Balanced Scales

“Ready to go?”

“Two seconds. Need to feel Amalia.”

My wife nodded, checking her phone while I rooted in the fridge.

“We’re low on greens and fungus.”

She swiped the screen. “Those sliced toadstools? I can put it on the list.”

“And mustard greens.” I checked the tupperware next to the reptile enclosure. “We’re good on grubs, which is great since I’m not going to be anywhere near the store this week.” I fished the blind, scaly, larval worms out of the grainy bedding in the feed container, then tossed them into the enclosure for Amalia to snatch up. Which she did, energetically. It always impressed me how she generated such loud smacking sounds with no lips.

My wife came over, dividing her attention between the shopping list on her phone and what she called our ‘alleged pet.’

“You’re impressive, Amalia,” she said to the inattentive, rainbow-scaled reptile – one of the largest any of our neighbors had seen outside a zoo, “but if I’d known how much work a basilisk would be…”

“The kids like her. And we don’t have rats.”

“We never had rats. And the kids, I can’t help notice, don’t feed her. Or clean the enclosure.”

I paused, trying to remember if I was at thirteen grubs or an even dozen, then shrugged and put the lid on the container. “I don’t mind, though it’d be easier -”

“Don’t say pixies.”

“- if I could give her pixies. All the books and the kids at the store recommend it.”

“Sweetie. I love you. The kids love you. Probably even Amalia loves you, since you feed her, but I lived for too long in New York apartments to ever let pixies in my house, knowingly. Line drawn.”

“I know.” I grinned. It was a familiar conversation. “You don’t think you’d enjoy watching her eat them?”

“No. Ugh.” She shuddered. “They crunch. No. Never.”

“Fair enough.” I slide the enclosure door closed. “Ready to go?”

She gave me a look. “I am. You need to wash your hands.”


A snippet of fiction, inspired by today’s one word.

“It’s a bracelet.”

“Well, it’s a bit more than that. It’s a DNA imprint that can be used to identify you to any of a hundred different systems on this ship.”

“It’s pretty.”

“… and it’s pretty, yes.”