November 23, 2009
The Authorities were quick to discover my badger.
“Are you ‘Chris?’” one of them asked, his face one-third covered by federal-issue sunglasses.
“Yes,” I said, shielding my eyes from the glare. “I am Chris.”
“Are you in possession of,” he asked, consulting his clipboard, “one… Jesse?”
Internet police. The other man had an eBay pin affixed to the lapel of his suit.
“No,” I said, holding Jesse behind my back with both hands. “No badgers on the premises.”
“We never said Jesse was a badger.”
I tried not to wince as Jesse bit into my hand, the skin still sticky from when I had brushed the honey jar with my knuckle.
“You didn’t need to,” I said. “You’re reading my accounts, obviously.”
“We… don’t have access to your accounts.”
“My accounts of Jesse the Badger.”
“Oh. They were brought to our attention, yes.”
“They are fictional, you realize.”
The man removed his sunglasses. He had green eyes.
Jesse scratched the back of my shirt with his long claws, tearing through easily and catching himself on my belt. I felt a trickle of blood and squirmed, and the Internet Policeman definitely noticed something was wrong.
“If Jesse the badger is, as you say, indeed, fictional, can you say the same for your light-blue towel!?”
I had foolishly left my Emergency towel in full view on my armchair. His partner cracked a smile but said nothing. I recovered.
“That towel is true.”
“So I see.”
We looked at each other for a few more seconds before anyone spoke. Jesse had attacked the blood and I had to bite my lip to keep from screaming.
“We’ll be back with a warrant,” the man said, and the two of them walked off, down the stairs to the street. I closed the door with my shoulder and put Jesse down. He looked up at me, his bloody snout like a dewy hibiscus, and in his little green eyes I saw something I hadn’t noticed before, but had been there the whole time – gratitude.
We spent the rest of the afternoon tearing apart an old blanket.