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    Seth Fried

    9. The Great Frustration

    By Seth Fried

    In the Garden of Eden, a cat steadies itself on a branch while quietly regarding a parrot. The air in the garden is heavy and mixed with the stink of all those animals resting below. No blood is spilled in the garden, and so the roles of most of the animals are greatly reduced. Though most of them are still, as yet, unaware of this fact. They linger in vague proximity to one another, marveling at their own bodies. The larger creatures recognize the strength in their new limbs, while others like the penguin and the guinea pig only wander clumsily from place to place, wondering whether or not they have been the object of some cruel joke. Near a small pond, the penguin waves the dull blades of its arms up at the sky, as if already protesting the existence of a dense and impractical God.

    It has been said that the air in the garden is heavy with the smell of these animals. More than heavy, it is unbearable and oppressive. However, it is a smell that goes generally unnoticed by its originators, except perhaps in the form of an occasional swirl of dander, moved on a breeze not unlike the one that now rustles the fur along the cat’s spine, causing it to hunker low on the branch and flatten its ears as it keeps its eyes fixed on the parrot from a respectful distance. The cat cannot help but observe the parrot with a particular interest. The cat sees it as ripe, but with what?

    Below, the lion does not lie with the lamb, but neither does it tear the lamb into a thousand pieces, neither does it eat the lamb’s head in a single bite, neither does it take the lamb into its jaws and, with all the force in the tremendous muscles of its neck, whip the lamb against a tree over and over again until the lamb is nothing but a skid of dripping slime on a tree trunk. Neither does the lion do any of the things that leap suddenly to mind whenever it sees the lamb. . . . Read More.

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