“Ravening Beasts”

When Christine receives her award for “Good Citizenship,” the presenter will try to kiss and fondle her.
She is an advocate for choice and a volunteer at our local Planned Parenthood, picks up trash in the community and ladles soup on Thanksgivings at the Catholic shelter. After a homeless African American man was wrongly convicted of the rape of a local white woman, she and her faithful sidekick Ramona found the necessary evidence to exonerate him and imprison the real culprit, the billionaire owner of the nuclear power plant poisoning the river. She has been the closest thing we’ve known to a real-life heroine in the over-two-hundred-year existence of our little coastal town. She’s funny, has charmed us with her personality, has a strong work ethic, is dependable in a pinch. We were able to access information about her on Wikipedia, her various speeches on YouTube, and her frequent Tweets on Twitter so we thought we knew her. However, it will be apparent when we see her in the flesh that we hadn’t even begun to imagine who she really was.
It’s breathtaking to smell and hear her. The sheer cuteness she exudes, the burgeoning sexuality, the scent of virgin purity. Damn, we think to ourselves, she’s not even eighteen. We’ll understand how a grown man might want to put his hands on her orange-sized breasts, to kiss her blushing cheeks, to pinch and caress her butt tightly ensconced in off-brand jeans. My oh my, we think to ourselves.
The presenter will hold Christine by the wrists when she resists. You can almost see the sweat beading on her forehead, we’ll think, opening our mouths to speak, but only salivating. He will throw her on her back on the stage, ripping the buttons off her untucked man’s shirt, biting her neck while she screams for help, begging & whimpering & shrieking & praying, etc.
As the presenter has his way with Christine, we will stand in line in the aisles. We’ve been here forever, behind microphones set up so that we might ask the usual type of questions: who she credits for her success, what advice she would give young people wanting to follow in her footsteps, how she styles her hair. As the credits roll on this short film, we’ll stream out into the sunshine, frothing at the mouth, snapping at the camera, the soundtrack bubbling good cheer.

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About John Duncan Talbird

John Duncan Talbird’s fiction and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Juked, The Literary Review, Amoskeag, REAL and elsewhere. His short story collection, A Modicum of Mankind, will be out from Brooklyn press Norte Maar by the end of the year. An English professor at Queensborough Community College, he has held writing residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He is on the editorial board of Green Hills Literary Lantern and lives with his wife in Brooklyn.



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