Acker captures the dog standing on razor shells oozing pearly flesh. He lifts the dog into a plastic crate, scraping the cage on the floor, parting a tinny sea of empties.
Soot and gas belching, he drives the Animal Control van in a tunnel of oaks to Murder Point.
Outside the shucker’s shack, the Gulf’s salt breeze ushers cutting saw whines. Acker drives the van into the shack and the song turns to deep bone growls.
“Got the arms!” Haskell boasts to Acker, holding his aproned stomach round, smeared with blood. He rests his red square hands on his hips.
Sweat beading his brow, Acker joins his brother, his white boot rubbers blushing. They hack and package mama into neat black bricks, stacking her beside her dog.
“Why’d you cage the mutt?”
“It’s my job asshole, my cover for the van.”
“Yah? Shut up, I’ll shuck you too.” Haskell leans into the oyster trough, chopping a foot with yellow misshaped nails.
The job complete, Acker and Haskell drive the van to the northern tip of the county down a clay dirt road. Just a little further, alligators swim thick.
Acker parks the van under an oak canopy and Haskell reaches for a six-pack, breaking two cans free.
“Not yet,” Acker says. “Gotta send mama off.”
The brothers pull out mama in her plastic bricks and toss her into the water. The added cement weighs her parts down into the silt.
Acker opens the cage, and the dog joins Haskell in the front seat, tongue and tail rolling low.
“Thanks mama!” The brother’s chime and chug their beer.
Acker cups his hand and spills some brew into it for the dog to lap.
The setting sun paints the brothers crimson.
“So, when do her Social Security checks arrive?”