American Tourister

by a contributor

Mark McKee

My suitcase will not eat. My suitcase is a Samsonite American Tourister in titanium grey.

It has a doghouse in a backyard. A pair of silver dishes, sixteen ounces each. All the Alpo it can eat. All of this I give to it, yet it will not eat.

We go for walks daily, and I know my neighbors are envious. Who would want a dog or cat when they could have a Samonsite, world renowned for its disposition?  Oh, I’ve had dogs and cats. If you took the love of ten thousand black labs and sprinkled in a dash of Dalmatian, you’d have exactly five percent of the affection guaranteed by your average Samsonite.

The only problem with owning a Samsonite is the finicky eating habits. Some weeks my Samsonite will go days without eating. We fight about it. The only thing we fight about. We fight because I can’t stand it to go hungry. At night while it sleeps I open it up and sneak food into its satin innards. I pat its smooth cool surface and sneak back to bed. In the morning the food lays beside it, uneaten, unchewed.

Eight weeks pass. No food, not a drop. There’s a case of Alpo stagnating in the garage. You’ll waste away, I tell it. And already it looks thinner. Bits of plastic fall off during our afternoon walks. At home it won’t drink. Drink, Samsonite! I say. Drink! Later I find it under the bed hocking up a pair of Bermuda shorts. According to the owner’s manual, and despite its finicky appetite, the Samsonite is known for its indestructibility. This is troubling. Losing weight, lethargy. I fear my Samsonite is diseased.

I follow the care instructions carefully. I wash its hard coat with a damp cloth, spray silicone into its hinges. It nudges my sweaty hands, licks my fingertips with its plastic tags. My heart melts. I love you, Samsonite, I say, please be okay. Its surface is warm. Fever.

I take time off. I’ve neglected it, I know. I should be taking it with me on my business trips. Samsonites are born for travel.

In bed we weather in-flight movies as the fever breaks. Airplane!, Airport, and something with Jennifer Aniston. We both fall asleep, my arms cuddled around it.

I dream of plastic wheels chasing rabbits across a tarmac. When I wake, the answer is lying beside me.

Who wants to go on a trip? I say. And immediately we begin to pack.

Mark McKee is from Dyersburg, TN. His work has appeared recently in Space Squid and Eyeshot. He sometimes reviews books at

See Mark’s list of 5 Things tomorrow in our ongoing contributors’ series.