The day my brother Davey saw the wooly mammoth, I knew it was a good sign. We'd searched the field behind our old house for mammoth bones. I didn't tell him mammoths never lived in Texas. I only told him that Eskimos, roaming the land with their herds of reindeer, often come across partial skeletons melted out of the permafrost.
We would run away someday to the North Pole, and there we'd find our mammoth. He'd be too big to hide but maybe we could feed him some steak. Maybe he'd allow us, after many days of patience and cautious attempts, to stroke his rough, dense coat. Then someday, he'd lift us high with his mammoth trunk and place us on his back. We'd hold onto his fur as if it were reins. Nobody would know about our mammoth.
Our mammoth would have wise, gentle eyes, like Abraham Lincoln's. He will be able to take on Mothra, my brother said, and any monster that comes our way.
Until that day, the only thing we liked about the North was the snow. Our neighbor Bliss - that was her real name, her Dad was a poet and her Mom composed songs - called her Mom 'Mum' and was real snotty. Our Dad worked for the Buildings and Grounds on campus, he wasn't on the faculty, she said. When she and her stupid friend Maeve played dolls in her front lawn, they made the L sign on their foreheads when I passed by. They called me Piggly Wiggly because my butt was big, and they said they knew Texas had Piggly Wigglies, even though I said no it didn't.
We made a snowman in our front lawn, gave her a gnarly mouth with a piece of coal stuck in her smile, so she looked like she was missing teeth. We called her Bliss. Our Mom had sent us out and bundled us up. She said to stay gone for awhile, she and Dad had to talk. Go play with those girls next door, she said. She gave me four dollars to buy hot cocoa at the corner store.
The girls snuck up behind us for the assault. They pushed my brother's head down in the snow, and kicked me in my vagina. They stuffed his mouth with snow and called him a faggot. Maeve held my arms back while Bliss pushed Davey's body under. Time to make little Davey's little willy wet, Bliss said. I grabbed Maeve's hair until she screamed. When she let go I ripped off an icicle from the tool shed.
Let him go, I said. By this time he was a snow mound.
Make me, she said.
I held the icicle up to her. I'll stick this all the way up your nose and pierce your brain. That's how Ninjas can kill people without a mess. They use long needles.
She made a constipated face, then left Davey's snow mound. Whatever, she said.
Davey waited to tunnel out of the snow for a minute. Are they gone? He asked me finally.
We aren't going home now, I said. I hoped Davey wouldn't have a black eye. If he did, I would get it at home and when he went to school kids would know he got punched. I hate these Yankees, he said. His nose ran and his face was puffy, but he didn't cry. I was trying to teach him not to cry.
A mammoth lives about half a mile from here, in the woods I told him. If we're real quiet, we might see him. Davey didn't care about the girls after I said that. We walked until our fingers felt like ice chips and then we walked even more. We went into the woods.
He's there, I said, do you see him? I didn't expect to see anything, but if I pretended, he might see it.
I see him, Davey said.
Act like you can't see him, I said. Or he might run away.
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/mammoth.html]
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