On Neologisms


“We’re not calling it that.”

“Okay.” She hummed. “Snake-diving!”

“Why do you feel the need to give this a catchy name?”

“Why are you such a stick-in-the-ass?” she returned.

“I dunno, maybe because we’re in a steel cannister sheathed in sheepskin and doused in vole pheromones hoping to be swallowed by a giant snake.”

“Didn’t you volunteer for this?”

“Yes,” he nearly shouted.


“Because snakes the size of subway trains start appearing worldwide, and it’s got to be studied.”


“And, I know more about anomalous snakes than the next three herpetologists combined.”


“And if we don’t figure these snakes out, the world crumbles because they eat us all, and I’m the best chance we’ve got.

“Right. Now own that. Be proud, and keep breathing.”

He sat taller. He might’ve smiled. “What about you?” He nodded to her. “Why’re you here?”

“Because I’m the only way you’re getting out alive.”


“Besides, I’ve always wanted to blow up a giant snake.”


“Since I was a little girl.”

They sat in silence for a couple minutes. Then their cannister rustled, shook, and filled with a damp smell. As they strapped on their breathing masks, she said...