Sheep

The sheep aren’t in the yard. I look out the window and do not see the sheep in the yard. We’ve turned the significant yard of the house we rent into a pasture, and I’m checking for the sheep. My dad found the house, and saw the enormous yard and decided at once that we would not mow the lawn. “What we will do instead,” he said, “is fence the lawn off with electric fencing, and then we will buy sheep and we will let them control the lawn. The yard will become the sheep’s problem, and not ours.”

Let’s return to my smooth face, and—disrupting the skin part of my face—my green eyes, looking out the window. Let’s notice the soft, pronounced droop of my right eyelid, which droops more than my left, which gives me the expression of someone unequally tired. But my left eyelid droops also, more than normal. The feeling of stupor is strong through my whole body. The stupor in my head results from the sun dumping its rays on the roof of the attic, heating the whole top floor.

The stupor in my legs results from the position I’ve taken in a U-Haul box. We receive hand-me-downs from people we know. Sometimes those bags contain books, and those books have been given away for a reason, and that reason is that they are Babysitter’s Club books. We’ve put those books up in the attic in old U-Haul moving boxes, and I, at times go up there for other reasons, and pick up a Babysitter’s Club book, curious about it, and end up reading the entire book in a single sitting, inside a U-Haul box. Much of the stupor results from reading a Babysitter’s Club book, which is a way to pour bleach directly onto your exposed, pulsing brain.

The sheep can’t be seen, which means we’ll probably receive a call from a vigilant neighbor letting us know that our sheep have shuffled through the electric fence and now roam the earth, dull-eyed and searching. I hate to give the neighbors a foothold for judgment. I stand up from the U-Haul box, throwing clouds of dust motes that make the air itself visible. I go downstairs, and downstairs again, and then outside, without putting shoes on. The sheep stay together, and if I lead the mother back, her two lambs follow her. I get a leash from the garage. I walk the perimeter of the fence and find the place where they broke the bottom wire. Electric fences have almost no impact on sheep. Wool covers sheep and protects them from shock. I assume it does anyway, since they seem to not care at all about the fence, and decide that they will tear through it, and then do. I walk several streets over. No sheep. I walk to the feed store. No sheep. I walk to the part of the neighborhood, an entire block, which has been given over to a pack of wolves.

The sheep stand there, looking through the door of one of the abandoned houses, large maple trees looming and darkening the house. The sheep stand in the street and stare. Anyone can smell the wolves. The sheep can smell the wolves. The air here twitches with the tang of wolves. I hear the click of a wolf’s nails on the hardwood floor of the house, the clicking pauses, and a large head sticks through the doorway. I start. The sheep start and bolt away. I run after them. The wolf doesn’t move, hardly seems to watch us go.

Eventually, I catch up with them and I get the leash around the mother’s neck and lead them back. I turn the fence’s electricity off, splice the fence, turn the electricity back on, test the fence. The sheep graze. The sun dumps its rays, oppresses all of us with its light. The sheep look longingly in the direction of the wolves, and at a point, I stop caring which way they go, what harm they tempt, what death they run towards, and we send all three to the butcher.

Sheep

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