Paul stared at the fire. The
hunting was done. The cave was warm. His belly full, his head filled
with nothing at all. Neanderthal times were not bad. Paul did not know
it was Neanderthal times. It was just now.
What– Stop– Stop–" Paul struggled against furry arms. "What are you
doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?"
don't know," Chevy shrugged and squeezed. "It felt right."
you killing me? Are you trying to kill me? Is that what you're trying
to do? Are you trying to kill me, Chevy? Is that what you're trying to
do? Trying to kill me?"
"Why would I try
to kill you?" Chevy blinked. "I was thinking about how much I like you."
eyebrows quirked. "You were thinking about that?"
think about that a lot?"
"Sometimes. Most of the time I'm thinking about mammoths, but
sometimes I think about you."
Paul did not understand what was happening. "I do not understand what
is happening," Paul said. They sat in silence for a few moments.
squeezed again and pulled his arms away. "It just seemed like the thing
nodded. "Even so. You can't just put your arms around people like that
out of nowhere. I thought you were a tiger or I don't even know what."
thought a snake was trying to suffocate me."
"Alright already. I said I was sorry."
paused, pressing against his ribs where Chevy's arms had been. "I need
all my insides for living. I can't have them being squeezed just all
the time for no reason."
put his hands in his lap and didn't look at Paul. Paul didn't look at
Chevy. They didn't look at each other for awhile. "You know–" Paul said.
just–" Chevy said and stopped.
moved up and down. "If you wanted to do it again– If it seemed like the
thing to do– Then. Yeah."
looked up. "Yeah?"
smiled some. "It isn't terrible once you find out a tiger isn't trying
to kill you or a snake isn't trying to kill you or a person isn't
trying to kill you and you'll still be alive when it's over."
was more silence, but it was nice. Chevy poked at the fire with his
finger and drew it away. He was always forgetting about fire.
Shopping Cart Museum
The shopping cart museum was
interesting, to say the most. Percival wasn't sure why he'd ever
started it. Just because his dad had specified the money was to be
spent on shopping carts, didn't mean it had to be spent on shopping
carts. Percival knew his dad was crazy. Everyone knew Percival's dad
was crazy. But you were supposed to listen to dad, right? Wasn't that
what you were supposed to do? He'd read that somewhere.
So here he was, surrounded by shopping carts,
trying to make a buck so
he could somehow offset the ridiculous amount of money he spent on a
shopping cart museum. Who knew? Who knew shopping carts were expensive?
Who knew shopping carts cost anything at all? Someone had to make them,
yeah. They didn't just pop out of the sky fully formed. Someone had to
weld all their little parts together. Percival felt sorry for that
someone. He felt sorry for that someone but not as sorry as he felt for
himself. That someone got to leave the shopping carts behind. Percival
got to look at them everyday, just sitting there being metal and doing
nothing. The only interesting thing he'd ever heard about a shopping
cart was that the first one had been made out of rocks. Just a pile of
rocks. Percival's dad told him that. Percival's dad was crazy. Just
before he died, he had taken Percival out to the backyard and shown him
a pile of rocks.
"That's the first shopping cart," his dad said.
"That pile of rocks?"
Cavemen had used shopping carts. That's what
Percival's dad said.
"Cavemen used shopping carts."
"For putting things in."
"Stuff they had."
"Where did they get the stuff?"
"Nowhere at first."
"Until they had stores."
"Cavemen had stores?"
"Cavemen always did things the wrong way around."
So Percival had moved the pile of rocks and put
them in the corner of
the museum near the historical section next to cardboard cutouts of
"What's that pile of rocks over there?" Some kid
"That's the first shopping cart," Percival said.
"Looks like a pile of rocks."
"Well, it's the first shopping cart."
"Well, it looks like a pile of rocks."
"Why don't you get the hell out of here," Percival
Kate LaDew lives in
Graham, NC. A graduate from the University of North Carolina at
Greensboro with a BA in Studio Arts, she has received the North
Carolina Governor's Award of Excellence in Writing and Arts, the North
Carolina English Teacher's Association National Writing Award, and has
been published in Writer's
American Drivel Review, The Oak, Spiral-Bridge, SNReview, Penduline, Foliate Oak, Split Rock Review, Shot Glass Journal,
front page image is copyright ©
by Anthony Kitterick, 2012