Animal in Man


Gary Stillman watched the goose fall straight down out of the sky and clip the handle on the rusty pump. Then it tumbled sideways the remaining few feet to the ground and then it lay still. He’d been staring out the window because of having not much else to do. The goose fell about half an hour into his window-staring. It caught his eye as it was the only moving object in the framed bit of world he could see. It was a Canada goose, fallen from heaven and now wrung and dead on the ground. “It’s dead,” he said, and for a moment thousands of anti-stars twinkled black against the midday sky.

Gary stood up abruptly and banged his head against the window frame. “Fuck,” he mumbled and rubbed it pitifully. In the next room the baby started crying, as though spurred by his own pain. He was feeling disgruntled about the whole deal- the goose, the baby, his shoes that had no traction to speak of so he slipped around on the bathroom floor.

He went in and looked at the baby. “Hi, I’m Gary,” he said, extending his hand for it to shake. It was standing up, holding onto the edge of the crib — still crying out of its red, bloated infant-face. The baby wouldn’t shake the hand, and instead just stared at it. Gary said, “nice to meet you.” Still no response. He walked out of the room and the baby wailed even more.

Outside, the wind was picking up and it was starting to smell of autumn. He saw the goose’s feathers rippling in the wind. He walked over and kicked at it a little. It showed no signs of moving, so he picked the bird up to see if he could figure out what caused its fall.

He looked for bullet wounds or broken bones but he couldn’t see anything. Slinging the bird over his shoulder, he headed to the garage to get his shovel.

Filed under Fiction on February 4th, 2004