Alligator Girls by María Alejandra Barrios


Look at what we’ve done, we say to the stupid stupid man who brought us the milk. We look at him from out styling chairs in our salon (people always say we look related and are strong and muscular, aka chunky) and he asks if we know anything about the body bleeding on the floor, well, we say, it was us, we did it, señor (to be polite) and he looks at us, terrified! Do we ask him why he’s late? Tell him he shouldn’t be delivering milk at night, not in this city, Bogotá is a cold hellish town at night– vampiros, brujas, and demonios reign this streets and us, well, we just are girls who become hungry–but instead, Sonia, the little one, sings him a song about our home, the one in the blue mountains, the high sierra, where we turn into alligators at midnight, we’re half women, half alligators and we love to sing, but we tell her to shut up, not now pequeñita, we have to bury this man and then possibly this other one (we point at him with our mouth), the milk man tells us about his home, the way that all his dreams have turned into nothing but there’s more coming, the life that he has had up ‘til now has been nothing but a waste but now he knows better (don’t we know that Jesus loves us?) he tell us about the color of the sky in his pueblo (orange and pink with just a hint of cerulean blue), oh, how he wants to go back, and we tell him we don’t care and we show him our knife teeth and we tell him we like the river, our home, dirt and each other–perhaps warm weather and milk with our earl gray tea and biscuits, we like tea parties with songs and seances and the old mountain: we used to love our house, but now that’s gone too, right? We look at each other and one of us says a prayer for his spirit– just because it’s polite–and another one for our bebés we had to leave behind and then we turn to him and he tells us about his abuela’s rocking chair and the way she used to knit the most gorgeous patterns and before he starts talking about his childhood we roll our eyes and eat him.

MARÍA ALEJANDRA BARRIOS — María has published short fiction in Cosmonauts AvenueJellyfish Review, Bandit Fiction, Lost Balloon, Reservoir Journal, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Fresh Ink, El Malpensante, WaxWing Mag, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Shenandoah Literary, among others.  She was the 2020 Flash Fiction Fellow for SmokeLong Quarterly.

Art by ROB KANIUK — Rob is a union carpenter in the city of Philadelphia.