The day Margaret left Carl for the butcher at Lorenzo’s Meats, the school board rejected his proposed district-wide vegetarian program. A respected nutritionist for twenty years, Carl worked tirelessly to convince teachers, administrators, parents, and politicians that feeding children meat not only harmed their bodies, but also their minds. It numbed them to the time, cost, misery, and pain required to move food from fetus to lunchroom tray.
Carl hadn’t quite processed either loss, but the program rejection certainly surprised him more. He and Margaret no longer agreed on many things—how to divide household chores, which friends to invite for Sunday dinners, how to spend their modest funds. However, Margaret’s recent gift to their daughter—the mongoose Blink—trumped all other conflicts.
The butcher refused to house illegal contraband, so as Margaret and their daughter swiftly departed, Blink’s care fell to Carl.
He threw carrots in its cage, but the creature just batted them around. An offered bagel dried up in the corner.
Days passed. Blink weakened.
Carl cursed his wife, drove to the pet store, and bought the garter snake. Once home, he held it above the cage. Sweating, Carl reluctantly lowered it into Blink’s waiting, watering jaws.
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