written by Anna Lea Jancewicz | illustrated by Mitucami Mituca
It’s easiest to slice a cow heart if it is still partially frozen. An aggressive band of feral cats can be driven off with a reliable spray bottle of water. Birds shit a lot, and given the slimmest chance they will try to kill you.
These are things I learned working at the wildlife refuge.
It’s best to wear a hardhat when feeding barred owls. There is always one asshole among them who will dive bomb your head. Maybe it is the same one each time and that fucker just has an attitude problem, or maybe they take turns. It’s hard to tell.
Turkeys attack shoelaces. It hurts a lot. At any moment, an emu could hulk out and kick you. They break ribs. Pelicans swarm you in a nasty beaky mosh pit, but they are easily distracted by pitched fish. Go long.
Don’t turn your back on a bald eagle. Their wing spans are wider than you are tall, and their talons are talons. Maybe you’ve never hung out with somebody who has talons. It’s scary as fuck. Eagles look angry. Eagles seem to be watching your neck, always.
There are other things I learned working at the refuge.
Be very careful with the pressure washer. It’s a big deal. Little birds in little cages are at your mercy. Blast away all the shit and sunflower shells, but take it easy. Go slow. Be thorough, but remember that one false move can snap a dove’s neck.
It’s best to not let your coworkers see when you cry a little. The kitchen tent is a good place to hide, hacking into cow hearts and dismembering chickens. These actions are contemplative. Wipe your nose on your t-shirt. Birds want to kill you, but you are a killer too.
About the artists:
Yolanda Oreiro aka Mitucami Mituca is a Spanish illustrator, currently based in Barcelona. She is actively involved with the Zines culture and currently collaborates with different magazines like proyecto-kahlo and Shameless Magazine.
Anna Lea Jancewicz’s flash fiction “Marriage” was chosen for The Best Small Fictions 2015. Say it: Yahnt-SEV-ich.