“Would you eat Mosi?” Darren placed a seed between his teeth. The African Gray perched upon his wrist accepted it with his beak.

Carl defended his earlier entrée from the restaurant. “I don’t consider chicken to be in the same class as your Mosi.”

Julian sneezed. “Excuse me.” He resented this drama his lover, Darren, was creating. He tried to hide the bruises Darren inflicted, but Carl caught sight of a particularly deep one.

“Gesundheit,” Darren said.

“Gesundheit,” the African Gray repeated. “Gesundheit.”

Ruth detested this awkwardness in the dark bungalow.  Carl had shared with her the St. Maarten postcards sent from his brother Julian. This was supposed to be a visit and a vacation, not an intervention. She touched her stomach.

Darren brought Mosi to his cage. He draped a piano shawl over it, then grabbed Julian tightly around the arm. “What are we going to do?”

Julian said, “We shouldn’t be doing this in front of them.”

“Because of them,” he replied nastily.


Morning provided a vivid view of the island. Darren suggested Ruth join him for a boat ride. Carl encouraged her, wanting time with his brother. Apparently Julian was in another unhealthy relationship. He felt compelled to buy him a ticket off the island.

Darren steered the boat aggressively. Ruth’s face stung in the wind. She struggled to steady herself. The vessel hit every wave with choppy, violent precision.


Carl brought towels to the bathroom. The blood was immense.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked.

Clenching her legs, Ruth shook. “It wasn’t the right time. You were worried about Julian; I didn’t know if you were ready to be a father.” She whispered,  “I think he knew. I think this was deliberate.”

Darren strolled the hallway. “Revolting.”

“Revolting,” the African Gray repeated. “Revolting.”