Paul Espeseth, who was no longer taking the antidepressant Celexa, braced himself for a cataclysm at SeaWorld. He wondered only what form cataclysm would take. Espeseth had tried to veto this trip, making his case to his wife with a paraphrase of a cable-television exposé of the ocean theme park, one that neither he nor his wife had seen. Instead, his wife had performed judo on his argument, saying, “The girls should see these things they love before they vanish from the earth entirely.”
So here he was. The first step, it seemed, involved flamingos. After he had hustled his four-year-old twins through the turnstiles and past the souvenirs, the stuffed-animal versions of the species they’d come to confront in fleshly actuality, his family followed the park’s contours and were met with the birds. Their red-black cipher heads bobbed on pink, tight-feathered stalks, floating above the heads of a crowd of fresh entrants.
“Wait your turn, girls,” his wife said. Yet, seeing that no turns were being taken, Espeseth led Chloe and Deirdre by the hands and together they jostled forward into the mob to find a vantage on the birds. His wife stayed back, tending the double stroller draped with their junk. Closer, Espeseth saw that the birds were trapped on an island, a neat-mowed mound of grass ringed with a small fence and signs saying “Please Do Not Feed.”
“Can you see them?” he stage-whispered down at the girls, as if the clump of exotic birds were something wild spotted in the distance, a flock that could bolt and depart. Really, they’d had some crucial feather clipped, rendering them flightless, the equivalent of crippling an opponent in a fight by slicing his Achilles tendon. The birds had no prospect of retreat from the barrage of screaming families pushing their youngest near enough for a cell-phone pic.
“I’m scared,” Deirdre said.
“They’re scared, too,” he told her. As am I. The flamingos were the first thing for which nothing could have prepared him. Having already watched with his girls a hundred YouTube videos of orcas, having already scissored magazine pictures of orcas and cuddled his children to sleep in beds full of stuffed orcas, Paul Espeseth had hardened his soul in readiness for orcas—their muscular poignancy, their mute drama, the chance that they might in full view and to a soundtrack of inspirational music disarticulate one of their neoprene-suited trainers at the elbow or the neck. But the designers of the park had outsmarted him, softened him up with flamingos, like a casual round of cigarette burns to the rib cage, preceding a waterboarding.
The girls found their boldness and pushed up to the front, then relented, and were supplanted in turn by other eager, deprived children, presenting their faces in what he imagined was for the birds a wave of florid psychosis. In the context of their species, these flamingos were like space voyagers, those who’d return with tales beyond telling. Except that they’d never return. You might as well have immersed the birds in a bathysphere and introduced them to the orcas, or dosed their food with lysergic acid.
“Let’s go,” he said, tugging the twins away. Their morsel hands had begun to sweat in his, or he’d begun to sweat onto them. “There’s a lot . . . else.”
“Orca show!” both girls yelped. It was what they’d come for.
“The show starts at eleven,” he told them. “We’ve got a little time. And there’s stuff on the way. Sharks.” He’d gathered the implications of the map at a glance: short of parachuting in, you couldn’t get to Shamu Stadium without first passing other enticements. He steered for sharks and giant tortoises, if only as a gambit for skirting the Sesame Street Bay of Play, and a roller coaster called Manta. He had standards. SeaWorld should keep the promise of its name: close encounters with fathoms-deep fauna, not birds, not Elmo, not Princess Leia or Cap’n Crunch. He hardly felt in command of his family’s progress here, as they curved on the pathways. He felt squeezed into grooves of expertly predicted responses and behavior, of expenditures of sweat and hilarity and currency from his wallet and also his soul. He was as helpless as a pinball coursing in a tabletop machine. Not one of those simple and friendly, gently decaying machines he’d known in Minneapolis arcades in the seventies, either, but a raging, pulsing nineties-type of pinball machine, half a dozen neon paddles slapping at his brain.
It seemed too much to hope for another Legoland miracle. Two months earlier, Espeseth and his wife and their twin daughters had gone south to visit Legoland. Legoland had been tolerable. Legoland had had variations, textures, edges. It featured some bad zones, including, outstandingly, the bogus municipality called Fun Town, but others were O.K., better than O.K., like the clutch of restaurants on Castle Hill. There, while the twins got their picture taken with the Queen, and jousted on Lego horses riveted to a train track, he’d been able to sneak off to Castle Ice Cream and obtain a double espresso. That had been something. Hidden with his espresso in a shady quadrant of the castle courtyard, he’d silently toasted his daughters as they’d one after the other rounded the rail. Though he supposed he had Legoland to blame: its tolerability had led him too easily into agreeing to SeaWorld, which even on Celexa, he now saw, would have been another prospect entirely.
