The Tiger Man
by Geordie Williams Flantz
I really don't know how I got here. All I can tell you is that it happened in very small increments. For instance, first she wanted the little pug dog, Riley, and then she started going on long weekends with a girlfriend from work. She brought home the mysterious grizzly-bear sculpture late in August, and only then, after I'd been prepped in that way, did she introduce me to the tiger man.
I was sitting on the couch in front of World's Unlikeliest Animals, still wearing leather gloves because I'd been pulling up the weeds from around all the trees in our yard. It was late in the summer, so I'd been doing yardwork in anticipation of the first snow. The leaves weren't really off yet, but I remember all the apples had fallen down around the crab-apple tree, their soft bodies gumming up my shoes and smelling alcoholic.
I was done with the weeds, sitting in the living room on the leather couch I'd had since college. Marie, who'd always loved that couch, had come home the week previous and told me she was buying a new one. It wasn't that she didn't still love the old couch, she told me, but she had also found a new couch that she loved, and that she wanted to bring into our house. Thinking of it now, I suppose it was strange how she sat down beside me and held one of my hands in two of hers, tears gathering in her eyes.
"Can I still keep the old couch?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "Oh, of course you can." And then she threw her arms around me, weeping against my shoulder.
This was nice, but the documentary I'd been watching about possible worms on Mars came back from commercial, so I was perhaps not fully in the moment.
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"The Tiger Man" is roughly 4028 words.
Geordie Williams Flantz is an alum of the Oberlin College creative writing program and a current MFA candidate at Purdue University. His work has previously appeared in r.kv.r.y. quarterly literary journal.