I’m standing beside my old Ford, passenger side, the door open, using a bent, grungy key I found in the glove box to saw the top off a clear plastic jug that used to hold emergency radiator water, when the kid says, “Hey Mister, you want to know something creepy?”

I raise my eyes across the bench seat where I can see him through the open driver’s side window. He’s shirtless, grubby, and looks a little uncertain. “Sure,” I say.

“Did you know you can live for five minutes with your head cut off?”

I raise my eyebrows. “No kidding? That is creepy.”

The girl standing next to me, her face betraying the early hints of pre-teen acne, nods. Her eyes are wide and she says, “We kept a chicken’s head alive for a whole year one time.”

“That’s really something.”

The kid says, “I guess they cut it off just right.”

“I guess so.”

I continue sawing at the jug a few moments more, then tear the top back like a half-opened soup can. I hand it to the girl. “That ought to do the trick.”

“Thanks,” she says. She smiles at the kid.

They scramble down the bank toward the river. “Have fun,” I say. “Don’t drown.”

Author: Chris

Chris La Tray is a writer, a walker, and a photographer. He is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and lives in Missoula, MT.

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