Tales of the Natural

By Tantra Bensko

Sage, the courier said, once burned, will remove all evidence that I existed, and have left this package here. Burn it now, or the old woman across the street will know.

You know how long and angular she is, how severe her dresses and her sidelong looks. Why, you’d think I delivered this to you in a shopping cart stolen from the corner store.

You know, her lover works there at the store. HA! You had NO idea, did you? A lover! Can you imagine? Ever? Her?

That’s why her sense of smell is so developed. It started with the cats in heat, the musk of raccoons foisted on the neighborhood by evolution of the planet’s open spaces into compact versions of themselves that only children can unravel when they play at night in moonlight at an angle lighting up the secret tunnels to the real size of the natural world.

Her sense of smell is all she has to find her man. It’s like a map, a doglike tracking of his pathways through the city. She doesn’t know where he lives. I do, being a courier. I delivered him a package like this one once, and she could smell it, and she told me never, ever, ever.

Tantra Bensko publishes her writing widely, in magazines such as The Journal of Experimental Fiction, Fiction International, Evergreen Review, Mad Hatters Review, Bewildering Stories, Rose and Thorn, Cezanne’s Carrot, and many more. She lives in San Francisco.

Tantra Bensko

Tantra Bensko ("A Roadful of Ducks," "Tales of the Natural," "Stop, Before It's Too Late!") publishes her writing widely, magazines such as The Journal of Experimental Fiction, Fiction International, Evergreen Review, Mad Hatters Review, Bewildering Stories, Rose and Thorn, Cezanne’s Carrot, and many more

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