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by Rebecca Rhodes

It had taken Liam three years to work up the courage to admit he despised and genuinely feared Charles. Charles was no longer a respected member of Liam’s family, let alone a tolerable roommate. Liam had finally realized that it was a matter of safety--he needed to get rid of Charles through any means necessary, so he took to Craigslist.

“Seeking to sell Charles, a sixteen-foot-long Burmese python.” Liam, with his fingers nervously hovering over the keyboard, dared to glance at the corner of his room, where the inch-thick glass tank held back Charles. The snake opened one eye and its slitted pupil seemed to focus on Liam. Charles flicked his tongue lazily as he stared at his owner, and Liam got the distinct impression the snake was sizing up his next meal.

Trembling slightly, Liam stared at the screen of his computer and continued typing his craigslist ad, though now he instinctively angled the laptop screen away from Charles, as if he was afraid the python would discover his plans. He looked over what he’d written, hoping it could make Charles seem like a family-friendly pet, but no matter how much he wanted someone else to free him of the snake for good, Liam morally couldn’t bring himself to omit certain information from the ad. Hesitating, he typed, “Charles needs his dinner at exactly eight-thirty pm. Otherwise he gets vengeful and weasels his way out of the terrarium to take matters into his own hands.” Liam shuddered, remembering how his landlord had already lost two chihuahuas to his snake’s hunger-fueled wrath, and he left the warning in.

He glanced up at the snake once more to see the rectangular eyes still boring into his neck. Liam wiped drops of sweat off of his forehead and finished the ad with “all reasonable offers accepted. No offer is unreasonable.” He posted the ad and continued staring at the laptop screen, waiting for responses that would never come.