• Jess MacNeil

The Boot

The cracking stopped around the time I went back to sleep, but it’s started up again. Can’t find it, but I feel like it has to be close. I pressed my ear against all the walls upstairs.

Got a video from Monica at 4AM this morning, must have come through during my restless sleep.

Before I opened it, I realized the mistake I made earlier. I didn’t talk to anyone at the real estate company, they left me a voicemail and then I left them a voicemail. The keys were waiting for me in the mailbox, I’ve never seen the real estate agent in person. And Monica and I don’t actually talk, we email, and text, and message each other.

Monica’s videos are usually sheep compilations and baby farm animals. She tags me in the comments under videos from accounts with names like “BabyGoatsDaily” and “SealConnoisseur”. This morning, she sent me a video of a squirrel. I can’t tell if it’s the kind that we have in Calgary, you know, the ones that were supposed to be a gift from France but ended up being an invasive species?

A couple seconds into the video, the squirrel gets caught in a trap. It’s freaking out but it can’t get loose. The camera zooms in on it and I keep waiting for something cute or heroic to happen. For someone to walk into frame and free the squirrel, or for the squirrel to miraculously be able to free itself. The camera shakes. Whoever’s holding it moves closer and I see a big boot come down on the squirrel’s head. The boot presses. I close my eyes. The video ends.

This video is not posted—it’s just sent directly from Monica. Somehow is feels... personal. Like I'm the squirrel.

I delete the video and block her from messaging me. Then, I email her saying that I think her Instagram account’s been hacked. I feel sick. I’m realizing, though she's been liking all my blog posts, and emailing me constantly, I’ve never actually spoken to Monica. I’ve never met Monica.

I think I found the source of the cracking. All of the crystals I set out—in the living room, on the table, in the bedroom—they’ve all shattered.


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