Hookers! You can spend the night, if you don’t steal shit.
Girls! You can call me yours, as long as you believe it
~ Lyrics by Ricky Butcher
I am currently sitting in a lawyer’s orifice. I just signed all the papers for the bankruptcy thingummy. We are now just waiting to meet one of the owners, so he can assess whether or not to car bomb us for the insurance money on our way out of the building, or whatever it is he wants to see me for.
All things considered, I’m doing all right. Had a really good day yesterday. Took care of Baby for the day, while M went and got his tattoo done by Famous-Artist-Whose-Name-I-Can’t-Remember, who is in town for the tattoo convention...
..hmmm. It’s two days later. I have just crawled out of bed, at 9:30 pm. Which is very misleading, because I only crashed there a couple of hours ago, but I am absolutely exhaur-sted. Lately, Ol’ Dick Nuts has been making a reappearance on the scene, so after dinner tonight, while he and I were dukeing it out whether or not I was going to eat the contents of the entire house, I gracefully copped out of the fight by lying down on my bed and falling asleep.
I was actually asleep before my head hit the pillow. Today was kind of a big day, it was my first day volunteering at the Wildlife Reserve. Ha ha! Everyone else there is all granola and studious, and in comes the tattooed and pierced stripper. Luckily, all the animals checked their prejudice at the door, and so did the two people that I worked with today.
Well, that, or they did a good job pretending that they did.
When I got there, late, of course, cuz I got lost (I’ve only been out there FOUR TIMES, after all), I met Emmy, who is a student from the nearby town who has been volunteering there for the past few years. Emmy wasn’t too granola-y, in fact she has a beautiful face and flawless, alabaster skin, though the rest of her was shrouded in horrible black sweat pants - loose in the legs, but gathered at the ankle. (I don’t care if we are working in animal dung, 80‘s black sweat pants are never okay.) She smiled and introduced herself when Billy and I came into the orifice, Billy’s plastic neck cone getting caught on the door as he tried to propel himself at her with lightning speed. She obliged him and fussed over him, recognizing him from his stint as a client in the doggy kennel. The manager, Mike, was off at the local Safeway, getting the bear food (umm...at Safeway?), so Emmy gave me a couple of kennel dogs to walk around the property.
The first two were precious little things, under ten pounds and scruffy, like my little Moo. The smaller of the two, MoneyPenny, was absolutely terrified of Billy, even though he is the most gentle pooch in the world. She had to be carried out of her kennel, yelping like a rape alarm, poor thing. But once they had sniffed each other out and we got under way, she got a lot better. She stuck by me most of the time, though occasionally she would sneak up behind Billy and try to sniff his arse while he wasn’t looking, though whenever he turned around, she would shriek and come running back to me. It was hilarious.
Seriously, it was like walking Paris Hilton or something. The level of drama was unbelievable.
When the little ones were back in their beds, I got to take my first Labradoodle out for a spin. Whoo hoo! Those dogs are fucking NUTS. It took both Emmy and I to hold Soba down just to get the collar and leash on him. He wasn’t mean or aggressive, he was just so fucking HYPER, like LET’S FUCKING GO! As soon as I opened the door, Soba took off so fast that he actually pulled me off my feet and sent me flying after him for several steps, before I managed to dig my feet into the earth and reign him in.
“Have fun!” Emmy waved from the office.
“Tha-” I started to say, but Soba was distracted by a draft of air, and had taken off again.
He was actually a really sweet dog, just so unbelievably hyper. He would be stopped sniffing something along the road, then, once he was sniffed out, he would take off again like I had just fired a starting gun. Bam! He would explode away from whatever he had been sniffing, yanking me off the ground for a few paces until I could dig in.
Stupid dog, thought. I.
I decided to try and head him off at the pass. Teach this boy a little respect for his elders.
The next time Soba stopped to sniff something, I bent my legs and dug my toes into the earth. He wasn't going to get me off the ground this time!
That’ll learn him, I thought gleefully, as I waited for him to take off at full speed.
He looked up from whatever he was sniffing, and walked away, calm as could be.
“Hey,” I said, and released the lock on the retractable leash. “How did you know that I -”
Boom! He ran off, once again yanking me off my feet.
Clever little fucker! How did he know?
I tried a few more times on our way back to the kennels, but he got me every time.
Eventually, I got him back in his own kennel, and Emmy took me on a tour of the place. Even though Mike had already shown me around, I was pretty sure we were just killing time while we waited for him to get back from Safeway, so I followed her around.
First thing we did? Was to feed the moose and deer!
How fucking cool is that? The moose wasn’t that tame, but the deer were. They’d come right up to you, you could pet them and scratch behind their ears and feed them. The moose was more anti-social, in that you go into the field, dump the food, and get the fuck outta there, but we stood just outside the enclosure and watched while everybody ate.
Well, the moose ate. The deer tried to sneak food out from under her when she wasn’t looking. When she was looking, though, they were in big trouble. She would stamp her feet or rear up or charge at them, and they would all scatter as quickly as they could.
It was so weird, the food that they gave them - oranges, limes, tomatoes, green peppers. I watched the moose eat orange after orange, and the deer fight over the green peppers, and just thought, huh. How many green peppers do deer eat in the wild?! But they loved them.
