He’s late to bed tonight, so he tries to slip between the sheets without waking her. But his knee brushes against something and, without thinking, he apologizes out loud. She stirs briefly, mutters, and goes back to sleep. And then he remembers it’s Thursday.
Thursday is when she looks after Janice’s fish. He’s OK with this, because Janice is her best friend, so she comes with the package. And Janice keeps fish, so the fish are also part of the package. And on Thursdays, Janice has Celine over for the night, so looking after the fish has become part of the package too.
Tonight there’s a small shoal of sardines fluttering about in the pelagic zone near the top of the sheets, and he lies on his side for several minutes studying them as the light from the full moon sparkles off their scales, illuminating her naked back. Occasionally one of them turns and looks at him, giving him a sly, fishy wink before flashing off over her shoulder.
His skin is beginning to feel slippery now, so he slides closer to her until there’s just the barest film separating them. Then he drifts off to sleep in an oily, frictionless union, while the angler fish nibble his toes and illuminate the deep, dark foot of the bed with their bioluminescent glow.
Jonathan Pinnock is the author of the novel MRS DARCY VERSUS THE ALIENS (Proxima, 2011), the Scott Prize-winning short story collection DOT DASH (Salt, 2012), and the bio-historico-musicological-memoir thing TAKE IT COOL (Two Ravens Press, 2014). He also writes poetry from time to time. He blogs at www.jonathanpinnock.com and tweets as @jonpinnock.
Lead image: “Sardine!” (via Flickr user Brian Gratwicke)