Jul 4, 2005

HR, Page 2

Harlequin was not big on eating meat. He'd had a few talks with a wild turkey who'd complained of the human appetite for turkey and this had convicted him a little bit. When he did eat meat, he made a point of apologizing to the pig, chicken, cow or turkey who'd made the meal possible. Hunger, in his condition, spoke a little louder than those conversations, so it was without any thought of remorse for the chicken that he followed the scent of the kung-pao chicken.

Intent in his tracking, he failed to pay enough attention to the sidewalk and the loud, stumbling footsteps shaking it beneath him. Suddenly, a large booted foot overtook him, sweeping him roughly off his paws and into the air. He saw the cement of the sidewalk become the cement of the curb and then felt himself falling towards the slime river flowing through the gutter. He landed with a cold and unpleasant slap; the slime, part mud-water and part garbage, slowly oozed in between the hairs of his fur coat. He shivered and shook himself. He pulled himself over the curb, just in time to see the booted foot disappear around the corner.

He muttered a curse (in Chipmunk) on the owner of the booted foot and lifted his nose in the air in attempt to separate it from the influence of his newly-acquired stench. He smelled many things, but he could not make any sense of them, and worst of all, he could not differentiate the kung-pao chicken from among them.

After his hours on the freeway he'd learned to ignore the smells of engines and tires. There were countless others surrounding him. There was rancid trash from an overturned dumpster behind the liqour store, cleaning fluids dripping around a window-washer, steaming fabrics and detergent of a laundromat and sticky donuts and bitter coffee from a donut shop; all new and some unwlecome experiences for his nose. He brought up his paws to cover his nose and give him time to think.

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