His shrink, Irving Renker, had given him a warning about the effects of leaching Celexa from his brain. Espeseth had at the time of the conversation been free of the medicine for just two days. He was quitting under Renker’s guidance, such as it was. “Prepare yourself,” Renker told him. “You might see bums and pickpockets.”
“See in the sense of hallucinate?”
“No,” Renker said. “You won’t hallucinate. I mean see in the sense of notice. You may disproportionately notice bums and pickpockets. Creeps. Perverts. Even amputees.”
Irving Renker was a Jewish New Yorker who’d crawled out of his archetype like a lobster from its shell, still conforming to that shell’s remorseless shape but wandering around fresh, tender, and amazed. Renker advocated physical exercise, and could be seen navigating the crests of Santa Barbara’s hills on his bicycle, wearing a helmet and shades as well as an office-ready sweater, blue slacks, and leather-soled shoes. Espeseth had never seen him in the flats, let alone near the beach. He suspected that Renker’s wife did all their grocery shopping. Renker’s office was in an in-law apartment nestled in the scrubby hills behind the psychiatrist’s home, itself raised on stilts to meet the angle of the terrain. Renker’s front-window drapes were always drawn, thwarting curious eyes. Was there a secret intellectual-Jew hovel there, with book-lined shelves, Sigmundian fetish masks, funky, unfumigatable Persian carpets? No way to know. The consultation room was bland: framed abstract watercolors, beige upholstery, brass clock.
Renker’s conversation included, along with the phrases “Keep it simple” and “Don’t overthink,” terms like “black folks,” “Oriental,” “gypped,” and “bum.” Once, as Espeseth reminisced at length about sitting with his three brothers in the front seat of his father’s pickup truck on a fishing expedition, Renker had murmured, “Yes, yes, that’s known as ‘riding Mexican.’ ”
Espeseth never confronted or corrected his shrink. Instead, he’d gently offer examples of appropriate speech, in this case by replying, “Does this mean that the Celexa was, what, making me blind to homeless people? Or more likely to get robbed?”
“It’s a question of emphasis,” Renker said. “You may tend to notice scumbags, to the detriment of those standing to the right and the left of them. I don’t want to suggest you’ll become paranoid, but you may also project scumbaggery onto ordinary people.” That his shrink believed in “ordinary people” was a bad sign if Espeseth dwelled on it; he tried not to. It was what Renker said next that he couldn’t shake off. “In withdrawal from Celexa some patients have described a kind of atmosphere of rot or corruption or peril creeping around the edges of the everyday world, a thing no one but they can identify. A colleague of mine labelled this ‘grub-in-meat syndrome.’ Better to be prepared than have it sneak up on you.”
No one, not shrink Renker, not Espeseth’s wife, certainly not the twins, no human listener outside the containment zone of his skull, knew that Paul Espeseth had renamed himself Pending Vegan. His secret name was a symptom, if it should be considered a symptom, that had overtaken him months before he quit the Celexa. Could it be a side effect? He’d hoped it would abate when he went off the drug. No such luck. Pending Vegan wasn’t completely sorry. His new name was a mortification, yes, but he clung to it, for it also held some promise of an exalted life, one just beyond reach.
How had his researches begun? Espeseth, when that had been his only name, had checked out of Santa Barbara’s public library a popular account of the world’s collapse into unsustainability under the weight of its human population. He’d gone from that to reading several famous polemics against the cruelty of farms and slaughterhouses. Next, a book called “Fear of the Animal Planet,” which detailed acts of beastly revenge upon human civilization. It was then that Espeseth felt himself becoming Pending Vegan. A knowledge had been born inside him, the development of which only inertia and embarrassment and conformity could slow. Fortunately or unfortunately, Pending Vegan was rich in these delaying properties.
