Read Sex in Siberia, from the collection Alligators At Night. It’s been reprinted below. Then write your own story about a real or imaginary situation in which a character feels both hot and cold, but the effect is pleasant. Incorporate at least 5 words from Sex in Siberia if you would like to.
Sex in Siberia
My imaginary man lives in Siberia. We touch down on each other like helicopters. I smile, move my mouth around him—offer a warming hut, a place to explode. When he bursts, storm clouds open.
Southern California boasts mild, featureless people. The Weather Channel’s talking heads, all botoxed and baby-fatted in their cheeks, ramble on about radical snowstorms in New York State. I paint leaves, collect Styrofoam in buckets. Driving downtown for wrapping paper, I count the fake blonds wearing two dollar Santa Claus hats.
My parents divorced and nobody yells anymore, but that is no longer important. I want a Siberian life, a Siberian husband. One whose hair changes from brown to light.
My dog seems worried, and so he and I take long walks. Sweat trickles down my back. The dog pants miserably. I promise him that someday, we’ll skate alongside a large man who loves Labs.
In December, I slump into bed early, imagine what it will be like—Siberian sex. Better than any other kind—so cold outside, so warm under the covers. I ball up socks and rub them where the man would go. We’re there, and he is teaching me how to taste snow.