In the pet shop the boy rolls a sleeve, reveal…

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In the pet shop the boy rolls a sleeve, reveal…


Neil Shea






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In the pet shop the boy rolls a sleeve, reveals a few small shining scars. He points to the gurg, the wolf, and says “He did this.â€ù Tugs up a trouser leg, shows more. Points. “Him.â€ù For $500 the wolf can be mine. “From Iran.â€ù Another $300 will buy the ostrich chained up out front, near the monkeys and hedgehogs. I consider it. I have the money right here. On a hot morning very soon you may find me heading south through the severed neighborhoods and checkpoints with an ostrich and a wolf. I will free them near the front. Near the desert. Who would stop me? Not Kurds. Not Arabs. Only rich men buy such creatures, only insane ones buy two at a go. The boy points toward the cashier's desk where a satin black snake lies coiled in a tank and a type of lizard inhabits an old water bottle. He pours the lizard into my hand. It has no legs. It isn't that kind of lizard. It glides across my palm and twines itself around my finger, a living ring. The boy says something but it's hard to hear over the gargling peacocks. There's a lot of dust in the air. Guinea pigs are squealing. A deer kicks at metal bars. The boy gives up on words and points, points, points. On the wall hangs a black muzzle. To go with the wolf. “Yes,â€ù I tell him. I make the universal motion. “I'll take them all.â€ù This is how you'll know me. American. Hopeful, tangled in leashes. Stumbling through a city of cages. #onassignment for @natgeo

#kurdistan #natgeo #kirkuk #iraq #wolf #everydayiraq #everydaymiddleeast #animals #surreal #onassignment for #nationalgeographic @petergwin @kengeiger @yuri.kozyrev @hawrekhalid •• a series: #kurds2015




Neil Shea, “In the pet shop the boy rolls a sleeve, reveal…,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed June 20, 2019,