I still remember that cold October afternoon in 1936 when Whitey McFarland’s old coonhound Maggie dragged herself out of the forest, whimpering and yowling. Her skin hung off her sides in red flaps and her eyes rolled wildly. She collapsed on the ground and howled.
All us kids loved Maggie, but not one of us dared go near her, not while she was baring her teeth and snarling. Benny Carper dropped the bat and ran off; Ira Schmidt just stood there staring at the half-dead animal as it pawed the frozen dirt. I tugged on Whitey’s sleeve and told him to stay with Maggie while I got my dad—Whitey’s dad was a drunk and never easy to find. When he finally nodded in understanding, I took off running.
A man in a wrinkled, black suit entered the fairgrounds. He was tall and lean, his skin the color of drying leather. He wore a faded sport shirt underneath his suit coat, white with yellow stripes. His hair was black and greasy, parted in the middle and brushed back flat on each side. His eyes were pale blue. There was no expression on his face. It was a hundred and two degrees in the sun but he was not perspiring.
If you could shrink tiny, and drop down your own throat
Like the tiniest of captains on the tiniest of boats
I bet you’d be shocked at the things that you saw
In the dark and the damp of your damp and dark maw.
Your body’s a marvel, it’s one of a kind
Which is why countless scary small things live inside!
They can’t live in houses, as most of us do
So they climb inside people– like me and like you!
Do you hear the band playing– that merry old song?
While the horns play the chorus and the crowd sings along?
Down Main Street they march, that gay promenade
Which float is your favorite in the Parasite Parade?