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Rent-Control Omen

by August Spencer

A seagull landed on my table as I was eating, but I wasn’t really eating, I was mostly mid-conversation, and I remember this because it, the seagull, had the head of the pig I dissected in lab the day prior, the pig which did not open its eyes, with the tongue of some horrible, desiccated, cut-up mophead, and it had this head because it was a dream, and I remember this dream because I remember the dreams I have after breakups, and I remember the unopened eyes of the fetal pig because a lab partner attempted to pry them open with the freshly used dissection instruments before us, and I already knew it would haunt my dreams, so I walked away, hoping to save myself from its inevitable glare, or at least dull its potency if I found it without the ability to look within me in the traditional, literal way. It hopped from the table onto my shoulder, and I woke to daylight and what felt like a hand laid beside my neck, the kind of pressure one man’s hand gives to another man out of genuine benevolence, the kind of hand-on-shoulder pressure your ex’s father might lay atop you when you bump into him at the gym after much, much silence. You always liked him, and evidently it was reciprocated enough to make the encounter not only pleasant but genuine, and in the aftermath you’ll realize you forgot to compliment him on his house-flipping side-hustle (so, so many stories of dads doing this, usually no details on the actual eventual selling, just the restoration, the part of the process commendable and understandable, hopefully not to be followed by an all-too-common end result of renting at unfairly inflated rates), but the hand he put on your shoulder let you know that he knew he was flipping houses, and that it was going well for him, or at least well enough, and I don’t think the pigheaded seagull rented houses at inflated rates, it didn’t seem the sort, but then again you just can’t be sure these days. I don’t know what I was talking about or who I was talking to before I was portended upon. It either matters very little or very much, and I think it’s clear that I’m currently at a point where those two things hold equal meaning.

About the Author

Maybe if I hugged more of the men in my life I wouldn't have thought the bird/pig symbol landing on me in my dreams felt like a comforting shoulder pat. I mean, probably, right. Southern Optimist, Fighter of Nihilism, stuck in the first state to secede but getting by.

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