Even Snakes Have Body Image Issues by Natasha Cabot
The mass of anacondas, male and female, lay entangled and engorged on an Amazonian plain. Each constricting machine of death was sufficiently fed and they were happy, content, and had temporarily shed their desire to kill. They rested while the sun shone down upon them and puffy clouds tap-danced overhead. Flies buzzed around them but the snakes did not notice. With their hunger satisfied, they had no cares in the world.
One of the anacondas, Erin, slithered away from the group; none of the others stirred. She slid up to the stream and stared at her reflection. “I’m disgusting, filthy, and fat,” she told her reflection. “If you stay fat, no one will ever want you!” And with that last statement, Erin vomited up the capybara she had swallowed earlier. She opened her mouth as the furry rodent raced up her oesophagus and bits of the dead capybara mixed with gastric juices spewed forth into the river like a repulsive Niagara Falls. Some red-bellied piranhas swam up to the bank, tipped their caps, winked, thanked her, and feasted on Erin’s discarded meal. They had no qualms about eating the capybara/gastric juice stew. Food was food and food is always good. Erin frowned as she watched the fish eat what she rejected. Bottom feeders are so disgusting, she thought. She lapped up some water, swished it around, and spat it out. She wanted the taste of the capybara vomitus out of her mouth.
Why did she force herself to vomit? Because Erin knew that no one likes a fat anaconda. Fat is evil and vile. Fat means you’re lazy and stupid. Fat snakes will end up as lonely snakes, so she does what she has to do in order to be perfect. Perfection is her only goal in life. She was raised to be perfect by perfect parents. Her siblings were perfect. From the moment she was born, the necessity of perfection had been instilled within her. And Erin is the perfect anaconda. The spots on her green skin are laid out in a perfect anaconda pattern. She constricts like the perfect anaconda. She unhinges her jaws and swallows her prey whole, like the perfect anaconda. She is everything nature shows and “National Geographic” seek out. If she became fat, her perfection would shatter like glass. Erin would never let that happen. She was too smart. And yes, too perfect to be imperfect.
The other female anacondas were jealous of her but Erin didn’t care. When mating season came, she’d be the one to come the most. All the males would want to mate with her because she was beautiful. She was lithe, she was thin. She wouldn’t let herself go like Mary or Deanna. Those two were fat, disgusting anacondas. The male anacondas only fucked them because they were easy, not because they were beautiful. They allowed the men do to nasty things to them, disgusting things. Things that good anaconda girls don’t allow. And deep down, Mary and Deanna knew they were dirty whores and this was another reason they hated Erin. They also knew she vomited up her food, so Mary and Deanna made fun of Erin and said mean things about her breath.
“Your breath reeks and your teeth will rot. Your skin will flake off, you loser. God, do you know how many anacondas are starving? And you just scarf down food and vomit it up later. You don’t even respect the prey you kill! I mean they gave up their lives to feed you and you just spew it back up? You’re so selfish.”
Earlier in the day, after they had swallowed their food, Deanna and Mary bitchily asked Erin, “So, will we be seeing that capybara later on today? Of course we will!” They laughed and slithered away. Tears formed in her eyes as a dead capybara lay half in/half out of her mouth. Erin vowed not to let them see her regurgitated meal. She’d pretend she kept the whole thing down. They wouldn’t mock her. Instead, they would get fat and she would remain thin and perfect. So very perfect. She swallowed one last time and the capybara slid down her throat. Don’t get too comfortable in there, she told it. It didn’t and the capybara would later be utilized to feed the undiscerning red-bellied piranhas.
On her way back to the snake pile, Erin looked at her reflection in the river. She said to her watery doppelganger, “I don’t look too bad, do I?” The reflection stared back and said, “You’re starting to get jowls!” Erin hissed and slithered away, making her way back to the other anacondas. Straight ahead, she saw Marco. She loved Marco. He was the hottest male anaconda in the snake pile. He was strong, manly, and virile. He’d even killed caimans and swallowed them whole! Just thinking of it made Erin wet. His scent was so very intoxicating. She sprayed pheromones in his direction. She wanted him to know that she was alive and available. And he would. He would – for she would be the thinnest, prettiest anaconda around. He’d be unable to resist. She’d keep vomiting because, in the end, love is all that truly matters. Not the opinion of two fat snakes. Not the opinion of an unreal reflection. Not the tiny holes burned in the lining of her throat due to frequent vomiting. Not the rotting teeth or the bad breath. Only love.
Natasha Cabot is a Canadian based writer living in Vancouver. She likes shiny things and books. If the books are encased in something shiny she is even happier. Her literary influences include Charles Bukowski, Kurt Vonnegut, and William S. Burroughs. They liked shiny things, too.
© 2012, Metazen.