Surviving This

by Anthony Shepherd

He doesn't know the humane way to kill a rabbit, having never needed to know before tonight. And it bothers him greatly to discover that it's come to this, that he's been reduced to capturing and killing his own food like a simple savage. Earlier in the year, after the factory foreman had said "George, we're going under," and after Crystal had later told him, "I'm taking the boys to go live with my mother," and after the bank had finally sent him that letter with the words Foreclosure Notice printed at the top in bold, he had had a great romantic vision of disappearing underground, bucking the system by dropping out of it, to wander the country like Kerouac and grow fat off soup kitchen handouts. But he only made it as far as the old train yard just outside of town, where he'd set up camp that first night, and he quickly learned that soup kitchens never have enough to go around. So now he works diligently and does the first thing that comes to mind - he holds the creature tightly by the middle and smacks its head against a rusting box car with one loud thump, then a second, and a third, until it no longer kicks or bites or makes that horrible noise like screeching tires across wet pavement. He never wanted to kill anything, and the cruel brutality of it all is almost enough to make him sick; but once it's all finished, and once the smell of roasting meat restores his appetite, he finds solace in learning that he can survive even this.


Anthony Shepherd thinks too much and acts too little, but that's beginning to change. To feel good about himself, he either keeps company with grown men who enthusiastically play with dolls, or with those anxiously awaiting the zombie apocalypse. He is nearly 30.