I been raising sharksheep since I was a kid, but I never made a suit before. Sharksheep’s kinda dangerous beasts, what with the big fins on their backs and the razor teeth. Tried to have a petting zoo once, cause they’re fluffy and cute, but the kids kept sticking bubble gum in the wool so I shut the thing down. Sharksheep’s pretty easy to keep if you got some room. Don’t have to feed them, cause they eat each other.
Anyways, I made a suit for my first trip to the city so’s I could vote. There was a damn politician running against the other damn politician, so I had to go say my piece. Was raining something fierce, but sharksheep’s warm and waterproof. I looked a picture in it, with the big fin on my back showin’ them all what a fine man I was.
I get to the town square just as the sky’s clearing up. This damn politician, he says he wants to buy my sharksheep suit. I says no, it’s mine, and he gives me a toothy smile. This damn politician says to hell with me and leaves. I get in line to vote against him, and the other one too. He comes back in an hour with a sharksheep suit of his own. Only this one is a bunch of baby sharksheep sewn together like ermine, with a hundred tiny fins sticking out like spikes.
“How elegant,” sigh the voters.
“How decadent,” scorn the voters.
“I agree with you,” say the voters.
“I don’t, not at all,” shout the voters.
Me, I ask him where he got the baby sharksheep. He says he heard some yokel ran a petting zoo once at his sharksheep ranch, and he just bought the old place for a song. He hands out suits to the voters. They put them on and devour each other, one by one. I lose sight of the politician.
I strip off my suit and stand there naked, so’s not to get eaten. The voters tear my suit into pieces and eat it. They nip at my ankles and legs. Then I think my birthday suit is meat too, for a sharksheep, so I unzip my skin. I crawl out of it and my guts fall to the ground. I walk away, my bones clean and white in the sun.
Originally published in Lenox Avenue (2004).
Copyright © 2004 by Vylar Kaftan. All rights reserved.