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Hannah Olsson is a recent graduate with a double BA in Cinema and Creative Writing English from the University of Iowa. For the Dead Skunk Mag, she would like to offer a story about a very live goose. She likes the soda Crush, but she doesn't know if it's because of the color or the way she can smash the word in her mouth or because it makes her feel like the turtle from Finding Nemo (maybe a bit of all of this). Hannah's also a big fan of ravens and other sharp birds.

Neon red Motel sign

HANNAH OLSSON

GEESE, AND OTHER SMALL KINGDOMS

THE INTERN drives back to Extended Stay #6 of Infinity. Her windshield goes wick, wick, wick in the rain. Her hair smells like the pitch of acrid coffee     

[she thinks, really, she only had chai from Starbucks. She’s also still thinking about writing media kits and about a time when she won’t be writing media kits, and how many fun roses on Canva it’ll take to distract herself from the fact she won’t get paid making media kits.]

THE INTERN meets a flock of GEESE, crossing the road. She slows to let them pass. She doesn’t honk. That would be rude. She knows the geese might be rude, if they could drive, but that’s not the point.

[she thinks about her partner, who told her geese were overpopulating the Earth. She wonders how much—if they’ll take over humans. She wonders if her partner would’ve slowed down, if they were in the driver’s seat. She wonders how she would’ve handled it had they not slowed down— if this would’ve haunted her nightmares when she and her partner slept back-to-back, hitched like new IKEA furniture.]

THE INTERN lets the cars pile behind her. She passes THE GEESE gently. THE GEESE reach more

golf-worthy lawns.

[she thinks, the median-grass is always greener.]

THE INTERN reaches Extended Stay #6 of Infinity. A RED CAR, MAKE: UNCERTAIN, parks next to her.

[she doesn’t distinguish the red car from any other car parked at Dealership #20, the funeral-home-turned-car-shop next to Extended Stay #6. She’s not a car’s gal.]

A MAN pulls out of the MAKE UNCERTAIN CAR. He’s holding a wet COCKATOO.

[she’s thinking of other things, like what workout she’ll do with the Pilates ladies on her phone, and what pesto pasta she’ll make in the aftermath. She’s a freelancer— she’s used to moving to the next thing.]

MAN: I saw what you did for those ducks. That was nice, what you did. That’s why I parked next to you.

 

THE INTERN: Thanks.

[she won’t correct him on the fact they were geese, or tell him that the geese are overpopulating the earth, and may soon overtake humankind. She’s not someone prone to collecting friends, or correcting them. She’s a remote, editorial, freelancer—she’s a wordflower.]

THE INTERN: I like your parrot. 

 

THE MAN: Pinkie

 

THE INTERN: Pinkie?

[The bird is, in fact, pink.]

THE MAN: You want to take a picture with him?

 

THE INTERN: Sure.

 

THE MAN: *mutters to Pinkie*

*the cockatoo shits*

[She thinks about how well-trained the bird is. Almost as well-trained as her. Like a regular working woman.]

THE MAN:

*sets PINKIE on THE INTERN’S shoulder* get your camera ready.

[Pulling iPhone from a sweaty sport-short waistband, she peers at the delicate aviary dampness on her shoulder, soft and real.]

THE MAN: Pinkie doesn’t like rain. 

[She totes Pinkie away from the rain at the man’s request. Peering into the dark eyeball of the camera, they both look like earthy, domestic things.]

THE MAN: *takes Pinkie*

 

THE INTERN: Thanks again.

 

THE MAN: Have a good one.

 

THE INTERN: You too.

[The ‘you too’ reaches many places of comradery. It’s ‘have a good one’ and also ‘I see you’ and also— ‘still, even here, we stand as haunting things, the ghosts that rock this capitalistic suburbia sideways— returning like Hamlet’s father, again and again, with revenge between our teeth.’]

THE INTERN makes pesto pasta

[She thinks about putting the photo on twitter. She decides against it. This one is hers, and hers only.]

Header image by MCCAIG from Getty Images Signature

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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