Giraffes

The man in the trench coat approaches, poised for a shake. His extended hand is speckled with bubbling green lumps; his lips smack through blackened gums and toothless smile.

Male giraffes climb trees to signify their desire to copulate, he says. Green juice squirts from a certain asterisk-shaped mole under his left eye. The juice trickles down his cheek. Lumpy hands smear juice on gums. The mole juice acts like a glue and his gooey gums begin to seal shut in a green-black sticky slop.

He says that male giraffes perch their rumps on a sturdy limb and yodel a mating call to woo female giraffes. This really gets him going. The sporadic spurts of mole juice turn into a mini-stream that flows directly from his cheek into the corner of his partially sealed-shut mouth. When he laughs little droplets of juice drip down the front of his black coat and onto the floor.

The female giraffe, he says, has her own mating ritual, too. When she hears the yodel of the male giraffe in the tree, she does a jig where she spins her head in a circular motion and hops from hoof to hoof while bouncing toward the crooning male giraffe. When she arrives at the tree, he tells me between slobbering giggles of watery goop, she taps her head precisely eighteen times on the tree trunk and prances around the tree precisely seventeen more times.

The man in the brown coat loves this part. I can tell that he loves this part because when he tells it, his eyelids slip back into his skull, eye-whites bulging. They even seem to extend forward as if his talk is pushing them out of his skull like two fleshy meatballs. In one plopping motion his two eyes pop from his face and he pinches them in his hands and holds his hands over his empty eye sockets. The two eyes stare unblinking.

The male giraffe, he continues, waits until the female completes her motions and, he explains this part with tremendous intensity, launches his perched giraffe body straight up into the air, spins thrice head over heels and lands perfectly in the mating position atop the female giraffe. A slender, pencil-sized peach-colored tendril begins to emerge from the center of the man in the trench coat’s forehead. The tendril wiggles this way and that. It sniffs the air.

He tells me that when the male giraffe impregnates the female giraffe, she immediately sucks inward with all her might and precedes to consume the male giraffe through her orifice, turning the mating ritual into a kind of sexual death trap. He sighs, scratches himself.

The tendril slithers into his empty eye socket, tickling the man in the trench coat so much that he drops both of his eyeballs on the marbled floor, which end up mashed and deflated under his black loafers, rips the tendril from his socket, slips on the puddle of green mole juice that dribbled down his front and in one quick slip cracks the back of his head on Frank’s coffee table. The party halts.

When he cracks his head open, hundreds of bite-sized baby giraffes covered in blood, brain bits, and mole juice leap from his ruptured skull and run mad around the living room, yodeling in high-pitched shrieks like rabid sheep, sending drinks flying everywhere and guests hopping in panic. The screams are fantastic until the giraffes begin to attack.

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Jamie Grefe lives and works in Beijing, China with this wife and two dogs. His work appears online. Follow him on tumblr at Shredded Maps.