Wednesday, July 09, 2008
(12:00 AM) | Jared Sinclair:
Is That It?[This short story is dedicated to Adam, Anthony, and all my old Illinois friends. I miss you all, comrades.]
Five years ago today, Saul Zuero, now an obscure philosopher and former zoo janitor, then an obscure zoo janitor and former philosopher, discovered what was and remains the World’s Only Officially Documented Miracle. All doubts have been dispelled, all possible scientific explanations exhausted. All things being equal (and in spite of the fact that there is every indication that they are not), only one avenue of theoretical causation remains open: the Divine. It happened in Chicago, on a Tuesday.
— Part One —
“You!” she cursed, wagging a long-nailed finger at Zuero. Her lips, curled in anticipation of her invectives, were a ghastly shade of pink, lighter than her quick-tanned skin.
“Me?” He sounded surprised, like he’d heard his number called at a raffle.
“This is your responsibility!” These were her own mother’s words coming out of her mouth, in the same frothing tone.
“Um. What?” He gulped.
“This is your responsibility!”
Uh-oh. This was not good. He recognized the signs. People were staring. It was only a matter of minutes now, seconds maybe. He could feel it, a clenching in the gut, a wincing. Here comes number seventy-three.
Five minutes earlier, the young Zuero had stood motionless, his shaggy head tilted in deep thought, both hands crossed over the butt of a push-broom handle. He was on a pebbled walkway that coursed through the bird pavilion. Lulled into a trance by the interlacing patterns of some palm fronds waving in a waft of air, there was no telling what passersby guessed he was thinking. He might have been thinking of the Triumphant Entry, or the Girls of Hawaiian Tropic. Whatever it was, the sound that broke the spell wasn't the din of predatory bird cries or the ill-mannered whines of a spoiled toddler. It was the unmistakable sound of a powerful stream of giant avian feces painting a white line down the pavement.
It sounded like a ridiculous Nickelodeon invention rapid-firing a dozen Super-Sloppy fistfuls of soggy oatmeal in under a second. By the time he turned around to face it . . . .