Me and Medusa

I get in my car and drive across the state for a Halloween party. I’m dressed as Perseus: white sheet toga, plastic ivy belt, leather headband, mirror for a shield, plastic sword with gilded handle, glittery stuffed animal unicorn wings tied to my ankles. I’m looking forward to a good time as I speed westward with my window down.

When I get there, my date, a single mother, is dressed as Medusa: white sheet toga, metallic green mascara, her hair done in dreads, a rubber snake head tied to the end of each. Her son is with his father for the week- end. She’s looking forward to a good time too: I can tell by the mascara.

I hold my mirror shield up to her and she says, Oh, I’m old, and I, heroic in my toga, say, You’ve still got it, babe. You can still turn a man into stone.

After the party, we go back to her house and have a lot of sex. I make her lick my wings and I pull her dreads. One by one the snake heads come off in my hands and I toss them into a pile next to the bed.

In the morning I wake up to my mind racing, already out on the highway in my car. My date lies next to me, drooling, she without snakes and me without wings. Her son stands at the foot of the bed. He is small, wears only loose whitey tighties, but his muscles are surprisingly defined. He eyes me cautiously as he places the rubber snake heads and unicorn wings into a sky blue pillow case then picks up my sword and mirror shield. As he backs out of the room, the light from the window reflects off the shield and blinds me.

Shawn Andrew Mitchell is currently pursuing his MFA in fiction at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he teaches composition and creative writing, works at Crab Orchard Review, and heads the Writers on the Road program. His fiction has appeared in Torpedo, and Crafty Magazine, and his short story “It’s Not the Heat So Much As the Jelly” was anthologized in Torpedo Greatest Hits, available from Hunter Publishers in Australia. You can find him online at