Dead Snakes & the Ghosts of Iraqi Scholars


Two old friends of mine who were staying in my childhood bedroom were making plans without me, which made me feel extremely awful and unloved, so I confronted them. I said something like, "Why the fuck are you acting so childish? Let's discuss what's actually going on!" Blah blah blah. Then I looked over my left shoulder and saw that one girl had filled Pretzel's (my 23-year-old corn snake's) cage with water, and I was like, wait, beginning to panic, was this already filled with water when you got here? I realized that Pretzel was struggling to swim and I put two and two together and screamed to my 'friends,' "ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY!?!?" and rushed to empty the water from the cage, hyperventilating, yet and neither of them would help me. When I poured the water out, Pretzel's limp, cold snake body was already soaked through and quite squishy. He had drowned.

Earlier, I was in the basement of a house some of us were staying in, wearing a T-shirt over my dress that was given to us as a gift sponsored by the event we were all part of (a wedding? I'm not clear), and this unfamiliar bearded guy was taking pictures of ghosts in the basement, and we were in Iraq, I realized, and the ghosts were of long-dead Iraqi scholarly men who refused to move on to a different world.

Then, in the basement, some dude banged into a large cabinet and all this glass came crashing down on him.

Then M was there, and I had my pants off, my belly to the floor, and my head was facing away from him, but laying atop him so my naked ass was directly in his face. I felt only platonic love but I knew he didn't.

Rachel NagelbergComment