A Medium-Sized Mammal Native to North America
Frank Hinton

Frank spends a lot of time in the kitchen at the laptop. His girlfriend Lili makes supper and they talk and she goes back and forth between the fridge and the stove and he goes back and forth between their conversation and his writing. She pulls chicken from a bone. He looks at Facebook. Lili has a really great body and she's fit. Frank is okay. Frank eats a lot of apples as snacks and does a lot of crunches.

"It's thirty-five dollars per racoon," Lili says.

"Shitty. I thought it was just thirty-five flat. Do they kill them?" Frank asks.

"They let them go."

Frank types a story.

The catcher picks up his trap. There's a big fat female in there. It looks scared. It has those soft, sorry eyes that twinkle. Raccoons are able to affect a particular kind of pity with their eyes. The catcher goes to his other trap. There's a big fat male raccoon in there. He's scared too and his eyes are all wet around the socket fur. Big, black round, wet twinkles. The catcher picks up the traps and leaves. The baby raccoon watches from a bush, its eyes the most pathetic and sorrowful of all. Just to narrate— 

Frank listens to Lili slide chicken from a cutting-board into a pan. Sizzle. She's so sexy. Her ass is so round. She stirs the pan and she's got a round, plump ass. Frank thinks about selling his raccoon story idea to Disney Pixar.

"Lone Coon," he says.

Lili turns around holding the garlic press. "Stick em up mother-fucker." She holds the press like a gun. "Motherfucker."

"Cocksucking mother-fucking fucker," Frank says not looking up from the computer screen. Lili wiggles her hips. She turns back to the stove. Frank opens up a new document in Google Docs.

He writes.

They were two zen Buddhists once hopelessly in love, now shadows of that. Zoom in on an empty tea cup, wet bag sopping on the bottom. Cluttered apartment. Books by Osho, Alan Watts, D.T Suzuki. Grape vines block light from entering the window. Incense ash in several burners, uncollected and nearly weightless. Upstairs the once-in-love zen Buddhists hump but there is nothing tantric about it. They climax on the most base level. Neither of them meditate anymore. There are no entities, only processes.

Frank stands up and cracks bones in his body. Steam is coming from a pan on the stove. Frank goes over to Lili and touches her butt. "Let's play raccoons," he says and slaps her. He tries to make his eyes twinkle. He holds them under the steam. Lili picks up the garlic press. "Bang." Frank falls to the ground. The dog comes in to the kitchen and licks Frank's face. The dog can't go outside because of the raccoon traps in the yard. The raccoons have dug their yard up. Dozens of divots. Lili stands over Frank. She dances. Frank pretends he's stargazing.

"There are no entities, only processes," Frank says.

"Can you move the laptop?" Lili asks. "Set the table."

Frank gets up and headbutts Lili's ass. Then he slaps it. She stirs the pan. Frank sets the table and checks his email on his Iphone. He writes a tweet with eight chars to spare. Lili finishes supper and puts steaming plates on to the table. They eat.

"I'm really tired," Frank says.

"I'm horny," Lili says.

"Raccoon meat."

They eat and don't say anything. Frank licks rice off of his plate. Frank puts the dishes in the sink.

"I'm going to meditate while I wash the dishes," Frank says.

"Don't talk to me while I wash the dishes," Frank says.

Frank washes the dishes really slowly. He tries to stem the river of thoughts in his mind. He thinks about being a watcher. He watches himself from someplace not far off and above washing the dishes. He thinks, Frank is washing the dishes. He lets the thought slip away. The water in the sink gets brown. Lili has her pants off. She's picking at a mole. The dog is sleeping by the patio door. Frank thinks, There are no objects, only events.

Frank dries the dishes, meditatively. Lili sweeps, pantless. The kitchen gets clean. It's dark outside. Raccoons are waking up and crawling over the lawn. They smell bread and peanut butter. They see it laid out for them in a shiny little cage.

Frank takes his clothes off and he and Lili go in to the bedroom. A trap on the back lawn snaps and the dog growls at the window.

In the bedroom Frank says, "Lone Coon."

They stream Intervention from AETV.com and they watch each other and smoke a joint in their bed. Frank tells Lili not to blow smoke directly at the laptop. The man on the episode of Intervention that they are watching is addicted to crystal meth. Frank repeats everything he says.

"I just woke up really sad this morning," the meth addict says.

"I just woke up really sad this morning," Frank says.

Lili cries at the end of the intervention and Frank laughs at her a little. He kisses her and goes into the kitchen. Frank pours her a glass of water and puts it by her bed stand. Frank goes outside while brushing his teeth and sees a raccoon scrambling around in a cage.

"You tore up my fucking lawn you fuck," Frank says to the raccoon.

The raccoon says nothing. Frank can't see the thing's eyes in the darkness.

Frank Hinton lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She edits Metazen.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201101mammal.htm

Detail of illustration on main page courtesy of somethingr.

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