I am sitting in my living room alone when the little green snake appears beside me again.
“What are you doing here?” I ask incredously. “I thought I told you to go away.”
“Is that what you said?” he replies airily, transforming back into his regular human self. “All I heard was a bunch of incomprehensible ranting.”
I cross my arms and glare at him.
“What do you want this time?”
“You told another lie about me again,” he chides gently. “You know I don’t like it when you do that.”
“Says the King of Liars himself.”
“You said that you didn’t have any more real stories about me. That’s not true. You haven’t told the one about how I came to life on you.”
“So you want me to implicate you in an extramarital affair?”
He smirks and winks at me.
“I’m just trying to make sure you do your job,” he says. “That’s why they call me The Boss.”
“You are the most ridiculous human being alive.”
“You already have some of it written, don’t you?”
I look up at him and stare at him for a long time.
“How do you know that?”
“I assume it’s buried somewhere in this pile labeled ‘Do Not Publish,'” Andrew says as he points to a stack of notebooks on the desk. “Wow, there sure is a lot here. And you’re not going to publish any of it?”
“Why not?” he asks. “I like it when you write stories about me.”
“Those aren’t fit for public consumption.”
“But why not?” Andrew asks, picking up a silver snakeskin notebook and flipping it open like it’s a pin-up magazine. “I want to read it.”
“Then you can read it,” I say. I try to grab the notebook out of his hand but he holds it over my head instead. “Andrew, give that back to me.”
“But you said I could read it.”
Andrew walks over to my chair and promptly sits down in it. He flips through the pages of the notebook with mild interest. Suddenly, something catches his eye.
“Is this it?” he asks.
“The HGTV story,” he says. “The first one you wrote. The one you got caught writing.”
“You mean the one you got caught inspiring.”
“I did get caught inspiring, didn’t I?” Andrew says cheerfully. “I like that. That’s a good way to put it.”
“What can I say?” he asks. “I’m a man. What do you want from me? You said it yourself. I’m a Rooster who keeps multiple hens.”
“Great,” I say. “I’ve aided and abetted in the creation of a monster.”
“I don’t think so,” he says. “Some men are just like that. I’m one of them.”
“I’m perfectly capable of making my own choices, sweetheart. There’s no need for you to blame yourself for my behavior anymore.”
“Thanks,” I mutter under my breath. “That makes me feel so much better about the entire situation.”
Andrew gets quiet as he starts reading. I watch as he gets lost in the story. He chuckles to himself and looks up at me periodically. He raises his eyebrows in alarm when it ends very abruptly.
“Where is it?!” he exclaims. “Where’s the rest of the story?!”
“I never wrote it,” I say. “I stopped writing it when I got caught.”
“But you have to finish writing it! It was just starting to get good! You can’t just leave it this way!”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Andrew,” I say. “I think it’s better I leave it the way it is.”
“But you’re such a good writer,” he says simply, getting up out of the chair and handing the notebook back to me. He stands over me and looks down into my eyes with his sneakiest smile on his face. “You have to finish it. I want you to finish it. And while you’re at it, make sure you write the other one about how I came to life on you. I shall be very interested to hear that one, indeed.”
“If you want me to finish it, then you can provide the necessary inspiration.”
“Maybe I will,” Andrew says with a wink. “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?”
“Very funny,” I say dryly. “But I believe you already have plans with your wife that day.”
“You must be talking about Sam,” he says slyly. “That’s not me. I’m Andrew, remember? 35 from Omaha. We met at a bar a couple years back. I chased after you because you were wearing the sexiest come-fuck-me-heels I’ve ever seen.”
He renders me speechless for just a few moments before I finally find the words to reply.
“You really are a snake.”
Andrew smirks at me.
“Yes, Betsey, I really am a snake. A liar, a ladiesman, and a snake. I like to play games and mess with people’s heads. But that’s what you like about me, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Yes it is.”
“Now that I understand your game, maybe you can play mine.”
My mouth drops open in shock.
“Huh?” I ask. “You wanna play a game with me?”
He chuckles at me again.
“You’re so cute,” he says, holding up my chin. “So cute, so innocent, so naive.”
“Guess that makes me a pretty easy target for a snake.”
His chuckle turns into a laugh.
“Oh, trust me, honey, you are not easy. You’re a giant pain in the ass.”
“Thanks. I try.”
“I know you do,” he says. “That’s what’s so intriguing about you.”
Andrew smirks down at me one last time before transforming back into a snake. He turns to look at me one last time before he goes. I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into as I watch him slither out the window.