While we were walking back to one of the houses, a silver SUV came down the drive, and stopped by the garage. We stopped walking and watched as a man in black spandex pants and a blue zip-up fleece got out, followed by his awkward, leather-jacketed teenaged son.
“Hi, we’ve brought the rabbit hutch from the Boy Scouts?” he called to us, as Billy ran up to him, excited to have more people present to fuss over him.
“Oh yes, hi,” Emmy called back, and we made our way over.
Father and son opened the trunk of the SUV to reveal a wood-and-wire contraption of some sort. I looked from father to son, trying to see similarities between the two, but couldn’t. Dad was friendly and chatted a lot, but the boy was obviously in the torturous throes of puberty, and couldn’t look Emmy or I in the eyes for fear of getting an erection (or whatever).
The Dad was himself an interesting specimen. In any other context, I would have thought he was gay - just the lisp and the effeminate hand gestures, and of course, the spandex pants. (Why?) But then he kept addressing me, even after Emmy told him that it was my first day as a volunteer, that basically I was a nobody and didn’t know shit. He kept talking only to me. And when she brought the two of them up to see the bears, he kept trying to engage me in conversation.
“So, you’re volunteering here?” he said, interrupting Emmy’s speech on the Swift Fox breeding program.
“Yea,” I mumbled.
“Great,” he enthused. An awkward silence followed, and I wandered away.
What is it about me that makes me look so approachable? Is it the facial piercings? The tattoos? The black hair and nail polish? What?
I’ve been told before that my dimples are very becoming, that I must smile a lot. I like to point out that they are not actually dimples, they are scars from two piercings that went septic. Ha!
Anyway. It was a different experience for me, to want to fade into the background and not be the one chosen to receive all the glory and the attention, like I usually do. That’s part of stripping, I guess - there are so many girls at work, you are always trying to stand out, to be noticed, to be chosen over the others. And usually, I win. Not to sound like a dick (though I know I do), but that's why I eat so little and work out so much and put so much effort into my goddamn appearance - I don't want to be left behind. I don't want to be appraised, then discarded. But in this context, I was actually kinda embarrassed. I couldn’t help but think, Dude, please, I really want this girl to like me. Please stop looking at me.
Eventually, they left, and to my immense relief, Emmy didn't seem to give a shit, this way or that. Maybe she thought the Dad was gay, too. Which doesn't say much for me, but whatever.
Mike came back from Safeway with food for the bears, plus an extra surprise!
He and Emmy sure were excited about it, whatever it was. So was Billy, in fact. I had gone up to my car to get my snack, and was eating it as I made my way back down to the garage. I could hear Emmy and Mike talking excitedly about what a lucky find it was.
Billy came running up to greet me, and I noticed there was blood on the cone around his neck. I gasped and grabbed my dog to check him over, but was relieved to find that the blood was on the outside of the cone.
Strangey, I thought, and walked over to the garage. I had been careful not to touch Billy with my right hand, so I could keep eating my apple.
“Oh Kage, come and see what we’ve got!” Mike said excitedly, and gestured to the back of the truck.
I took another bite of my apple, walked over to the truck, and looked inside the bed.
A tarp was laying over the body of a dead deer, with the blood and end trails seeping out the sides.
"Fuck!" I screamed, and dropped my apple.
“No, no, it’s okay,” Mike said, and looked at Emmy in surprise. “It’s roadkill. We use it to feed our animals. Meat is so expensive and we can’t afford it very often, so this is a very special treat for our wildlife kids.”
“Ah, that’s grand,” I smiled weakly. “I think I’ll go throw up.”
I went and sat down on a tree stump while they disposed of the body. Billy came running up to me for some cuddles, but I was soooo not interested in kissing him after he had been licking the deer blood off of Mike’s truck. Emmy took him aside and cleaned him up for me, thank Christ. I prolly wouldn’t have let him back in my car to drive back home.
With the rotting carcass of an innocent animal evenly dispersed amongst the carnivorous, we were able to get back to work, separating all the old produce from Safeway into bins for the animals - grapes, berries, apples, peaches, bananas, all the sweet stuff went to the bears; tomatoes, lettuce, and green peppers went to the deer; mushrooms, onions, radishes, and tomatoes went to the bison.
My last duty of the day was to help Mike feed the bears - well actually, he also asked if I wanted to help him get the skunks out of the chicken coop, before I took off. I laughed and laughed. And laughed some more.
Feeding the bears was cool. I had to climb up on a platform, and toss the fruit as far as I could, so that the bears would have to look for them. It was fun, whipping them at the trees and watching them tumble down, occasionally smashing onto rocks and exploding into a million pieces. The bears were so cute, they ran after the fruit that they wanted and crammed them into their mouths, gnawing away at them while the other fruit went zinging over their heads.
And that was the end of my first day there. On the way home, I decided to take a detour, and check Strange World Tattoo again, to see if it was open. This time, it was. So I went in, and actually talked to the guy, and told him what I want (not the anorexic girl, something else). He said he could do it, and I booked a time for this Friday.
It is done! Finally.