the animals are gone.
1. all remaining bonobos whisked away to a remote island on a schoolbus at night, forced to compete for survival or face certain death
2. black rhino horns last seen bobbing just above the barricade on the top level of a supermarket carpark. onlookers described the scene as a hail of bullets arcing over the barricades from the street met with no resistance
3. the hotel was evacuated before the rafters were lit with the mountain gorillas still up in the gods, shaking the beams as if they had leaves
4. the stormwater drains were flooded. along the coast, a small girl reported to her father that she had seen a big cat floating motionless in the waves. years later, the same girl found a saber tooth on the shore, drilled a hole in it and wore it as a necklace
5. when the tension finally boiled over and the gang wars began, every member of the hawksbill and leatherback turtle gang was found shot in the back on an abandoned plot between their territories. no investigation was launched. none of them had guns.
6. the famous beergarden overlooking the city centre features a centrepiece of a stuffed dodo riding a preserved quagga. there is some debate as to the authenticity of these taxidermied specimens, but the experts are convinced.
7. the bones of 57 Tasmanian tigers of varied sizes and ages have been used by a resourceful stay-at-home Dad to construct a chapel in the backyard of his suburban home.
8. every resident of Davison street owns a custom sea cow cloak. it’s no longer an option or bonus. it’s a necessity.
9. in a mysterious serious of hit-and-runs, every lollipop person across the city was wiped out within a week. the vehicle/s and person/s responsible have not been found.
the sky is a pale, shaken shade of blue.
it stays that way for years.
I am walking through Berlin on a gorgeous hot day, and everyone is eating icecream.
I am not eating icecream, because I am thinking about a tweet I just read from a reporter in Gaza, which said
‘I’ve seen some truly shocking scenes this morning. A man putting the remains of his two year old son into a shopping bag…’
and I am also thinking about a photo I saw of the plane that was shot down, before the news sites started pixellating the bodies,
and somehow, I don’t feel like icecream.
I feel like screaming, I suppose, but that rings somehow false and undeserved, because nobody I actually know has made the transition from man to meat, at least, not this morning, so I’m having to settle with just feeling sick.
I am twenty-six years old, which is thirteen times older than that boy in the shopping bag, and I am currently using some of that time he’ll never get to look at a dog.
It’s the sort of dog that you’d draw if you had to explain to one an alien, all lanky and bouncy and black-furred.
Because dogs can’t eat icecreams, someone is spraying it with a hose.
The dog fucking loves the hose.
It’s barking and leaping and trying to bite the water, and I am alternating between laughing at its infinite canine joy, and feeling guilty about laughing when the world is so fucked.
I am thinking about how in the midst of horror, people find a way to laugh, and how in the midst of happiness, people find a way to hate.
I am thinking about certainties and how we build them out of air so we have something to lean on in the nothingness.
I am thinking that I would like there to be a hotline that I could call to ask those niggling little questions, like
Should I eat that chicken
and Is that animal safe to pat
and There is a man behind me, should I ignore him or should I run or should I hit him, and if so, where and how hard
and How many more of my friends are going to jump off buildings
and Is it normal to wake up exactly half an hour after going to sleep panting oh god-oh-god-oh god because you just got a glimpse into the inexorable truth of your own death hurtling towards you like a brick wall in front of a freight train and for just one second you understood what that meant and it scared the fucking shit out of you and is it also normal that it’s happening more and more and I’m afraid to sleep alone, and –
Does my butt look big in this?
(The answer to that last one is usually yes)
I am thinking about stone and how it seems to hold history in a way that no other substance does.
I am thinking about loss and being lost and feeling scared and growing up and how the answers aren’t just hard, they don’t exist.
I am thinking about blood and how it never looks quite real.
I am thinking about the news and I am thinking about fear and I am thinking about ice cream.
And the sweat slides off me like snow.