The great obstacle would be in explaining his decision to his daughters. Pending
Vegan admired Chloe’s and Deirdre’s negotiation between their native animal-love and the pleasures of meat-eating. It struck him as a hard-won sophistication, something like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s capacity to keep two opposed ideas in mind at the same time. The girls’ early rites of passage seemed to consist mainly of such paradox-absorbing efforts. That, for instance, Mommy and Daddy fought but loved each other. That human beings were miraculous and shyness ought to be overcome, yet also that they should violently distrust the too eager stranger as a probable monster. That an hour of television or the iPad should be judged an intoxicating surfeit, while parents binged on screens at every opportunity. Pending Vegan routinely spent three hours sitting on the couch, watching his football team lose. The Vikings, talisman of his ancestral roots. Yet, unlike the Redskins and the Chiefs, they never had their name and logo criticized as racist. No one felt sorry for white people, which might explain his fascination with Jews, who seemed to have it both ways. Had Irving Renker been eavesdropping on Pending Vegan’s thoughts, he would have chortled. Quit drifting.
Civilizing children was pretty much all about inducing cognitive dissonance. His daughters’ balancing of their desire both to cuddle and to devour mammals was their ticket for entry to the human pageant. If Pending Vegan admitted to them that he now believed it wrong to eat animals—even while he still craved the tang of smoky steaks and salt-greasy bacon—he’d lower himself, in their eyes, to a state of childlike moral absolutism. Or perhaps it would be in his own eyes? He’d been Pending now for six months. Some otherworldly future inquisitor, most likely a pearly-gates sentinel with the head of a piglet or a calf, would hold him accountable for this delay, a thing comparable to the period when the Allies had learned of the existence of the death camps yet checked their moral outrage against military-tactical considerations. Nothing had changed in his eating habits or other behaviors. He hadn’t distributed pamphlets or obtained a bumper sticker. Nothing had changed, except that he had awarded himself a secret name.
Boiling in shame, he led his family into the shark-observation area, trudging onto a moving walkway behind other families and their strollers. Another piece of coercive architecture, the passage tunnelled beneath the sharks’ tanks, illuminating the creatures from below, the better to consider their white bellies and jack-o’-lantern grimaces. It struck him now that the park’s design was somehow alimentary. You were being engulfed, digested, shit out.
“I’m scared,” Deirdre said.
“But I’m not,” Chloe said.
Pending Vegan didn’t presume to speak for the sharks. He pointed instead at the glimmer ahead, as the moving walkway ground them out of the darkness.
“Daddy?” Chloe said.
“Are dolphins and killer whales really people’s pets that went back into the sea?”
“Not pets,” Pending Vegan said. “Wild animals. Like pigs.” He shuddered at the proliferating confusion: the girls knew pigs as farm animals. Just that morning he’d been surreptitiously reading a blog named The Call of the Feral. The classes of the subjugated: Pet, Domesticated, Feral, Wild . . .
“Why can’t we have a pet?” Chloe asked.
Pending Vegan’s wife turned to him. He avoided her eyes, but felt them anyway.
“Your father doesn’t like pets,” his wife said.
“Almost time for the eleven-o’clock show!” he said, desperate to change the subject. And so they slugged out of the shark gallery’s gullet into daylight.
All of SeaWorld was squirming.
Grub-in-meat syndrome, the suggestion that Renker had unhelpfully planted, was itself a grub squirming in the meat of Pending Vegan’s mind.
They’d had a Jack Russell terrier, a neutered two-year-old male named Maurice that they’d adopted from a shelter, a total freaking maniac whom his wife had adored and he—well, Pending Vegan had also adored the dog, though it had been like living with a puzzle he couldn’t solve. Maurice moved at bewildering speeds, leaped vertically like an illegal firework, demanded everything, and invaded all their most intimate spaces. And then—and this, the reason that any mention of pets on the part of the girls chastened him, and the reason that his wife’s gaze froze his blood—when Pending Vegan had seen the dog’s behavior around his pregnant wife, he’d banished Maurice from their lives. The dog had been too attentive, too obsessed with her pregnancy, curling itself along her stomach at night as if hatching the twins with its own heat. Maurice had begun snapping at Pending Vegan when he approached his own marital bed. In the third trimester, he’d taken the dog back to the shelter, and though this was barely forgivable, perhaps not forgivable at all, after the babies came Maurice was never mentioned again.
