How are you gonna eat a peaceful breakfast after your incredible night of sex with the surprisingly-experimental woman who as a girl was in the Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes commercials?
After I slept with the woman who as a girl had been in the Frosted Flakes commercials, every day I imagined myself as Tony the Tiger a little more.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had an almost-anonymous one-night stand before, but let me tell you something—They’re Grrrrrrreat!
I met her at an audition. Neither of us got the job, but we got to talking, and before she left for home we had a night together, the best of my life.
She didn’t normally do this, she told me, and asked me not to tell, placed a finger over my mouth that didn’t block my ragged breaths. She circled me, eyes always on mine, and pounced.
When we were physically spent we talked and talked and didn’t sleep. Before she left for the train, we fucked again as the light tried to sneak in. We connected. I fell in love quickly with her lithe body and her alpha aggressions, the way she tilted her head back and appraised me like a piece of meat. How she licked her lips and leaped. I wanted to be with her, but also, just like her, and Him.
This was before email and messaging and smartphones, when you could keep a secret without being tracked, when we were all free-range. She left me with a number that I rang two days later that gave me nothing but an automatic tone that told me our night was a one-time thing, and a sensation like being shot in the chest by some wonky trust-fund inbred on safari.
I was devastated. I was depressed for months. I started grumpy and became savage, with my friends and family—my playful nature evolved into something more utilitarian, cruel even. Wild.
I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I couldn’t stop thinking about Him.
Something lodged itself in me, an image, a feel, an identity.
I’m not a furry. I looked them up, met a couple, but it’s not that simple. I’m him, Tony, the big cat who loves cornflakes and sugar. And her.
I’ve lost a couple of gigs because if the word “great” is in the script, I can’t help saying it like him. I eat one meal a day, meat mostly, rare, and the rest of the time Frosted Flakes, whole boxes. When I booked a part once, on the ethnicity section of the form you have to fill, I wrote “tiger”, and on the disability part, “endangered”.
I moved on, displaced from my natural habitat, bored and looking out.
Two nights before my wedding day, my fallback fiancée Hannah (a total herd animal) came in and caught me watching the old commercials on Youtube. She loomed over me as I reclined on the bed, staring, ice cold (like milk about to be poured); then she bungled toward me and grabbed the laptop. My playlist was nothing but Frosted Flakes.
She didn’t say a word. She growled. She threw the laptop at the wall, and the next day, called it all off.
I have it pieced together now, hunting via social media. My true love either moved or gave me a fake town to begin with. My visits so far have been for nothing, but that’s OK: tigers will often roam for hundreds of miles, seeking prey, the promise of something better.
I know where to go now.
I wonder if she’ll recognize me. I wonder if she’ll even remember me. I wonder if she’ll see Him or me first, or both.
Time isn’t kind to minor actors. Rejection, disappointment: her Facebook posts say it all. It’s been a while since she’s felt alpha. She’ll welcome her big cat.
I pull on my stripy legwarmers and my giant plush head and set out for the station.
Simon Pinkerton writes novels, short fiction and humor, and is from London, UK. He writes for a ton of the best magazines and is currently seeking representation for his first two novels, or maybe just one of them. He has a lot of people he's told he's gonna be a big shot over the years - don't make him look stupid now. Find him @simonpinkerton and at www.simonpinkerton.dx.am