He had been a hunter all of his life,
  and so he learned how to skin animals,
  and then how to stuff them.  He got good
  at it, and word of his skill spread.
Men who had shot bucks and foxes
  sought him out.  He made a few bucks
  that way, enough to put himself through
  school and get his teaching certificate.

 

When he reported for work the first week
  to teach freshman biology, he got off on
  the right foot with the kids; firm, but not
  too stern.  He tried to convince them that
  cutting up worms and frogs was fun, if
  you had the right attitude about it.
But they were mostly city kids, college prep
  types, who’d never hunted in their lives.

 

The second month, October, he told them they
  would be doing a leaf collection project. 
He told them how they should preserve the leaves
  in a cardboard box with wax paper in between
  them, what kind of leaves they had to collect,
  what the trees looked like.  Some of the kids
  looked bored, but for others it was a welcome
  change from the chloroform and formaldehyde.

 

He was at home one Sunday, working in his
  basement on a raccoon, molding it to a log,
  when he began to feel light-headed.  It was
  as if he was in a dream, but awake.  He went
  out to his car and, as if controlled by forces
  he couldn’t see, drove to Kansas City.  There,
  he had a hamburger at a drive-in, then drove
  down into the heart of the city, and parked.

 

He began to walk around, not knowing what
  he was looking for.  As he wandered the
  streets, he seemed to be watching a movie of
  himself, not living his life.  It was as if he
  was the animal he was working on from on
  high, outside of himself.  He didn’t know
  where the he who observed was located,
  or what tools and chemicals he was using,

 

  but he thought he had done a masterful job—so
  lifelike, so realistic. He noticed that people were
  looking at him as if he were in fact a well-stuffed
  animal, and the man who had made him a real artist.
He would smile back at everyone who admired him,
  happy to know he would probably win a prize if
  he was entered in the Hobby Competition at the
  Missouri State Fair—maybe even get a blue ribbon.

 

He wandered until he was so tired he had to lie down on
  the sidewalk and fell asleep.  When he woke up the
  next morning, he emptied his pockets and bought a
  fried egg sandwich and a cup of black coffee at a diner,
  and continued to walk the streets of the city.  This time,
  it was as if everyone else were on display, and he was
  walking the aisles to examine them in glass cases; a few
  people returned his gaze with alarm, but he just passed on.

He emerged from the skin he’d been in to find himself in
  a cell; his fingernails were long, and curled in on themselves.
He could see his hair without looking in a mirror; it hung in
  matted strands in front of his face.  He got food three times
  a day and a place to sleep.  Now he was back on display,
  along with other human animals.  There were very few
  spectators, and they didn’t linger or look long.  They would
  stop in front of a cage and say “That’s him,” and one of the

  other animals would be released to its owner.  In just this fashion
  his father appeared, grey and haggard, in front of his cage one
  morning, and said “Yes, that’s my son.”  They had opened up
  the door and let him out, and his father had taken him away in
  the Oldsmobile that his dad had said was the last car he’d ever buy.
He stayed at home for some time, cleaned up and made to stay
  quiet in a chair while he recovered.  Winter passed and then he
  noticed green buds on the trees, and he understood it was spring.

His doctor came and examined him, and pronounced him fit to
  return to the classroom.  His students had had a succession of
  substitute teachers, each one beginning where the kids told him
  or her the last one had left off.  They had all abandoned their leaf
  collections except for one boy, an honor student, who’d been told
  that he’d better not bring up the subject when the taxidermist came back.
His first day back he looked out at the class as he had looked at the
  strangers on the streets of Kansas City—vacant and unfocused.

“Good morning,” he said.  “I’m back.  Where did we leave off?”
The students seemed to have glass eyes, like the animals he’d stuffed.

From “Town Folk & Country People.”

Views: 129

Comment by Rosigami on January 17, 2013 at 12:29pm

Compelling narrative. Your last paragraph is killer. 

Comment by Kathy Knechtges on January 17, 2013 at 2:28pm

amazing!

Comment by Arthur James on January 17, 2013 at 3:11pm

` Con Chapman. You seem to have been?

Hanging out with ` local Amish Taxidermist.

You sure Your a Lawyer? You a ` Mule Skinner?

`

I tagged along with a Local Trapper a long Time ago.

My Neighbor Traps, Skunks, Fox (red and grey) squirrels,

and, thankfully, he no traps Hicks, Lawyers, Amish Farmer,

and, fortunately, he no trap Farmers in Local` Library? Nope.

Not Yet, and those in ` Puberty thinks my breath's` Booze.

`

I usually am half-conked at` 5:00Pm. I got an Invite tonight.

If I enter Loco-Bar-saloon at` 6:00Pm. I get free meat steak.

I am not very sociable after` 6:00Pm` I need more sex. You?

`

If a Lawyer ever visits Clear Spring?` I no Know lawyer vegan.

