Issue #90

Spring 2024

The Apartment Above

by Ryan Scott

Since childhood I've worn a pair of crab claws the color of fall leaves, with beige undersides, black nodules and serrated clasps. I used to drag them along the ground. Bumps and grooves rattled the carapace. The vibrations travelled to my jaw.

Most social interactions were impossible. Weather or jokes were okay. No handshakes or hugs. The claws have always been useful when opening cans or pruning trees.

At my last job, colleagues complained. HR said claws of any type contravened OHS guidelines. Not to mention the dress code. I wore baseball mitts the next day. I was immediately called to the HR office and fired.

The claws require soaking in brine for a couple of hours. My bathtub is large enough. I polish them with wax while watching TV. Surfboard wax works best.

My neighbor broke in while I was napping. His sloshing around woke me. I found him pressed up against the radiator admiring the claws in the medicine cabinet mirror.

He said he could explain.

The short of it was his parents threw his claws out. He would listen envious as I dragged mine along my apartment floor. We came to an agreement. Every Saturday he would borrow my claws and I would try out his cloud feet.

Author Bio

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Ryan Scott is a writer and translator based in the Czech Republic. His translations of Jiří Kolář's A User's Manual and Responses have been published by Twisted Spoon Press.