Critters of Miami

Kevin Zebroski


Our motel was seashell colors on a crumbling whiteness. Cut up palm trees and pink flagstones. We had no idea about the roaches or man-of-war. 

The Russian woman had me sign a fire waiver in case we died. I thought about a fake name. She gave us two keycards, but your pants didn't have pockets so I kept both in my wallet. 

The roaches were easy to spot on the white sheets and against the white walls. I tried to kill the sink roach with my sandal, but she crawled into a hole in the basin, the hole that was supposed to keep the water from overflowing. I snapped a plastic hanger from the coat closet and tried jamming it in there. Didn't work.

They were filming The Irishman in front of our motel. We had to wait for them to call cut before we could cross the road.

We went to the beach and the kid with a husky was walking the other way. He told us the alien purple pods in the sand were dead Portuguese men-of-war. You said, He was really high. I said, I don't think huskies like Miami weather. We went a mile so you could point to the bright blue beam under construction. You said, That's the 1 Hotel, where I taught sharing, swimming, and macaroni art.

This tiny shred of a man-of-war broke off its pod and glanced my foot, bonk. I wasn't looking down.


A week before I flew in, you were babysitting the-kid-who-should've-been-cribbed. The kid's mom was wearing white pants and a thong. I think it was 10PM when you texted me, hot mom—I want money. I responded, the fuck? And you said, babysitting for the superrich people at 1 Hotel, kid is already half-asleep.

At 1AM, you called me crying because you needed sleep, food, and company—all I could do from Westhampton was commiserate. An hour later, hot mom woke you up and chewed you out because her kid fell out of the bed, bonk. You held eye contact, didn't blink, and left the room. You called me and let it ring once, so you could say you tried. You went into the lobby, sat down, and cried. A man approached you and listened and tried to picture you without all the redness, or maybe he liked it.


I smashed a roach and then you let me fuck you. After the attempt, you pulled up your pants, unfazed, and asked what was wrong. I told you about the guy in the lobby, and you said, What the fuck are you talking about?

I said, It might as well have gone like that.

And you said, That doesn't make sense. Then you said, Why am I here? You meant the motel, with me. Not so much Miami, where you seemed alright even though you were living in a shoebox with a doorknob and crying a lot.

I said, I wanted to fuck you again.

You said, How'd that work out?

I rolled away, slouched, and dumped out a nothing scrap on the table and cut it. You watched me glazed-over until I was done and took out your own gram bag, pressed between the elastic and your body. I wondered where you got it with my mouth open.


When you picked me up at the airport, I was happy just to see you, even though it took us so long to find each other. I got out on the departures end somehow. I remember walking through big empty hallways, not thinking much of the fact that no one else had come this way, that there were no more flights, and that I hadn't eaten. I shared my location with you and it said we were in the same place, just different floors. You said, Look up. Is there a ceiling?