The Custodian

I meet her in a bar. She’s heavily pregnant and chugging gin like no tomorrow. I tell her to slow down, she tells me to fuck off. I laugh and we get talking. I ask when she is due. She tells me that it isn’t normal and I wouldn’t understand. There’s something in the way she speaks, not quite a dismissive tone. I guess it’s an invitation to press the matter, so I do. She points to her bellybutton and tells me how it captures the moon’s reflection. I laugh. I mean, some crazy pregnant girl telling me how her belly somehow reflects the moon? She sighs and looks me square in the eye. A moment’s hesitation and she hands me a key. She tells me to walk with her as she heads for the door.

The night air is cool and clean. She visibly relaxes as we leave the bar, the sound of chatter and the tinkling of glasses receding in the distance as we stroll. We start talking for who knows how long. I’m feeling light-headed as we find ourselves ambling through a field. She stops beneath an oak tree. Its leaves are sparkling in the silvers of the moonlight. As she sits down, she gently pats the grass in a motion for me to join her.

Under its boughs, I start to kiss her neck and she giggles, my hands are moving towards her midriff. Her lips whisper invitations, so I continue. The air is heavy and I can see her breath in the dew of the approaching dawn. I notice that I am still clutching the key she gave me in the bar. I run its cool brass over her stomach. Instinctively it seems to find her navel and takes hold. I feel like I’m in a dream as I turn the key a quarter; ninety degrees, deep within the belly of this girl I have just met. The outline of a silver zip appears, from breast to pelvis. She laughs and tells me not to worry. This is how it is. I continue. As I unzip her torso, she smiles and thanks me.

Somewhere within her stomach, a telephone starts to ring. I’m elbow deep before I find the receiver. I place it to my ear. A voice bathed in static tells me that a position as custodian of the moon has just become available. The voice asks me if I’m interested. I replace the receiver and zip the girl’s stomach up. The world seems to fade as she kisses my cheek and says goodbye.

Bare-handed, I now craft craters into the surface of the moon. I marvel as drops of blood from my fingertips capture the earth’s reflection.

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