Glass Flamingos by Catherine Roberts

I smash them all. Because who the fuck collects glass flamingos? Around me, pink shards sparkle in the carpet like pretty vomit.

I let myself in through the back gate, then the French doors, the same route we were instructed to take for Priscilla’s “girls’ night” six months ago. We didn’t see the bedroom then and I haven’t seen it since – filled with Murano monstrosities. Flocks of them on shelves, bedside tables, the dresser. I’ll bet her husband feels their pinching eyes when they screw. Call me vulgar – I refuse to say “make love” like it’s some craft activity. I wonder if she wraps her flamingo legs around his head like she does mine. Always at my house, always Holy hell, don’t stop.

You can blame girls’ night. Us fragrance-store-girls. Priscilla poured margaritas like they were water, and we were desert-thirsty. I cracked some joke about cologne, and Priscilla laughed so hard, a button popped on her dress. “Pop,” we kept saying every time someone delivered a feeble innuendo. At the end of the night, when the girls left, I pretended to search for a glove I didn’t bring. Priscilla offered some of her husband’s whiskey, one foot poked out the French doors, and I took her up on it. On matching lawn chairs, we laughed about God knows what and wondered at the Luna moths on the stucco wall. Then we stuck our mouths together.

It was velvet-tongued, seeds in your teeth lust.

I was gone before her husband got back from guys’ night at the Barbecue Bar. But we finished the job several times since. At work, we wrote to each other on receipt rolls about all the things we really wanted, who we really wanted to love. Priscilla was much quicker to rip them up.

I remove my clothes, stuff them inside her drawers, and drop my thong among the smashed birds, a pink-glass eye staring up at me.

He comes in through the door, and I lift one foot and tuck it behind my leg like a fucking flamingo. I fluff my long, dark hair and make my eyes all ostrich-heavy and he relaxes, looks at the fragments on the floor and says, “I hate those things”. Then he’s loosening his tie, grabbing my skin and pushing me into the sheets, and I’m reminded of the only fact I remember from school about flamingos – their nests are made of mud.

Catherine Roberts is a 2024 Best Small Fictions nominee. Her work has been published/is forthcoming in Flash Frog, Maudlin House, Bending Genres, and Gone Lawn – among other places. Find her on X under the handle: @CRobertsWriter.

Coral flamingo, Florida
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