This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Ate A Bug © 2009 Bryan Costales, All Rights Reserved
by Bryan Costales
Ate A Bug by Bryan Costales
Sally crossed her arms and stared at Tony, just returned from his Amazon Cruise and mute. Normally Tony talked too much. Too much for his friends who claimed they were used to his endless babbling. And too much for Sally, his girlfriend. But here he was, returned from vacation still smelling of travel and sitting on their sofa with his mouth shut. “Was it something you ate?” Sally asked. She was dressed for bed wearing her usual sky blue pajamas and pink robe. Tony had come in late rolling his squeaky suitcase over their hardwood ﬂoor and woken her up. Tony shook his head. He looked at the ceiling, cute and boy-like as if he was thinking. He smiled and made a crawly movement with his tan hand and pantomimed swallowing it. “You ate a bug?” Tony smiled and nodded. His face was tanned too from his trip. His Amazon voyage made him appear healthy, trimmer, maybe even svelte. Even his thinning blond hair looked darker and more lush, and seemed to almost cover his bald spot.
Ate A Bug
© 2009 Bryan Costales, All Rights Reserved
” Ate A Bug © 2009 Bryan Costales. It hung loose and large on his frame. “How about using the computer. he was writing. But he wasn’t drawing.” she read from the yellow pad as he wrote. All Rights Reserved Page 2 . she noted. “I swallowed a bug while I was sleeping and it woke me up. not little people like Sally... Her feet hung over the edge like a child’s not meeting the ground. Sally got up and moved to sit on the sofa near Tony.Tony appeared to think about her question and shrugged. “You swallowed a bug but forgot what kind of bug it was?” She asked and watched him fumble for a pencil and paper. He was wearing a cotton shirt he’d purchased on the trip. Then he slapped the tablet onto the glass-top coffee table with a satisfying ﬂap and sat hunched over it. but not too near. It looked like it had been made from a coffee bag with pale Spanish logos all over it. The hunter-green leather sofa was made for big people like Tony. She peered at Tony’s tablet and tapped her heels together. Something stunk the inside. He frowned at her with that I-don’t-need-no-stinking-computer look. Tony crossed out the “k” and wrote a “g.” Sally laughed. “I woke up. then you can draw too?” Tony paused with a yellow legal tablet in one hand and a pencil in the other..
Because you couldn’t swallow. Sally sniffed. like congratulations. “I woke up and swallowed it and felt something wiggling down when I swallowed. She read along out loud. She wrinkled her nose and frowned. “Write it.” Ate A Bug © 2009 Bryan Costales.” Sally looked at him. Tony looked at her with doubt in his eyes. not because you’re tan like I thought. The odor of sun screen and bug juice lingered on him. picked up the pencil and wrote again. He held his throat like he was trying to strangle himself. Tony tried to pantomime something that Sally didn’t get. Then he tried to kiss her on the cheek but she pulled away. “The next morning I couldn’t swallow. She watched Tony write. “You swallowed the bug without seeing it!” Tony patted Sally on the back. Tony bent over. “That must be why you look thinner.“Something stung the inside of my throat. It was like something swelled up inside my throat.” Sally kept reading. She pointed at the tablet on the coffee table. just not swallow. This time he was more careful and made softer scratching sounds with the pencil and corrected his mistakes before Sally could comment on them. but the gesture felt too weak to be sincere. I could breathe okay.” Sally looked at him again.” she said. All Rights Reserved Page 3 .
but Sally scooted away. the guide. clearly pleased she had understood. One painting.” Tony smiled. Ate A Bug © 2009 Bryan Costales. a wide-screen model. Nothing helped. tried ice packs on my neck.Tony tried to pat her back again. “Should I call Kaiser for you?” Tony shook his head and pointed at their communal computer on the table they used as a desk in the corner. I would have been better off with a witch doctor. its fruit diamonds.” Sally tapped his arm to interrupt and remembered the feel of his strength. an oil painting of a tree set in a colorful mythical forest. All Rights Reserved Page 4 . but that only made it worse. You already made an appointment on-line. and oh yes the other painting in the bedroom. “Oh. Tony wrote.” she said. Tony tapped the yellow paper with his pencil —an impatient sounding beat. Sally understood. had been a joint purchase. sure. “Simone. the one over the bed. And the DVDs of course. “Just write. The table had been a gift from Sally’s dad. The computer. Stupid third world doctor. What other things might belong to both of them? Some books. They’d gone in 50/50 on that one at the Sausalito Art Festival. He thought it was a spider bite and recommended I gargle with salt water. The cruise boat pulled into a town and brought a doctor aboard. Sally looked around the room.
And not good yacks either. Something to be witnessed to be appreciated.” Tony picked up the tablet and wrote so hard he ripped the paper in one corner. she realized. I might be packing right now instead of listening to you. He still had a paunch. Sally glared back. But the news from Jack and your other travel buddies gave me hope. “Not my fault. But you never seem to listen to yourself.Sally looked. “Just this big old apartment I came home to every night while you were cruising the Amazon. Never listen to how much you yack. “But you can still be a jerk. He hadn’t lost all that much weight after all.” Sally said.” Tony used both hands to pantomime his heart beating. That’s all.” “You may have lost your voice. What an odd and special thought. “If you had your voice.” Sally said. Ate A Bug © 2009 Bryan Costales. Come home from a job that wouldn’t give me the vacation time. mostly complaints and rumors and unﬂattering news about friends. “You know.” Tony sat up straight and glared at her. He’d written more: “What are you looking at?” Sally looked at Tony.” Tony spread his arms as if to say. “I know you love me. Come home to alone and bored. A Tony who couldn’t talk. He shifted so she couldn’t see. All Rights Reserved Page 5 . and continued to write. Or say you do.
Sally scooted closer. “Two days. “When’s your appointment?” Tony held up one ﬁnger. Sally read the one sentence. Then he looked up in thought. you mean tomorrow?” Tony nodded again. “I can change!” She looked at him. I mean look at that pencil move! You’re dying to say something. Sally scooted closer to him. He’d written one sentence and surrounded it with a hundred or so tiny hearts.” Tony nodded. “That’s just what I mean.” “Which cure?” Sally laughed.” Tony turned the tablet to face her. He looked guilty. He picked up the tablet again. You hear something you don’t like and you want to rant about it. She read as he wrote. All Rights Reserved Page 6 . at his usual crooked smile.“There.” Sally said and pointed at the tablet. First I have to get the cure. this time snug next to him. “Can you really change?” Tony crossed his heart with one ﬁnger. “One day? Oh. “The cure for your gift of gab or the cure for your throat?” Ate A Bug © 2009 Bryan Costales. “And hope to die.
Then he kissed her again this time with warm passion. After that they didn’t talk much again until the next morning. And we’ll be two days closer to the end of the Mayan calendar. Sure. his arm sliding up her back. “This talking stuff is contagious isn’t it?” Tony kissed her face-ﬁrst on her lips. All Rights Reserved Page 7 . She stopped rambling.Tony wrote. She looked at Tony and he looked back. “Both. “Two days isn’t all that long in the whole scope of things.” Then he smiled and wrote.” Sally kissed him on his cheek still scratchy with stubble from the trip. END Ate A Bug © 2009 Bryan Costales. “Kaiser and you. But Rome wasn’t built in two days was it?” Sally felt Tony’s hand on her leg. She said. Sally wondered if she should ask him to shower.” “We’ll see. I mean the world population will grow by half a million in two days.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.