Jack and the Skunk
“ When Jack first saw the skunk she was nothing more than a foul stink, a tail disappearing behind a dumpster, a glowing white stripe rippling over black grass in the dark of night. ”
For lack of having anything else to post this week, I’m going to begin posting “Jack and the Skunk.” This was previously published in The Massachusetts Review, but reviewing my contract, I’m allowed to post it on my blog as long as I mention them. The Massachusetts Review is awesome, and should be read, subscribed to, and consulted as the leading source of culture and literary expertise in this modern age. (There: mentioned.)
I hope you enjoy it. For those readers who get repelled by the sadness/vague animal abuse problems early in the story, please be aware that it does get a lot happier, funnier, more cheerful, and generally better for animals of all kinds, after the first few posts. The beginning of the story is based on a true story that took place in California several years back. After that, I improvised.
Have a wonderful Monday,
Jack and the Skunk
When Jack first saw the skunk she was nothing more than a foul stink, a tail disappearing behind a dumpster, a glowing white stripe rippling over black grass in the dark of night.
Then Jack began to feed her. He started with milk, poured into a pie tin on the back step every night, then bread, then meat. When the skunk came right up to Jack’s feet one dusky evening and took a piece of bread he had carefully placed on the grass in front of his boots, Jack called a veterinarian. He agreed to pay five hundred dollars for the removal of the skunk’s stink sac. The skunk only sprayed Jack once in the car on the road to the vet’s office, and bit him twice. When Jack got home again, he put a blanket under the kitchen sink and moved the skunk inside.
Jack was a security guard at Armstrong Campgrounds. He lived in a trailer on the edge of the woods. It was not a very large trailer. When the skunk had lived there for two hours, Jack’s wife threatened to leave him. She said that if Millie was not gone by morning, she would be. Jack would have to choose whom he loved more: his wife, or his skunk.
Jack thought about it all night.
In the morning, Jack woke early. His wife was still asleep and Jack did not wake her. He opened a can of meat and fed the skunk in the kitchen. Millie snuffed the food once, then burrowed her nose deep into the dish. Jack walked back into the bedroom where his wife was sleeping soundly. Her hair, flung across the pillow, fluttered softly when she breathed. Jack opened the drawer by his bed and took out a gun. For several minutes, he stood in the dark, watching his wife sleep. Then he walked back into the kitchen, stood behind the spot where the skunk’s face was still buried in its food, and shot it dead.
To be continued…