Allie Marini Batts
Alice was rounding the corner on her way to work morning shift at the hospital when she passed the dead baby raccoon in the road. It was 4:30 a.m., not quite dawn yet, and she could barely see from the sleepywinks in her eyes mixed with tears, needled out for its forgotten bandit life, crunched over and over again under the thoughtlessness of pitch-black tires during morning rush hour. She called her husband when she stopped at the red light, and asked him to call animal control to come get the body out of the road. Instead of calling the city, he yanked his body out of bed, splashed water on his face and watched sleep swirl down the drain. He sat on the corner of the bed and pulled on his boots. He stuck a Hefty Cinch Sack in his back pocket and didn’t bother to lock the front door because it was still so early. Before he started towards the corner, he unlocked the shed and heaved a shovel over his shoulder. Daylight fell in narrow stripes over the tiny heap of the raccoon’s body, the legs that were too short yet to race it safely to the other side of the street. Alice’s husband carried the small weight of its broken bones and bridled fur back to the marshy place behind their home. He laid it beneath the moss and fallen limbs of oak to feed the damp North Florida soil. When Alice came home from work, he took her out back to where the insects were already hard at work. She didn’t complain of the smell, the sweet and sticky decay clinging to the humid afternoon air. She kissed her husband and told him she was lucky to have him.
©2012 This work is the property of the author.