Was it already Berabrack season? "It has to be," my sister says, "They're everywhere. Can't drive into town without almost hitting one." Whenever they show up, they cross the street in pairs, act like they never hear you, leave their paw prints in the morning dew. At Handy Hardware, I linger in the sign aisle, considering the one that reads: Warning: Berabracks not tolerated. But what is that supposed to mean?
"How long is it going to last this time?" I ask my sister when I'm back home, standing in her bedroom doorway. I have a plastic shopping bag hooked on my finger, but she doesn't ask what's inside. She's watching the 6-inch black-and-white television on her desk, tapping it every so often to clear away static.
"Two weeks," she says. "That's what they said on TV, anyway."
At night, you can hear them squeaking gibberish to each other. Sometimes it sounds like a real word. I swear I've heard them say sayonara. And salty. I lay awake those nights, the plastic bag on my nightstand, counting the painted-over spots on the ceiling. Six nights of this. "You don't look so great," my sister says. "Can't sleep?"
"Not at all," I say. "You?"
She nods. It occurs to me that she never turns off her desktop television, and that it probably drowns out the Berabracks. I go into town again that day, but all the department stores are sold out. Backordered until August, the salesgirl informs me. They've got radios, she says, but she wouldn't recommend them.
The Berabracks are still here after two weeks. At midnight, on a Sunday, I yank a sweatshirt over my head, grab the plastic bag from my nightstand, and open the back door. There are hundreds. A few stand up on their hind legs, eyes wide at the sight of me. I open the bag. I pull out a contraption that I'm not sure I can use properly. Then I realize I don't even have to use it. I'll just show it to them. I'll shake it at them, to show them I'm serious. "It's time for you to go," I say. "So go." Then the squeaking starts again, a squeaky laughing. I swear I hear one of them say: so silly. But that night they make their way to another yard, hopping slowly, as if saying they would have done it anyway.
Fiction Friday is an outlet for experimentation while I slowly work on becoming a novelist. Read the rest of the stories here...