Table Fifteen: Joseph Suglia

On the back of the mountain goat is a young boy. The young boy is wearing green swimming trunks, a green baseball cap, and a green T-shirt that reads MILF: Man I Love Fishing.

The young boy clutches the pointed horns of the mountain goat, simulating the movements and the posture of a jockey. He is laughing cascadingly. The mountain goat is being ridden by the young boy.

Losing interest in the boy and the goat, you follow with your eyes the flight of the antelope, their jumping yet fluid gait, as they jump up and down across Clark Street. Watch the steady glide of the antelope as they shift past your line of vision.

The antelope are succeeded by a flock of sheep. Here come the sheep. Watch the springing gait of the bovids, the hopping herded sheep.

Big-eyed, black-eyed, swift-footed, spindle-legged gazelles speed away, dodging the truck that is rolling down Clark Street. Their lyre-shaped horns are speeding past you. They, the horns, buck and rock, jerk and jink.

Men and women are lying in the street. The springing gazelles dive over the heads of the prostrate humans.

Hopping and stotting, the gazelles bounce into the hardware store.

Your entire body is vibrating and repelled by the spectacle that unfolds before you.

You are walking past the Urban Outfitters.

You can hardly believe your eyes. There, standing before the Urban Outfitters, is an Arabian oryx—perhaps the most beautiful creature you have ever seen. A noble antelope with straight, impossibly long horns, with a stately bearing, with staunch haunches, with a brushy black tail, with an impeccably fashioned grey-and-black-and-white coat, the great herbivore stands there before you, staring at your half-closed eyelid curtains.

A white-spotted deer leaps past you, glazed with a sparkling glaze.

Diving across the street, a wildebeest is thrashing its handlebar horns and grunting in short loud bursts.

Fingering their BlackBerries, the husbands are texting their wives and the wives are texting their husbands. Their teenaged children are twittering and facebooking.

Fifty feet ahead of you stands a caribou, its majestic head held aloft. Two young white human babies are stroking the caribou’s hide as their father raises them and their mother looks on indulgently.

Spluttering with glee, the children kiss and massage the hide of the caribou. Spluttering and sputtering. Now they are kissing and massaging the fur of the alpaca, the alpaca that is standing behind the caribou.

Happy waterbuck prance along the side of the street, happily unaware, as the supermarket goes up in flames.

Vast herds of migratory wildebeest traverse the city as humans cower in what were once department stores and hair salons. The wildebeest trample and tramp over stalled automobiles, automobiles standing lifelessly in the middle of the street. Human beings signal to you as you pass the windows, gesturing for food and drink.

There, a long-tusked musk deer is suckling. Giving milk to her fawn. There. A fawn’s delicate head is pressed between her mother’s hindlegs, sucking and suckling. The fawn gently scrapes her mother’s hindlegs with a forehoof. The small deer is vibrating with hunger. The mother musk deer is motionless, placid, as if stuffed, as if she were a stuffed milk-dispensing milk machine.

The musk deer has pointed black shiny hooves, a curved back, gigantic hindquarters, and the ears of a rabbit. It has fang-like tusks and musk glands beneath its legs that secrete a viscous yellow sap.

The musk deer gives its milk to the fawn.

The musk deer gives you a deep, dark, lugubrious look.

And then come the impala. The beautiful impala.

The impala are brownly beautiful.

The impala are succeeded by galloping hartebeest. With their fawn-colored hides and lyre-shaped horns, they make a gorgeous sight, streaming into the T.J. Maxx in a yellow-chestnut haze.

Their hooves are clicking along. Their vivacious gait invigorates you. The animals zoom into your field of vision and then recede just as suddenly.

Beside you bounces a lime Hyundai. The passenger door nearly shaves your left flank as it sharks forward. The motorist is a man with a black beard and a black mullet.

The motorist reels down the driver’s-side window and asks with a self-inflicted sting of self-denigration if you would like to come inside. You say nothing.

You watch the car caroming along Clark Street. The car swerves to the right and slithers off the road and on to the pavement. Its doors pop open and out comes the man with the black beard and the black mullet. He glances at you with eyes that seem to want to turn away. He pulls a leather jacket over his arms. A tremendous chin gives his face the shape of a pear. A rifle is slung indifferently over his right shoulder.

A red-headed woman in a sequined lizard-scaled green dress flounces toward him. In all of her sparkling raiment, she is glamorously ridiculous and ridiculously glamorous. Fixed in a reverie, she wafts down the street toward the man with the black beard and the black mullet.

The red-headed woman kisses the man with the black beard and the black mullet. He does not appear to want to be kissed.

You hear a crash. You hear a crashing. You hear the mindless, hollow, smacking sounds of rams ramming car doors.

Sprinting rams collide with the line of cars along the perimeter of the street. The rams are batter-ramming the lime Hyundai. To the left. You watch one car twisting over itself and wonder if there is anyone inside.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia


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