Carrion, My Wayward Son
by L. Burrow
Or, A Failed Pitch for An Animated Children's Movie
A dog and a coyote screw...what happens next?
So picture this: you're a bastard dogote pup name Cody. After six months of suckling the teat and gormandizing on regurgitated carrion, you venture out of the den and discover that you live in an enchanted forest on the edge of a housing development. You are afraid because you have never been away from your mother, a coyote with a cluster of dingle-berries and a horrid case of halitosis from devouring the carcass of a rabid raccoon. You miss her scent. Your father, a deadbeat golden retriever, wandered into the woods, mounted your mommy by moonlight and never returned. She is all you know.
You meet a rabbit named Rhubarb, and he speaks English just like you. (However, this could be modified for foreign markets.) In fact, your woodland home is teeming with English-speaking flora and fauna, all with different intonations and accents. Rhubarb promises to help you find your mother. You tell him that you are hungry. He teaches you about succulent grasses, luscious leaves and the sweet taste of a stolen carrot.
"We're innocents," Rhubarb chimes. "Our only instinct is love."
"What is love?" you ask.
He giggles and the two of you begin to playfully wrestle. And when it is over, Rhubarb is missing his head and you are soaked in blood. You love the taste.
You leave the forest and go into the suburbs, searching for your mother. You find a strange brightly colored box on the side of the road. You are curious so you paw it open. Inside is a chicken nugget. You eat it and vomit.
Beneath a streetlight, you see your mother scavenging a woodchuck carcass at a crosswalk. Then a shot rings out in the night. Your mother drops, and the pavement turns red. As she bleeds out, she whispers, "Make something of your self, Cody. Seize the day. Eat a good breakfast. Reading is an adventure; math is fun. Just say no. And most importantly, be yourself." Then her tongue goes limp. You cry as the animal control specialist guts her and shampoos the stench from her fur. You follow him, the man with the foxtail moustache, as he then stuffs her with Styrofoam and adorns her next to the senator's fireplace. You wave to her through the window, but she does not respond. Her eyes are glassy.
You grow, get strong and become leader of the pack. Then you meet a female of your species named Monica. She has a maw filled with porcupine quills. Shortly after your balls drop, she produces a litter of five; two of which she eats, one is dragged off by a cougar, another is hit by a car, and the last is always behind you, nipping at your tail. An infection from the quills slowly gnaws at Monica's mind. Gasping and writhing, she warns that you will die in an ironic double-cross. "Teach our son the truth of the world," she gurgles. You begin to weep over her and cannot bear the thought of eating her, although you are hungry. Just then the pup bites you on the ass.
"Son of a bitch," you howl and then reduce the pup to shreds. This last desperate act makes you wonder about your own father.
Woebegone and without a family, you leave the pack, resentful that you have to share in the kill. You want it all for yourself; you denounce the rest as socialists and go off on your own. Determined to live free and unencumbered, you eat alone, you roam alone, and you howl at the moon all by yourself. But still, something is missing.
You feel the need to roam the neighborhood. You visit your mother, but she still does not recognize you. You feel ashamed because you have done nothing with your life. So you begin a month long reign of terror, chasing cars, eating housecats and knocking over garbage cans. One night, in search of a morsel of flesh, you corner a loose lapdog in a section of chain link fence. Frothing and gnashing, you lunge at the Pekinese when a shot is fired over your head. The lapdog runs away as you stand on your hind legs and walk into the light.
"Don't shoot," you yell. "I'm the Mitchell's dog."
The animal control specialist is flabbergasted; he drops his varmint rifle; his mouth is unhinged beneath his thick moustache. You recognize him, the man with the foxtail moustache, but keep it cool and instead turn the conversation to small talk. He is impressed with your eloquence and air of sophistication. You inform him that you regularly read Time magazine, cover to cover. You particularly enjoy the William Kristol columns. He proposes that the two of you take a trip to the local news station and announce to the world that a dog can talk. You neglect to tell him that your mother was a coyote.
You are whisked away in a whirlwind of endorsement deals and speaking engagements. Soon after a nationwide book tour winds down, the Republican Party nominates you to run for Senate in the upcoming election. They are enamored by your kill-or-be-killed-then-feast-on-the-dead rhetoric. You vehemently abhor any social welfare programs because sharing is a fool's game and is contrary to your strict 'survival of the fittest' dogma. But secretly, you want to win so you can live in the house your mother lives in.
You are well on your way until scandal arises. The incumbent senator cites that you were seen rummaging through his trash for chicken bones and blowing kisses to his taxidermy collection. They call it Garbage-gate. A muckraking journalist begins to fact-check your best-selling book. He calls, and you unable identify the breed of your mother. People question your conservative values after you attempt to eat a baby at a televised rally. The "Talking Dog for Senate" signs are taken down. Trouble is coming.
On the eve of the election, you give an impassioned speech to set the record straight, once and for all. You yip and yowl in front of your most passionate supporters, those who were with you from day one. The gathering takes place at the local firing range.
"Yes, it's true: I'm not a pure dog. My mother was a coyote. She taught me a long time ago that it is best to be myself. Does this make me untrustworthy? Maybe. Sure, I've caroused, stolen your sheep, shit in your yards, and even been known to experiment with marijuana from time to time. Hell, I ate my own son. Who hasn't?
"So maybe I've never paid taxes, or put in a day as a working class stiff. Who has? I don't know the price for a gallon of milk because I don't drink milk. I eat road kill. I howl at the moon. As a matter of fact, I firmly disapprove of urban sprawl, and I am afraid, though I am loath to admit this, of firearms and cougar piss. But living in the wild taught me this: you and me, me and you, we're a lot alike. We're all snowflakes---basically the same, but just a little bit different."
No one wants to hear this and you are shot, stuffed and placed alongside your mother.
About the author:
L. Burrow lives in the woods of upstate New York. At night, he listens to the coyotes howl. His work has appeared in, or is due to appear in, First Class, The Big Jewel, Struggle, and Ducts.org.