by Omer Friedlander

I take a large knife and slice open the watermelon. I pry the crack with my hands and it opens to reveal a fleshy interior, spotted with black stars. The thick peel is lizard-skin in slabs or triangles. I leave it out for the ants on the limestone.

I strip down and wait for the ants to come for me too. The sun is a bursting grapefruit. After a while, I cover myself in watermelon juice to attract them, and I feel sticky and too sweet. I want to be eaten slowly. I want them to take small bites. The only bites ants can take, probably.

Across the road, my new neighbor has gone out to her porch. She has chosen a pineapple. She’s completely naked and is covering herself with its juice. It must feel sour, stinging in her armpits. She has lain down now, waiting for the ants to come. I hope she doesn’t beat me to it. I have missed out on being eaten for I don’t know how long.

Neighbors have come and gone, but I’m still here smearing myself with watermelon waiting for the ants to come. Maybe it wasn’t the right choice after all. Watermelon. I was attracted by its shape. The way you could crack it open, like a skull. Like squeezing a beetle between your fingers. Snap.

A row of ants has formed by the watermelon guts. Some are carrying off chunks, proportional to a human walking around with a truck strapped to their back. Amazing, ants. I whisper to them. I think good thoughts.

That evening, like every unsuccessful evening, I am delivered another watermelon. It comes mysteriously, like a baby in the night. This is the best part of my day. I hold it to my chest and pray that maybe this will be the one. This time tomorrow, I will be the one eaten alive.

Across the road, she is still lying there. I can make out small twitches in her face. It’s not over yet. She is covered almost head to toe in ants. She looks like one giant swarm. A buzz of movement. She is jerking in pain, but I can see she is trying to remain as still as possible so as not to scare them away. Lucky girl.

Omer Friedlander was born in Jerusalem. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bastille, Litro Online, The Airgonaut, Notes, eyot, Eunoia Review and The Dial. He is currently studying English Literature at the University of Cambridge.
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