A Fish Named E
A Short Story by Shanna Seesz
Written using the suggestion "Suddenly I woke up among strangers."
Originally featured on 01-20-2011
As part of our series "The Benefit of Doubt: Stories Written to Explore Domestic Violence and Abuse"

Nights when you are like this I cannot sleep. After dragging you to bed, you snore and sprawl in your drunken slumber. I move to the couch. You do not notice.

As I doze in front of the television I imagine what our child will be like, what he or she will do: It slices! It chops! It dices! I am heavy. I sink into crevices.

Suddenly I find myself among strangers. They are naked. I am overdressed. The slender brunette with balloon breasts stands across the room drinking a dry martini, olives from a saltwater fish tank. The fish do not notice. I find you on the bed. You are rolling in a mess of pallid skin. You catch my eye as you roll away. Next to you: one man, one woman caressing your thighs, your chest. You try screaming. There is no sound. You heave, your chest thrusted upwards like a soundless exorcism. Eyes bulging, lower lip hanging—you are a sockeye. You choke on air. I search for a pail of water. Only empty buckets and bare asses. You finally retch keys to the car, one olive. The brunette winks at me, sips her drink.

I wake to your dirty dishes, you in our bed in the same position I left you. I take the car, move to San Francisco, buy a fish, name him E.

Read More By Shanna Seesz

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Portland Fiction Project

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