You 'fast-talking` mule-skinners know ` How To Survive, aye.

I am not sure if I 'ought' to eat moo-cow` Meat's Fat Flesh.

` huh . . .

Comment by Arthur James on August 31, 2013 at 1:12am

`

Gosh. I am the only one here.

You Con C. are paid member?

@ Salon you pay $45.00 per

avatar. Then Jake deletes.

bebop-o & GoodCelery!

Annabella is furious.

She's nine. She

be a Lawyer?

Jake stuffed?

He act fake.

He say` hi

scribes and

dear` guys.

Comment by Arthur James on September 2, 2013 at 6:10am

`

I just saw this on your other post.

Annabella loves Con C. You lucky.

She's nine. She's too toung, Con C.

I fix her up with suspender wearing

Amish Farmer who has a horse buggy.

Maybe She' get hitched up with Lawyer.

She'll be happy with Amish Taxidermist.

Comment by Arthur James on October 18, 2013 at 5:30am

`

Con C. Taxidermist Sigh Reads:

`

The Buck Stops Here

`

Taxidermist likes Horns:

so . . 

Take Stuffers of Deer,

Racoons Mammals,

Lawyers, Farmers,

your Sax, Clarinet,

Trombone, Oboe,

your brass horns.

Taxidermist stuff

Black Bear. Sigh.

Go Support Local

Amish Taxidermist.

Visit Dermatologist. 

Ask Boston Red Sox

To not itch groin on

TV. Call Batter Out.

Sit in Dugout. Blow?

Blow a `Farmer Nose?

Farmer Rocket's Snot.

No hit Umpire if She

Wears Red Dress, or

has Red Fingernails.

Ask Here to Scratch?

Scratch Her Back. . . 

Comment by Arthur James on January 5, 2014 at 2:34am

`

My deleted blog showed a cute Racoon.

The Farm dog shook 'it' and broke Racoon's

neck. The Grandchildren were amazed at paws,

teeth and whisker details. It's in the their home.

It's mounted on a Wood Hutch just like Yours is.

`

I saw a Taxidermist Sign:

`

The Buck Stops Here

`

Koshey's Jiffy Lubricant Co.

Lubricate Broke Wheels, Oil

Changes, and Free Nail and

Toe Feet Pedicures Before

Sunrise. Today and Every

Day - Blog and get Free

Grease Job @ Our - Open

`

Open 24- hours just

like McDonals ` Drive

through - free delivery.

we give massage on

Sunday at Sunrise

`

Free Body Wax Job

Barney's Special

Today is deer

burger on

sesame sees

bun - one foot

long & with dick soup.

But. it a 40- foot rubber

duck. Not responsible for

big air Explosion burps

`

Stop in anytime. It's 

next t porn and pawn

shop. Salon Hair

Cuttery Service Too

`

Visit Kosh's Open Door

Moonbeam Door No-

Flush Outhouse - Gosh

`

Comment by Arthur James on January 5, 2014 at 2:39am

`

honest ...

not dick soup

but duck soup

the `'i' ky is

next to` 'o' . . .

`

I tell my foes to

write down in red

TOPS Composition

book - College Rule

`

any complaints they

harbor and tell them

to my Jewish Therapist

and her Lawyer Friends.

Comment by Arthur James on January 5, 2014 at 4:40pm

`

I just am here to say Howdy.

If anna1liese was here i conk.

I'd hop in the barn hay stack.

She's be fun in a canoe boat.

I learning lots from Lawyers.

There's no end to my thanks.

No take a walk in rocky boat.

Folk loiter in barn? Fun ducks.

I never know what? Wonders.

If we gripe on boat? O, quack.

Lawyers speak fancy jargons.

I wonder IF any make sense.

I gotta get. I just passed bye.

IF it weren't for cold and bleak

winers and bah winters we'd never

be able to appreciate thee warmth

and splendour of thee springtimes.

Sheep graze on fescue and sleep

in barns and eat bailed green hay.

It be nice to invite calm sheep in

a local ` Sleep Inn and Suite and

sleep. Sheep could drink raw goat

milk, cheese, and green spinach.

I best go get before I write cranky

jibber. No eat roasted leg of lamb...

Comment by Arthur James on January 5, 2014 at 5:31pm

`

apology Con C..

I got Lawyers on my mind.

They aren't all liberal crooks.

I take rookie cop to courts.

Never sideswipe cop cruiser

or run over big buck deer

with a pickup, Porsche,

or DC Yellow, Illegal

Taxi (hack) who

is a crooked

defense 

lawyer.

I may get

a GED 

and be

a lawyer

after my

Lawyers

Help get

my Home

rebuilt . . .

I might

be pro bono

or charge

vain

lawyers.

I am beginning

to understand 

Nice Lawyers

and Taxidermist.

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