"Pigs… actually, make good pets. They’re smart and clean. The image of the swine rolling in the mud isn’t true. Or, it is, but it’s a result of poor maintenance on the human’s part.”
-A conversation with my mother
Two kids stood in a growing line. A patience accompanied by avoidance of confrontation lead them forth. Within arms length, a teen robed in a black hoodie counted crumpled Abe Lincolns.
Kid One couldn’t sit still. There were too many distractions.
He saw a patriarchal figure face to face with his child. Screaming, the man dropped Rs like nukes. Kid One turned away.
Taking their fives, the cashier ferried the boys over a river of carnival excess leading them with a stoned, “Welcome to the Spencer Fair.”
Kid One looked about. Dull red and yellow lights complemented the hazy purple of the August night. Kid Two answered a call, talking over the hustle of the surrounding scene.
“Hey, hey! Where are you guys. Hello? Hello! Can you hear me? Ah fuck, I lost them.”
“Don’t worry, let’s walk about. Small grounds. We’ll find ‘em.”
After thirty minutes of wandering, they halted. At the border, they came across an open pavilion. Towards the edge, two workers smoked cigarettes before a great jungle-themed hut. Above the structure, a portrait of a monstrous swine and yellow letters advertised: “Swamp Pig Exhibit.”
Kid One nudged his partner: “Let’s go check that out.”
“Think. How many opportunities will you, a boy of the temperate North East, have in seeing a pig from—from—” he squinted, “From the Evergreen Glades of Florida? Answer me that.”
Kid Two examined the enclosure. “No, no. I’m not interested. You can go, but I’m staying here.”
“Suit yourself, but, be it known, you will come to regret this missed chance.”
Cost of admittance: a dollar fifty. While paying, Kid One turned around. Kid Two was back on his phone.
In the back, a studded fence enclosed a pit of slop. There, the esteemed jungle pig stood in brute tranquility. Along the bounds of the fence, Stella was painted in uneven strokes of black paint. Kid One approached the bounds, peering at the beast.
“So, Stella,” he said, “how have you come to this unfortunate situation? How are you stuck in this cage? Stuck behind these bars? What does it mean?” Stella, at least to the external observer, seemed unenthused by Kid One’s poetic ramblings. “You know what, Pig, sometimes I feel like you do. I know, I know. In relation to your situation, it seems like nothing, but it’s true.” Kid One sat in the mud. “I don’t think these people know me at all.” Stella snorted. She buried her snout in a mess of feed, quietly ignoring the intruder’s ramblings. “Stella, I’ll be honest with you, I’ll be completely honest.” Silence. “There’s a part of me that always wants to die. I’ll tell you that, Pig: there’s a nagging part of me that is always telling me there’s no meaning. Ya know? I’m a teenager, you hear me? I just want to cry… Yeah, that’s it. Not even do anything. I just want to fall asleep. Fall asleep and wake up somewhere else. Ah man. I see what I’m doing. Sorry for troubling you.”
Kid One pulled himself up, and, putting a quarter in a candy cane coated dispenser, threw some feed into the creature’s pen.
“For your troubles.” Kid One thought Stella gave an oink of delight, but he couldn’t tell.
Luke is the Director of Current Events for the Cad.