First light found me lounging alongside a small campfire,
just laying on my side on a bald hilltop near the treeline of a wood.
The land belonged to my father. It was adjacent to a state park –
a real nice, undeveloped, hilly piece of ground… about 30 acres.

Being up close to the crackling little twigfire like that, I
couldn’t quite make out the individual trunks of the treeline.
They just blurred together in the dawn, a fuliginous smudge of color.
The canopy was still night-onyx, but birds were waking up in there.

As I reached to grab a few more sticks from the pile, the corner of my eye
detected motion at the treeline. Deer was my first guess. But no. Human.
The first details I could make out were that the person was smallish, and
carrying something – something boxy – carrying it carefully.

By the time she got up close to the fire, I had discerned a lot more.
Her braided blonde hair gave her away for a girl, for one thing.
The boxy thing she was dandling in her arms was an animal container –
a carrier I guess they’re called. I sat up and said good morning.

From the moment she started talking, her aggravation was obvious.
Her parents wouldn’t let her keep her guinea pig, and she had come here
to release it, knowing full well it would wind up a snack for a coyote
sooner than later. She was on the verge of tears. I didn’t know what to say.

“Won’t you take him?” she begged. “He’s really well-behaved and sweet.”
What could I do? I agreed to take it. The girl was so relieved, I was sure
she would go ahead and cry then, but she held it in well and thanked me
and placed the container on my side of the fire. Good lord. A guinea pig.

She wanted to stay and talk I could tell, but we both knew better than that.
A girl has to be on her guard, and men my age have to give a wide berth
to other people’s kids before we find ourselves falsely accused you know.
Anyway, she walked off. I peered into the cage. She hadn’t told me its name.

 The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “container.”

Also, thanks to Tyler Deal for these five (tough) prompt words:

  • Braided
  • Onyx
  • Aggravation
  • Fuliginous
  • Guinea Pig