Natural History – Neil Cross
- All it was, Jane had bought a painting without telling him. She’d done worse things, spending all their money on a chimpanzee sanctuary, for example.
- – ‘(Hyena’s genitalia) are used in greeting ceremonies. A hyena erects its dick or its clitoris – it’s difficult to tell which is which, even up close – and they have a good old sniff and a good old lick.’
– ‘For some reason, I was unaware of this.’
– ‘Most people are. But they shouldn’t be, don’t you think?’
– ‘ Oh, definitely not.’
- She could feel the car behind her, the woman at the wheel, watching her. The woman was pretty and seemed kind enough, but perhaps kind women – like grannies in a fairy tale – were wolves in disguise. Perhaps if Jo had climbed into that warm Golf, she’d have been abducted, taken to some faraway cottage and been given fudge cake and Coca-Cola and allowed to watch TV, and then when the sun went down and the moon came up, the woman would sprout hairs and teeth and claws and would bay at the sky and rip Jo to shreds and eat her – gobble her all up – and burn her clothes so that no trace of her was ever found – nothing but the faint relic of her urine, in Mr. Nately’s apples.
- Sometimes, drunks pressed the buzzer, or kids on their way home from nightclubs. Sometimes, it was half of a newly separated couple, looking for somewhere to see out the remains of the night. Now and again, it was men with hookers. Charlie was not supposed to let them in, because Clive didn’t want the Anchorage to get that kind of reputation; it might put off the respectable adulterers.
- – ‘What is it?’
– ‘Dad saw a panther.’
– ‘A what?’
– ‘A black panther.’
– ‘In the garden.’
– ‘A while back.’
– ‘Did Dad tell you this?’
– ‘Duh, no.’
– ‘Then how do you know?’
– ‘I heard him talking about it.’
– ‘Who to?’
– ‘That weirdy Vet.’
– ‘What were they saying?’
– ‘I don’t know. Panther stuff. It’s why Dad got the sheep, to use as bait.’
– ‘Dad got the sheep to mow the grass because he’s a lazy bastard.’