Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.
Taxidermy and Other Dangerous Professions
by J.R. Johnson
By late afternoon the day was hot, hot and hot, my feet burning up through flimsy red canvas shoes. My skin too, even with its built-in mocha café au lait sunscreen, out all day with no protection but a nondescript outfit topped with my stifling jean jacket. I kept that between me and prying eyes, always.
The last of my water went down warm and barely dented the void in my stomach. A police chopper flew overhead but I didn’t look up, just hunched deeper into my jacket before turning into the Joe’s Hot Dog Heaven parking lot. I was scared and running, sure, but the cops weren’t looking for me. No one was.
Aging picnic tables crouched at the edge of the lot were splintered and stained, but still looked more welcoming than the street. Crumpled napkins and used cups littered the gravel under my feet but the place felt safe enough. We used it as an after-school refuge when classes were on. The owner kept the place free from the worst trash; you wouldn’t step on a needle here. I needed shelter and this place, surrounded by dust and wild day lilies, was as close as I would get. Settling against the shaded wall at the back of the lot with relief, I closed my eyes against the day. Lord, my feet hurt.
“Come with us.”