Bewildering Stories

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The Squirrel and the Goodyear Retread

by Perry McGee

You lie on the hot roadway to the right of the yellow line. Maggots have taken up residence in your open wounds, and on telegraph lines high above, hungry birds wait for a break in traffic. They, too, want dinner.

Your body is much flatter since that well dressed woman in a Ford squished you. Piss on fad diets, your little animal brain says, just walk on the road. Lose weight the fast and easy way. Richard Simmons, eat your heart out.

Damn the luck.

Overhead, the birds twitter a before-meal Grace, then fly down to your carcass. I hope they don't like the taste of eyes, you think. But you thought wrong. A loud caw is followed by your left eye being ripped from its socket. You feel no pain, but you do feel sadness. That eye was an important feature, it helped you to see.

Damn, I hate when that happens, you think. And as a matter of fact, thinking is the only thing you can do.

While you're thinking, you think that an hour ago you were a carefree little critter rummaging about the fruited plains. What a fine how-do-you do this turned out to be.

Flat, one-eyed, and stinky, you wish you'd never tried to cross the street this morning. And all for a damn cig butt.

It looked like a nut from your perch in the tree. But still, you reason, it was only a cig butt. And who said smoking doesn't kill. Just look at you now, lifeless, all flattened out like a well-ironed shirt, and just a pile of carrion for the local wildlife. Damn the luck you think. Damn the luck and damn the cig butt.

Another car comes roaring towards you. The birds scamper upwards as another set of treads pulverizes your remaining body parts. Internal pressure from the impact causes your other eye to pop out.

Damn the luck.

You want nothing more than to go home and cuddle up with your girlfriend. Just find a comfy woodpecker hole and cuddle. Maybe even "mate" if she's in the mood. But no, you had to go and get yourself killed. You just had to go for the cig butt across the street. See where it got you?

Oh-oh, a semi approaches. Ohshit-ohshit, I'll be nothing but a furry stain with a cute tail if that big thing hits me.

The eye that's laying mere inches from you sees the birds on the telegraph line. They too are worried about the oncoming Mack. Of course their concern is of selfish hunger, not for you.

Damn the luck.

Now only feet away, the truck shakes and rumbles your world. Sunlight recedes and you can feel the air displacement.

Good-bye cruel forest is your final thought.

Copyright © 2002 by Perry McGee