The girls had no way of knowing they’d been womb-cuddled by Maurice, unless their mother one day told them. Chloe and Deirdre instead stanched their mammalian craving with Pixar creatures. Driving here, they’d been attention-glued to video screens mounted on the backs of their parents’ headrests. This spared them the sameness of I-5, its repetitious suburban exits, noise-barrier walls, and dead yellowed hills. Near San Diego, a road sign showed a silhouette of a fleeing Mexican family, like moose or deer, not to be hit in their illegal flight across the freeway’s five lanes. Pending Vegan felt blessed to be excused from explaining it.
Family life, a cataclysm of solitudes.
As a boy he’d endured back-seat travel without the help of movies. Instead he’d directed his gaze out the family station wagon’s windows, past a zillion miles of the Chippewa National Forest, the U.P., and southern portions of Ontario and Manitoba. As a ten-year-old, in his ecology phase, he’d invented a time-killing game, known, like his new name, only to himself. In this fantasy, Espeseth’s parents’ car featured a long invisible knife, like the wing of a plane, which could extend or retract from the side of the station wagon according to his mental instructions. He and his parents were only pretending to be nobodies, the sole Protestant family from the suburb nicknamed St. Jewish Park. In truth, they were emissaries from another world, sent to reclaim the landscape from the intrusions of the human species. He alone was orchestrating the blade, which shot out to lop off each electrical pole and road sign, and retracted to spare as many trees as possible in the effort. Houses, and other cars, it sliced through mercilessly. His fantasy even included an alibi-providing element of delay, which explained both his not getting to see the glorious destruction he’d wreaked and why no human authority was able to locate and neutralize the mysterious force that tore through his surroundings: the sliced objects fell apart five minutes after his family’s car passed by. By this method, the earth would be returned to the flora and fauna.
Lately the image of the invisible blade had returned to Pending Vegan. It would come at the sight of some architectural abomination, or a roadside blighted with billboards. SeaWorld, however, was impervious to the fantasy. Had he begun slicing up this labyrinth of discord, he’d merely murder the creatures trapped within it. By the logic of his childhood fantasy the blade would free the tortoises and the sharks and the porpoises from their tanks, to pour out and die gasping in sunlight on the concrete walkways.
Once inside Shamu Stadium, contra Renker, Pending Vegan noticed no bums and pickpockets. In Shamu Stadium he noticed furloughed military. The soldiers between rotations, out for a day trip with their families, their unfamiliar young children and stoical neglected wives, to see the killer whales. They were knowable by their short haircuts and bicep tattoos, by the wary swivel of their thickened necks. In their upright stolidity it was as though various civilian bodies had all been poured into the same unforgiving mold. Ethnicities reduced to traces in the soldiers were more tangible in the wives and children—in Renkerian terms, mostly black folks, Mexicans, and Orientals. Maybe even a scattering of Gypsies? How to know? Simplify, simplify.
Perhaps it was the servicemen who would provide the calamity that Pending Vegan’s nervous system shrieked for. He envisioned helicopter footage, yellow tape, SWAT teams milling beside inconsolable families. The stadium was a Mayan temple, one waiting for some sacrifice in the blue pool below. Yet, trapped here with five thousand others, Pending Vegan felt for the moment stilled in his crisis. If his voyage through SeaWorld’s tubes and tunnels was a sort of peristalsis, he’d reached its multi-chambered stomach.
And, after the insipid triumphalist overture of music and video and prancing androgynous spandex, when the orcas finally entered the arena and began their leaping, SeaWorld was overwritten by their absolute and devastating presence. By their act of stitching two realms together, sky and water, merely for the delight of a stadium full of children—children who, in response, leaped, too, and vibrated in their seats, and gurgled incoherently, practically speaking in tongues. Other kids, older and more intrepid than his own, raced down to the plastic barrier to be splashed, to stand with their arms flapping. The killer whales, with their Emmett Kelly eyes, were God’s glorious lethal clowns. Their plush muscular bodies were the most unashamed things Pending Vegan had ever seen. Like panda bears redesigned by Albert Speer. Always with the Holocaust references, Renker once said. Why don’t you leave that to us?
The twins sat between him and his wife, holding hands, their eyes wide, their incorruptible appetites overwhelmed.
“Deirdre’s scared,” Chloe said.
