Hollen V

Fiction, Issue Four

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Podes
By Hollen V

We talk for a long time about platypi – platypodes is more correct, platypi is a bastard of Latin, legitimised by commonality – before my courage screws to the screwing place. In conclusion,

   So far it’s Schrodinger’s foetus.  Left unchecked, it is neither present nor absent.

   You aren’t pregnant. Get a test though.

Her reply is good, Haley would know, she knows these things, bad gurl – spell wrong to achieve tongue-in-cheek. I slide straight back to platypus talk, I tell her that after mating the female builds a new burrow, safer than the one she lives in otherwise. The female platypus then drags detritus balled up in her tail, a fistful of dead, wet leaves. In the burrow, she folds them into an origami nest, they make the ground soft, in waiting for her eggs to crack.

   The male?

Of course, Haley asks that.

   He’s swimming.

I’m not a good swimmer but neither is a platypus. I, land mammal, can hold my breath longer than those duckbilled paddlers.

At the shops, it feels like everyone can spy the neutral-blue, ambiguous-product-name box in my basket. I fold it under other items.

When I scan the pregnancy test at the self-checkout, turns out it costs kind of a fair bit for someone on my budget. It stirs me up. I wish for venomous spurs but I am only webbed. A digger of hidey-holes, an origamist.

Splashing around in my own pee, I wonder if I am meant to be humbled. Women all over the world become mothers (forget conception, it is knowledge and acceptance that makes them such) with their own urine on their paws. Having sufficiently dampened the little stick, I balance it on the bath edge.

Famously unbelievable, British scientists tried to take apart the platypus pelt. It had to be two animals, stitched into one. A joke seemed more likely. Rather than a true blend, an amphibious, duck-nosed mole with a tail as broad as a rudder, a flat palm for tucking leaves when the time came for her.

I can hold my breath.


Hollen V has work published (byline Holly Pockets) in other places, favourites include Voiceworks and Antithesis. They tweet, bitterly @faceoddity.

Photograph provided by Loni Jeffs.