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by Matthew Licht

The sign on the cage said “Bearcats,” but the animals inside it looked more like sloths or koalas whom life had turned mean. In their native Indonesia they’re called binturong. “Been too long,” I thought. Or, other times, “Been too wrong.”

The zookeeper who fed them bucketfuls of dead yellow chicks was careful not to turn his back. “Yeah the rottener they are, the better they like them. People come and throw the worst garbage in here just to see what they’ll eat and what they won’t.”

“People suck,” I said.

“You can say that again,” he said, and tossed a putrid chick which hit a binturong on the snout. The creature’s jaws snapped like electricity. “We had a sexual assault the other week.”

“Oh, a woman got raped, huh.”

“We found an old guy in the Petting Zoo with his pants around his ankles. That goat was pregnant too. Nobody’s got no respect for nature no more.”

He edged backwards out of the binturongs’ cage and shut the door.

Matthew Licht writes the weekly Hotel Kranepool blog for Stanza 251. https://www.stanza251.com