“No, I’m not,” Deirdre said. She spoke dreamily, not taking her eyes from the pool. Pending Vegan ached to enclose the girls in some kind of protective partition extending from his damaged soul. But the girls were not enclosable, as the stadium was not enclosable, as the world was not. They were all open to the sky, to whatever rays leaked down through the flayed atmosphere. The girls were open to the sky and to killer whales leaping through their undefended hearts. And, anyhow, Pending Vegan had no protective partition extending from his soul. Such a thing was as imaginary as the retractable blade extending from his parents’ station wagon.
What would the killer whales mean to the girls when they eventually learned the facts of the case? The injuries of the world stacked up everywhere, patiently waiting for his daughters’ attention. One day they’d find all the documentaries and Web sites on their own. You may be prone to notice your children, Renker should have warned him.
“Yes, we’re all white, but we’re post-racial white.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the twins, a mystery: Pending Vegan’s wife. She with whom he’d once practically merged. Then, as if he’d bumped into her and knocked off two pieces, the twins had appeared. In the past year, she’d become opaque, as though deliberately to spare him. Her human outline now contained what Pending Vegan had named, in conversation with Renker, “the cloud of unknowing.” She’d ushered him into the Celexa odyssey, and abided with him through it, but what now? Was her long-deferred judgment about to fall?
Emerging from Shamu Stadium, Pending Vegan felt he could withstand his wife’s judgment, as he could withstand SeaWorld, as SeaWorld could withstand itself. Neither the veterans nor the orcas nor he had wigged out and chomped or bayonetted anyone. If the orca show was the climax, the test, oughtn’t they depart? He yearned for the petty solaces of the motel, his family sorted onto twin doubles, with room-service club sandwiches, more pay-per-view Disney.
“So,” he said, clapping his hands together. “Find the parking lot?”
“These are all-day tickets,” his wife said. “Rebecca’s mom told us not to miss out on the pet show.”
“I’m hungry,” he said.
“The pet show, the pet show!” the girls chanted.
“There’s food here,” his wife said crisply. “And we drove here and paid for all-day entry. The girls have waited months.” This time Pending Vegan’s wife found his eyes before he could avert, and he was enveloped in the Cloud of Unknowing.
The next pet show began at one, so they parked their stroller in a shady spot and Pending Vegan went looking for something edible. He found a pizzeria, but the wait for a table was impossible, and he couldn’t imagine pushing into its dark interior even to order something to take away. Outside the restaurant, however, a man grilled turkey legs at a stand. The drumsticks looked oddly primal—this wasn’t Medieval Times, after all!—but the odor of the seared meat set Pending Vegan to slavering.
See food, eat food.
Sea World, Eat World.
The instant he made the purchase he regretted it. The drumsticks were meat waste, discarded by some factory farm in preference for the breast product. SeaWorld might as well be selling horse’s hooves, or pickled cow eyeballs. Still, he walked it back to the stroller, feeling like Fred Flintstone. Under his wife’s incredulous gaze he tore shreds off the huge cartilaginous drumstick to feed to the girls, like a mother bird to nested fledglings. The crackling greasy skin came off whole and, once removed, was too revolting to do anything with other than discard. The girls washed the meat down with orange juice. Paper napkins stuck and tore on their faces and fingers.
With fifteen minutes still to spare, they diverted to the bat-ray petting tank. As with the flamingos, Pending Vegan had to jostle the twins to the front for their chance to immerse their hands in the shallow, waist-high tank and let the blunt, rubbery rays slip beneath them. The girls gasped at the sensation. This might be what it would feel like to touch a killer whale. Here might be the true connection at last, the thing they’d really come for, and for a moment again the barriers all vanished for Pending Vegan, the turkey eyeballs forgotten, the piped-in music turned to something transporting, as if from the distant spheres.
For some reason the tank full of eloquent rays also housed a horny, knuckle-faced sturgeon. A sign warned those petting the rays not to try to touch the sturgeon. Pending Vegan, in his rapture, tried to touch it. The fish’s furrowed brow seemed to want his consolation. The sturgeon in response snapped its jaws up at him where he stood amid so many merry children, his own and others. Pending Vegan jerked backward in fear. The sturgeon continued on its course, grub within the meat of the ray tank.
“Did you see that?” he asked his daughters and anyone else who might bear witness.
“See what?” Chloe said.
“The sturgeon! It practically barked at me!”
“Daddy,” Chloe said affectionately.
