There is a man in town who has a reputation for creating wildlife statuary for the lawn and garden. On a recent trip to take my son to camp in North Carolina, my dog went apoplectic over a stone deer at a Super 8 motel. When I got home I commissioned this man to make me a deer though deer were not known to venture into the Orlando suburbs. The man had the deer delivered to my yard and set up there. It was painted a soft brown and its eyes were shiny and dark. As the months passed, dogs peed on it. Birds shat upon it. When people walked by, they commented sarcastically, “Look at that authentic wildlife.” Still, my dog, a believer and faithful, curled up under its slender torso and slept.
Even when some neighborhood toughs took a sledgehammer to it and busted up its midsection leaving the wire exposed, my dog licked the carnage of concrete lying on the grass, as if she could heal its wounds. When my boyfriend Jonah found out about this, he sat up in vigil for a few nights until the beer did him in. Then one night after he’d passed out, they knocked its tail off. Jonah commissioned the fashioning of another deer. “Make this one male,” he said, “ten points and all, the whole kittenkabootle.” When he wasn’t looking, the suburban gang had the buck humping the doe, or what was left of her. The HOA wrote me something nasty the next day. We had the deer disengaged, but the buck’s privates had been damaged.
When Jonah left me he shot a deer out of guilt. I know this because he spent a whole lot of money getting the animal taxidermied and he said he was giving it to us to keep our dog company. How many women had it taken to squeeze this lifelike deer out of him? And what’s more, my dog made short work of it. That stony deer who stands in the yard, a tattered blanket now tied around her waist, shit everywhere, wire exposed, reminds her more of an alpha.
First published in The New Absurdist