Fake Dead Geese
J. B. Mulligan

In order to rid the town of geese, the Town Council took the advice of a local naturalist, to set afloat in the pond several wooden dead geese. There was no major announcement of this so a number of people were very upset to see the dead geese in the water, figuring that the town must have poisoned them, or some strange plague peculiar to geese had just struck. However, the geese themselves were not dismayed or terrified; in fact, they floated quite calmly past the decoys. They are out on the pond now, as I get off the bus and hurry to my car. I walk past a young couple just as the girl sobs loudly, "I guess if that's the way it is." I can feel them glare at my back as she continues, somewhat more quietly, "I really have no choice."
I'm in a hurry to get home, though I'm not sure who, if anyone, will be there to greet me. We are all on different work schedules, so it's rare that more than two of us are home at the same time. It seems more of a boarding house than a family lately, and I'm sometimes unsure how many people actually live there.
Traffic is backed up, and I can see the ambulance light flashing ahead. I hope nobody is hurt, then I get to the light, and the ambulance corps is selling raffle tickets. I smile at the young man and buy two tickets, and curse them as I drive away.

First published: August 2000
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