Phillipa didn’t seem like the sort of person who’d keep a seagull in the freezer. I was looking for ice at three in the morning when I found it, right behind the microwavable meals and fish sticks. The tap water at her house had this gassy tang, like residue from a pot of boiled broccoli; I thought making it cold might help.
The beak caught my eye. There were red lipstick markings near the tip, in the shape of a smile. The bird’s head was stuck to the roof and its feet were encased in ice, all the way up to its chapped, inverted knees. And its wings were spread, like the bird was trying to fly home when death turned its lights out.
I looked down and felt my bare feet turning numb on the linoleum.
My sense of where this day would go, or how I’d reign myself in enough to get through it, seemed to melt into the pattern of brown squares across the floor.
*The rest of this story will be available in an upcoming volume of short stories.