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Round and round

As much as she loved the job, this was the exact moment of the week Lindsay dreaded the most: polishing the carousel. The poles and railing, fine. The benches, no problem. The animals, piece of cake…except one. Lindsay worked in the Eurasian Steppe section of GeograFUN, so the menagerie consisted mostly of bactrian camels and goitered gazelles. But along the inside row near a circuit panel door lay her nemesis: the saiga antelope, who refused to be polished.

She had never spoken of it to anyone, simply because she feared she’d sound crazy. Lindsay wondered if she was. But the truth was, whenever she approached it with that rag, it resisted. It had begun as mild resistance, where she suddenly felt desperately thirsty when she got close to the saiga and left to take a break. Or her phone would ring just as she reached it. Or she’d notice something else that needed attending first. And on and on.

Once Lindsay became aware of the patterns, she was determined to shine the irregular beast at any cost, but it was undeterred. The rag would be inches away from one of its horns and her arm would spastically jerk into its point, drawing blood. A puddle of soda would magically appear as she stepped toward the elaborate seat, and she’d slip, injuring her knee, even though she had just mopped there. The thin mane on its neck would be razor sharp when she touched it, even though she saw children running their fingers through its silky whiskers with regularity. It simply refused to be polished.

Taken literally, she could see its point: to be polished is to be tamed or at worst, polished off. Extinction was knocking loudly for the saiga in the real world. Maybe this carved version knew that? In such a scenario, trusting anyone outside of kids was surely risky. But she was just trying to clean it, to beautify him. Couldn’t it see that? Why be so psychologically defensive, there inside the safe confines of GeograFUN?

Maybe she was going crazy.

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