TROPHY • by J F Taylor

A miasmic rhythm blundered and stumbled through the worn out headset that should have been retired along with the dull knife in Jake’s hand. Everything in his life was beaten and abused in some form or fashion.  He didn’t care though; at least he had a life. He was a far cry better off than the fucking animals that stared at him from around the room. One way or another they had all wound up at the wrong end of some type of weapon. Bow and arrow, rifle, pistol, hell one of his customers had even used a blow gun.

Dead was dead, no matter how it came to gnash its festering stinking mouth around you. It was always the same. That spark in the eye fades, a final breath is heaved, and then who knows? There was always the old debate about whether animals had any soul or not. But that was where Jake came in. It was his job to give them back that flicker of soul, so that the trophy hunter could look at their kill and remember that moment. When Jake did the job right it was quite convincing, albeit artificial. Jake was just finishing his latest work when Sal walked through the door. A few more adjustments and it would be all set to go.

“Jake, how’s it coming?”

“Good, Sal, give me two to three minutes and it will be ready to go home.”

“This can’t go home, Jake. The wife would kill me if I brought that home. It’s going to the cabin.”

“Ah, can’t have the wife pissed off, can we?” Jake said, sliding into place a brown piece of glass that resembled the once golden brown eye.

Sal walked around admiring Jake’s work, but was interrupted.

“All right, it’s all set and ready to go, Sal. Say, where’d you bag this one again?”

“Oh, out off the highway. I was coming home one night and there it was right in the middle of the road. I just couldn’t pass it up, it’s a real beauty, ain’t it?”

“Yeah, a real nice one. You know Carl bagged a red one just up the road about a mile or so.”

“Lucky bastard.”

“Well, let’s get this loaded.  If you’ll grab the door, I’ll put it on the dolly and wheel it out to the truck for you.”

Sal climbed into the cab as Jake slid Sal’s prize into the bed. He covered it with a tarp that was there making sure to tie it down so it wouldn’t whip about in the wind. After waving to Sal, he walked back inside the shop and went to the refrigerator to unhook his next piece and defrost it.

***

Sal pulled into the cabin driveway and parked. Without looking around, he unloaded and brought his new trophy inside, arranged it next to the fireplace, and lit the fire.

“See there, now that’s a good spot. The fire really brings out your eyes. Not to mention that the wife never comes out here.” Sal was speaking softly as he ran his hands over the woman’s breasts and then adjusted her blonde hair so that it would hang over one shoulder.

“Perfect trophy wife.”


J F Taylor writes in California.

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Every Day Fiction