THIRTY-ONE, 2.0

It was a lonely road for Albert. His fat body swayed left and right with each step, and every ten steps he had to wait and rest and gather his senses. His tongue lashed out each time he rested, and snatched him a new fly. The flies were everywhere on account of the dead human bodies scattered on the road.

Albert was at the same time in Heaven and in Hell. His scaly skin felt warm under the sun, a feeling he enjoyed more and more lately. The asphalt under his toes was hot and spicy, driving him to keep moving despite his minute respites.

When he finally reached Lucinda’s cave, Albert paused for longer than usual. There were flies everywhere, and he decided to have a snack before heading inside and charming her.

Charming, an action that took him years to perfect no matter who his mate ended up being. For dozens of years, Albert charmed and charmed and charmed, until there were very few females remaining. His heart couldn’t stay in one place for long, or with one person, and he’d found it easy to keep moving on. Moving was one thing Albert could do very well.

Though moving became tougher as the years went on, due not only to his age but with these expanding roads and cars and humans invading their desert. But then The Big End came, and humans just collapsed, died, and stared vacantly as Albert and his kind took over, walking all about the earth just like things should always have been.

He snacked on some more flies and watched the sun begin its falling arc across the sky. He despised the nighttime, when the temperature dropped and became too cold to walkabout, or sometimes too cold to sleep. Night time was the only time in which Albert wished for a mate to sleep beside, but only for the warmth. That’s why he had decided to charm Lucinda today.

Lucinda was big, twice Albert’s weight and seize, and she was also sweet as could be. Albert knew she wouldn’t hesitate to allow him first digs on grub, even though lately there was more than enough to go around.

Her cave was unusually crowded by flies today, but Albert enjoyed the snacks and looked forward to waking up to fly-catching from bed the next morning, his head resting on Lucinda’s belly as the zipping and zooming dumb flies wandered about overhead, never understanding that all they had to do to survive was fly on out the cave entrance.

Albert and Lucinda had met two weeks prior, just over the horizon from the highway, among the Junkyard Mountains. She’d been on her own, and Albert with his then-mate Astrid. Astrid wasn’t very bright, and didn’t like flies so her weight and emptiness left Albert wanting more.

He’d bumped into Lucinda and her warmth had seemed to bleed out on top of him in such a way as he’d never felt before. From that day on, Albert had been determined to find her, but he put on weight first so she could look him in his lizard eye slits and know that he was serious about taking care of her.

Albert waited until dusk, then entered Lucinda’s cave. It smelled rotten, of that Albert was certain, but any cave with lizard dung was bound to initially insult the senses. He rounded the corner to another swarm of flies and felt he’d entered Heaven, thinking they wouldn’t even have to wait until morning for their feast.

Mouth watering, Albert moved quickly to Lucinda’s bedding area. The sight of her rotting corpse gave Albert pause, and then he decided to go about dinner before returning to the path towards the Junkyard Mountains, and Astrid’s empty companionship.

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