I found a dead antelope in a strip mall parking lot in Northern Indiana, which isn’t an uncommon occurrence for tainted asphalt bloated with aimless consumerism. But unlike most deceased game, that are shoveled into the furnace that heats the crumbling shops, this one wore a peculiar wound that became an obsession of sorts for me and several other shoppers. We stared at the impossibly deep laceration instead of fulfilling our destiny of buying a shrimp deveiner for an in-law we despised.
We weren’t unfamiliar with the uncanny, someone was once kidnapped from this very strip mall only to return with their eyes replaced by hard boiled eggs. But something about this particular gaping wound transcended the misfortune of a single person. It destroyed lives, saved marriages, brought salvation and forced confrontation with the insignificance in which we all lived.
The longer we stared, the more obsessed we became, sending texts to friends and family members to be baptized in the glory of the hole.
Two pear-shaped custodians eventually sulked into the large circle that had formed in worship of the deceased. They began the routine shaving of the corpse as the smell of burning flesh was one thing, but the smell of burning hair was something entirely else, a downright unpleasant stench to soundtrack the empty purchasing of unnecessary conveniences.
The razor stopped right above the unsightly crevice that held the attention of us all, that sunk abruptly as though it were retreating from the razor itself, as though it were depressed pins on a three dimensional needle toy. The impression that remained wasn’t the hand of a curious child however, but instead a perfectly carved replica of our piece of shit town, which rested unassumingly within the mangled stomach.
The blood and entrails gently rose and collapsed in unison with our settlement, inheriting it’s beauty and blemishes.
Every intricacy of our city existed within those sagging muscles. Flesh buildings and tendon roads, telephone lines strung together by snapping nerves, organs erected and painstakingly manipulated to appear like the disintegrating infrastructure of bridges and buildings. Residents of the town were even designated by tiny white puss sacks that inhabitaed every nuance, fissure and knot in the web of veins that held the entire mess together. The custodians immediately used the public address system to offer a vague and ominous warning about the entire town being contained in an antelope corpse.
More and more families arrived at the swollen carcass over the next few days, observing the wound from afar. They stared at it from sun up to sun down, admiring the place they hated but endured, refusing to consider the logistics or reason behind the frayed tissue replica.
Eventually, the body began to decompose, and flies began to gnaw at the city, greedily consuming the walls of every building and the yellowing discharge of every resident. It occurred to several of us to do something to preserve the imitation town, but we listlessly observed the systematic dismantling instead, incapable of decision.
Before long, only bones remained and we returned to our lives and shopping, but sometimes I still thought of the flies and the ease at which they destroyed everything I knew.
Mark Wilson is a Chicago based author/visual artist driven by the same crippling monotony experienced while watching a piss soaked snow mound melt into oblivion in an abandoned parking lot. He is the creator of a popular absurdist culture blog https://onetie-alltie.com/blog/