Table Twenty: Joseph Suglia

As the car speeds down the street, the animals make way, running on both sides. The brown sedan is being driven by a blonde woman of forty-one summers. A margarita in hand, she opens her mouth and throws back her head and lets out an inhuman yowl.

The brown sedan disappears into the Self-Park Parking Garage on Clark Street. A silver-backed jackal whishes by like a silvery ghost and vanishes into the garage. The hyenas, snorting and sniffing, follow the jackal. You see the tails of the hyenas gradually disappearing.

The hyenas are giggling and snickering sinisterly.

Dogs are unleashed. Roving hounds are roving about. You hear the yipping and the yapping of the dogs. Once domesticated, now wild, they have forgotten their discipline and their “owners.” Running dogs, escapees from the pound, are running down the street. Wild dogs are licking their own gashes, poor wounded wild dogs.

Packets of ground meat are strewn across Clark Street. Noisy packs of dogs, black and brown, are encircling the meaty pink meat, ripping open the cellophane with their paws, pulling on the meat with their jaws. The aardwolves—they, too, are feeding steadily on the meat.

The wild dogs rollick with each other, and the jostling and jousting soon escalate into a canine frenzy.

Humans scavenge at the garbage cans and at the trash bins.

A run-down Sports Utility Vehicle is clanking down the road. Grasping the steering wheel, the motorist—a man dressed in black—mutters something to himself and presses his foot against the accelerator. The dogs scatter. Beside him, in the passenger seat, is a woman you presume to be his wife. She is corpulent and is wearing a white suit. She throws her arms skyward and laughs mirthlessly at something-or-other. The car turns left on Clark Street and disappears from your vision.

Bleating, baying, and bawling animals are tearing up the senior citizens’ home. Crazed beasts—you see them—are ripping up the curtains and gutting the sofas in a frenzied gambol. Furry animals are scurrying over the oldster carpets, clambering up the oldster staircase.

The yelping and jumping dingoes are yelping and jumping. The feasting hounds lower their heads as they feast.

You hear the wavering howls and short hoots of a pack of jackals. You stare at the jackals with their wiry bodies and their nimble legs.

A narrow-skulled jackal inches its head toward an open can of peaches. Now, the jackal erects its head, holding it high.

Chewing up the peaches. Its jaws can deliver a lethal bite. The jackal licks its nose and grimaces. Run like hell out of there.

In the café. Through the window. You see a woman cuddling an Ethiopian Wolf pup and smiling.

Before you, a pack of black-backed jackals are stalking a slow gnu.

A fox is sitting on a dune made of beer bottles.

You sight a running woman, a woman running away from a fox. Chasing the young woman, who is wearing a blue dress, the fox rears up on its forelegs. The woman turns to face the fox, batting the air with her blue umbrella. The fox waits, still standing on its forelegs, its bushy white coat bristling. The woman is smiling. The fox does not smile.

Swiftly, another swift fox bounds down the stairway of the swanky restaurant-cum-loft nightclub and into the main concourse, leaping after a peacock that looks like an umbrella of blue eyes.

Bright-red pizza slices decorate the street. A scavenger hyena digs its head into the heap of pizza refuse, absorbing the discarded pizza slices. A skunk is dragging away a pizza slice, dragging it now across the street, withdrawing into its shrubby lair. The rabbit are devouring the pepperoni pizza slices. A litter of lion cubs ingests the pizza slices that litter the street. A sneak of weasel forms a circle around a pizza disc and snatches up globules of cheese. An American mink licks up tomato puree from the pizza disc. Minxy mink. Black-footed ferrets pluck the pepperoni slices from the web of cheese and the bed of tomato puree. Ferrety ferrets.

The street is atremble with pizza-eating mammals. Zorillas, weasel, ferrets, and polecats are engulfing pizza in a frenzied orgy of chewing and swallowing, chewing the sausage meat and swallowing the mushrooms. They seize the pizza discs in their jaws en masse, chewing and chewing and chewing. Skunk masticate potato chips and French fries. As the zorillas, skunk, weasel, mink, ferrets, and polecats gorge themselves, a wintery ermine looks on placidly.

Solitary and regal, a marten keeps watch over its spinach-garnished pizza slice. A bear-shaped wolverine tears apart a pizza disc with its bone-crushing jaws. The wolverine quickly inhales the pizza: gobbets of meat, tangy tomato puree, cheese, and all. A surfeit of skunk makes quick work of the abandoned pizza slices. Bolting down gobbets of pepperoni and gobs of cheese, while the unicorn-like llamas lap up goblets of beer, the wolverines are dining well.

Untamable cats, untamable dogs: There are too many of them, and they hiss and bellow and snap at the approach of any human foolish enough to bring a leash to their necks, insensitive to the human prerogative. The human presumption to master beast has grown otiose in a world in which beast no longer recognizes human as master. The human appetite to swallow beast has grown otiose in a world in which human is beast, more beast than the other beasts.

What you are witnessing is a circus of raw animality, animals devouring the world that human beings created.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia


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