A Brief Encounter by Lisa Cihlar

The wolf at my door asks to use the telephone. Seems the radio collar around his neck won’t tune in to his favorite Jazz and Blues station any more. He looks in the yellow pages for the number of a scientist. The coot he carries under his left arm just looks worried. There are no scientists listed. Naturalists either. The wolf asks if I have a Phillips screw driver because, to hell with it, he’ll fix it himself. I keep a screw driver in the garage. Upon my return, the coot looks relieved. The widgeon drake under the wolf’s right arm looks alarmed. And restless. The wolf sees me staring and comments that the American Widgeon makes excellent table fare. He asks me to hold the duck and mud hen while he stands in front of the bathroom mirror trying to figure out everything backwards. The widgeon, sensing trouble, cries out a flurry of alarm calls. The coot looks worried and tries to put his head under his wing. I hear B.B. King singing in my bath.

The acoustics are damn fine in there. I open the front door and send the birds into the bright cerulean. Arms free, I can dance with the wolf.

Lisa Cihlar

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