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You know who doesn’t mind a high desert in July? The scorpions.
Lift a pot lid doing the dishes just to rouse yourself in the afternoon and whoop, hup, babe bring me a shoe, fuck—
don’t wanna take my eyes off him
Big boy, flat dead, tail smashed off, in the bottom of the kitchen sink, stripetail, at least not a bark scorp (those’ll mess you up but good).
Katie swears that one monsoon she saw a refrigerator float past when the street became a river, a beat-up white fridge out of someone’s kitchen or maybe abandoned on the street for special garbage pickup and she said the thing was just crawling
with a family reunion of stripetails, and we’re talking an extended one, cousins up from as far south as Hermosillo, everybody with a plus-one, crawling
all over the thing, keeping themselves up out of the water, playing king-of-the-fridge, and the winners get to live.
You don’t forget seeing a thing like that. No matter how fast the water is moving. I can’t forget it and I didn’t even see it except in my traitorous mind which likes to whip out the image every now and then to horrify me.
Andrew lives in a miner’s shack up the gulch, and the people who live up the gulch know all about scorpions, and he told me a trick:
You get a regular old clothes iron and you plug it in and put it heat-side down on your flagstone (if you’re fancy) or your concrete steps (if you’re not, and I’m not) before you go to bed.
When the scorcher days turn cooler after sunset (tonight there’s a projected low of 71 around four a.m.) the scorps edge their way under the iron to feel that sweet heat, flatten themselves out, and they are not gonna have their tails up, not gonna be prepared for you when you wake up in the morning with killing on your mind because one of the kinfolk from that family reunion got into your bed and Jesus when your arm found its business end you woke up knowing exactly what had happened even though you’d never been stung before because nothing
hurts like that, nothing—
—and so you get up and before even coffee you get a hammer and lift the iron and quick so they don’t realize what’s happening – bam bam bam bam take that bastard sons of bitches
You take your revenge.
But even if you get five or six or the whole family reunion party planning committee, you still aren’t gonna rest easy because somewhere there is an abandoned refrigerator in rushing monsoon muckwater that you wouldn’t clutch at even if you were drowning, even if the current were carrying you towards the churning mouth of the underground tunnel to the open pit mine, a refrigerator where the once-white surface is desert-dust brown and
Emily Jane Cayer is a BA student in English at Arizona State University. She lives on the US/MX border in the tiny art town of Bisbee, AZ with her fiance and their three rescue dogs.