Saturday, 24 December 2016

A Good Animal, for Alex

Once there was a small muskrat. This muskrat was named Shelly. It had all the normal features of a muskrat, but it also had a warm belly and piercings in its nostrils. It lived just under grates in the street and it usually slept in the ventilation shafts of the subway systems, where it absorbed vast quantities of heat energy. Some days, the pollution and the noise made Shelly very tired, and they stayed enclosed, in shafts and tunnels. But in other days, on every day they possibly could, Shelly snuck into sleeping bags and blankets and skittered over pavement stones and laid on top of the cold and the sick and the sad. On their way Shelly would pause by worried or frightened or sad or lonesome folks (which is all of us), and play music we had dreamt of loud and spiky and echoing through alleys and up to penthouses of skyscrapers and bouncing along the river that ran through the city. Shelly didn't understand what a pipe was, or a flute or a microwave. But these are all the things Shelly used for beginnings, because Shelly likes to start everything with a deep breath.

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