The pet show had a stadium of its own, a smaller arena, basically a set of bleachers mounted before a stage featuring ladders, windows, obstacle courses, and giant plastic sculptures of a milk bottle and a bright-red sneaker. Unlike the seats in Shamu Stadium, those here were sparsely filled, and Pending Vegan and his wife and children found places in the third row. After only a moment the show began. In a sort of pre-credit sequence, a stream of dogs and house cats coursed out of various trapdoors over the AstroTurf stage, followed by a pig, an ostrich, and a string of ducklings, to the tune of “Who Let the Dogs Out?” The dogs jumped on a seesaw and flipped miniature plastic burgers at a fake stove. The cats climbed a rope. The twins were enthralled. One of the dogs pulled a lever to release a rolled-up banner that read, in nails-on-chalkboard font, the show’s title: “Pets Rule!”
“That’s a classic example of Hitler’s Big Lie technique right there, wouldn’t you say?” Pending Vegan said.
“What is?” his wife said.
“‘Pets Rule!’ They don’t. They just… don’t. I hate it here.”
“We’re complicit with a well-recognized nightmare.”
“I’ve never seen any criticism of the pet show.”
That’s because everyone’s too busy scrubbing their brains of aesthetic and moral calamity, he wished to say. After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Instead he said, “That sturgeon back there almost took my finger off.”
“Too late, I think.”
“What, for the fish to eat my finger?”
“No, I mean too late for you and the fish to get on ‘60 Minutes,’ since this place already had its media moment.”
An m.c. in a baseball costume and a headset microphone emerged and began introducing the pet show. Some failed actor, Pending Vegan supposed. His headshot having landed on SeaWorld’s human-resources desk, the kid was fated to deliver this obnoxious script five times daily. He described the Pet Olympics, in which the trained dogs would compete, then gave the star performers’ names as each appeared, beckoning to the children in the crowd to clap and squeal at each shameless antic.
“All our dogs are rescue animals,” he explained. “They train for up to three years before making their début in ‘Pets Rule!,’ and you’re very lucky, because we have a ‘Pets Rule!’ rookie débuting today, a great little guy named Bingo. When I bring him on I want you to appreciate that he’s going in front of a crowd for the first time, so I hope you’ll give Bingo your love, give him your warmest reception—”
Bingo was a Jack Russell terrier. He seemed, at first, ready for prime time, flipping over twice, then operating with his jaw a bright-red wrench on an outsized fire hydrant, resulting in a burst of water that sprayed over a bystander piglet and into the faces of the first-row spectators, who screamed in pleasure. He stood on his hind legs, grinning widely, to gobble a discreet reward from the palm of the m.c. Then the new dog bounded from the stage, scrambled over the first two rows of seats, and into Pending Vegan’s arms. There Bingo begin frantically licking and nibbling Pending Vegan’s chin and lips, with tiny sharp nips mixed in behind the swirling tongue.
“Bingo!” the m.c. called from the stage. The wet piglet wandered off erratically, but chortling music continued to pour from the speakers, lending an atmosphere of hilarity. The dog now applied itself furiously to Pending Vegan’s nostrils. Whether this was part of the show or not Pending Vegan was undecided. Chloe and Deirdre responded with delight, reaching to fondle the dog that pressed their father back in his seat. His wife touched the dog, too, and Pending Vegan felt her arm graze his stomach, the first time in months. Others in their row shrank slightly away.
It was their former animal, rescued once and abandoned, rescued a second time and trained, now restored to them. Bingo was Maurice, Pending Vegan understood. Like him, the dog had two names. It had recognized Pending Vegan immediately, and leaped from the stage to apologize for having abandoned their family, the man and the woman and the twin girls who were now on the outside of the wife’s body instead of the inside, where Maurice had last known them. The dog had come to honor the alpha in his former pack. With his animal cunning Maurice perceived that Pending Vegan was off the drug now. Unless that was insane. It was insane. The ostrich had ducked from behind a curtain and goose-stepped to the lip of the stage, obviously off cue. The pet show was in tatters. An ostrich was not a pet.
Pending Vegan’s crimes had a life of their own, yet the dog would, in its automatic way, offer absolution, especially given hands smeared with turkey juice. Pending Vegan’s crimes screamed to the infinite horizon. Quit globalizing, said the Irving Renker in Pending Vegan’s head, as the terrier’s frantic tongue drilled into the webbing between his fingers.
*This story was taken from: Lucky Alan. Copyright © 2015 by Jonathan Lethem.