As I closed my phone, or put it upon the receiver, or swiped to the left (whatever people do now) I thought again about the job position. Preliminary phone interviews are as much reconnaissance as trial: I did not want it.
I took a kernel of sweet-gum and put it into my mouth. It felt like a sea-urchin on my tongue, at first, it was a tiny mine floating in the ocean of my saliva. Then I swallowed.
As I walked out of the door, I digested its medicine. The potion spread into my body, slowly, first through the guts and then passing into all my organs. At first I thought I was dying. The cold seemed to penetrate through all of my body except my heart. Those chambers remained like throbbing furnaces, both four of a kind on fire together and two-pair of occupations: atriums for bringing in my bedeviled blood and ventricles for pushing the spell to my extremities.
Then I started to feel a sense of peace and purpose. My skin seemed at first to be drying and cracking but after a while it became lacquered. Yes, it cured nicely into smooth, almost glossy scutes. Scales. Thin, fine plates that darkened into a shade of green so dark it was nearly brown, like the mucky bottom of a swamp. As I veered from the sidewalk and into the gully, I saw the train tracks sinking into the mud. The channel filled with water. On the shore, I shed my clothes like an old skin and I glided into the water. I barely made a splash — my nose was like an oar, smoothly splitting its surface. Soon, only my eyes showed and I started to wave my tale from side to side in slow, powerful strokes. In fact, my entire body assumed the same motion: from the tip of my snout and along the ridge of my spine.
I’d wanted to be an alligator all along.