Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Excerpt - An Animal's Guide to Earthly Salvation

An Animal’s Guide to Earthly Salvation
  Jack R. Johnson

Chapter One

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On the evening before I heard the news, I was worrying about the number of dead dogs in my cages. They were accumulating. If rigor mortis set in, we had to break their legs to get them out.
When I first tried to break one, it was dreadful. I sort of leaned against the leg, hoping by sheer force to make it snap. When Vicki, the other vet assistant, caught me at it, she laughed. Vicki’s a waif, small and studious with a thin, pale, college-student face, burdened with large, pink-rimmed glasses, pale blue eyes and even paler blonde hair.
“Jeff, what are you doing?” She had that concerned look librarians get when they feel a desperate need to intercede in your aimless wanderings through the stacks.
“I can’t get him out. See? His legs are too stiff.” I pinched the toe of the dead Doberman and wiggled his leg to demonstrate. “See?”
“Don’t be stupid. Use something heavy.”
She picked up a fire extinguisher, and with her thin arms, slammed it into the dog’s leg. There was a shocking snap, and the leg caved in on itself.
I thought I was going to be sick.
She pushed up her pink-rimmed glasses thoughtfully. “That’s the way you have to do it.”

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