A hobby for a man

by Phillip Cogger

A perfectly reasonable bird, a Garganey, a small duck. Nothing more than an unflinching, happy duck.

A pale wrist swelters, strangled by a bright gold watch. A pale hand, bulbous from kills, takes the Garganey and squeezes until the ducklings scamper.

The neck breaks, a Garganey dead.

The man walks back through an empty wood where a Garganey dead or alive has never been witnessed. A child with never a bad act to his name plans the demise of the man with a pale, bulbous hand.

Perfect

by Phillip Cogger

She hadn’t always been a beautiful selfish creature. A few times she helped at a local nursing home where a woman thrice her age dribbled and barked instructions at a piss-soaked carpet. That had been an unselfish day. She was simply beautiful.

She wasn’t prone to epiphanies, but once, when she had been forced to slice chewing gum from her hair, she saw the world as she had never seen it before. The gas stations, granola and instant gravy melted away. The credit ratings, mortgages and electronic tin openers, all gone.

Among the miles of green, blue and yellow she imagined a brand new her, a girl buried in grass. She was surrounded by hundreds of locusts, snapping and feeding away. They churned and swallowed until they reached the earth. Down she felt herself go, the more the locusts ate.