So this one came from a writing prompt from a tumblr that, unsurprisingly, posts writing prompts. I find them helpful when I am in a slump or when I want to practice being directed. Sometimes, the freedom to write whatever you want is kind of paralysing –I crave limits despite my love of chaos.
Anyhow, check this one out, if you like.
“Yes, taxidermy,” she said. “And don’t say it like I’m a serial killer. It’s just a hobby.”
The date had been going horribly for Delilah. She had read three National Geographic magazines cover to cover so she would have something to talk about besides herself. Ryan didn’t have much to add to her recounting of how Egypt had undergone a return to tradition –a backwards renewal of sorts–because of how well the conquered Nubians took to their oppressors culture. He agreed it was fascinating, but his mechanical engineering or his time with the Big Brothers foundation didn’t expose him to the finer points of historical Egyptian foreign policy.
And how often can you start a story with “I saw this picture…” really?
So she had done what she’d been told by the television shows that had raised her –she started being herself. She was already having a sweaty, awkward experience. It couldn’t get worse.
“Yeah, I get the pelts and skeletons online. The eyes too,” she said, now leaning back in her chair. “I tried to clean some myself, but it got too weird.” She thought about telling him about the ripping sound that squirrel skin makes coming off a carcass, but decided not to. Save that for the second date I’ll never have, she thought as she laughed inwardly.
“I bet,” Ryan said. “Is it expensive? You know, to get animal parts in the mail?”
“I sense you’re mocking me.” Delilah said plainly.
“No, no. Listen. It’s just kind of…” Ryan smiled as he spoke.
“Fucked up?” Delilah offered with raised eyebrows.
“Oh yeah, fucked up, for sure. But also, like, pretty cool,” Ryan said, “You get to rebuild an animal. I would try to improve it all the time, I think.”
Ryan said that he had never heard of a jackalope, so Delilah explained the beast and they laughed about it. They talked about how making cryptids was frowned upon at taxidermy conventions. One of them made a joke about the judges being too stuffy. They tried to tell the waiter about the jackalope when he approached them. He smiled, trying to look interested, as they ordered their third round.
Later that year, Ryan sent Delilah a small pair of antlers and a rabbit skull for her birthday.