in my hands and vibrated their wings apart. All of that was unfortunate discovery. I'm very careful now. I keep a snake alive.

My friend was in town. She stayed with us a hair over a week. We rang in the New Year by drinking tequila and talking about I don't remember. The rest of the week we learned about Tennessee Williams and the choices people make when adapting his work for the movies. I watched Marlon Brando and Paul Newman take off their shirts, and it was like seeing men for the very first time.

One of my teachers called me a cartoon once. I'm trying a mustache.

It snowed while my friend was here. We went walking the day after. A woman on the street told us to be careful. She yelled about a storm coming. No storm came. I hope that woman is OK. She seemed not OK. I told her we would be careful. I promised her. She made me promise.

A man walked by the house the other day. He was singing like he'd been trained in it. I'd seen him before, but I'd never heard him sing. It was a good moment. It was dark and windy, and my friend had left earlier that morning to catch her train. I needed a man to walk by my house and sing. Sometimes a nurse walks by on his way to the hospital. When the weather is warm, he walks on the balls of his feet. When it's cold, he's flat-footed. I wonder if he knows he's doing it. Josh tells me when I'm talking, I look into the distance and my eyes move side to side like I'm reading a teleprompter. Now I notice it every time.

My book officially releases this coming week. If you pre-ordered a copy, you'll receive it soon. If you didn't pre-order a copy, I will never know. Your conscience is dirty, but your hands are clean. You've committed the perfect crime.