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The Purceville Pumas are the least of the lot. There are also the North County Cougars, the Littleton Lynx, and the Oakville Ocelots. Cats—big cats—are strong, fearless, courageous. They are also ubiquitous. DeWitt County has its own collection of actual big cats, the mountain lions that pace the ridgelines at dusk and steal small lap dogs. These tawny creatures are caught on security cameras, seen along the freeway, and rustle in the bushes when parents take out the trash in the predawn, causing them to shiver and call out into the inky shadows, hearts racing. The new principal—this, his first position—proclaims mascot selection will go to a vote. The staff feels the weight, questions the judgment of opening the choice to the student body. They are pre-teens. They know not what they do. We roll our eyes, pupils already starting to elongate into slits. New schools are so rare now: budgets. The question of mascots hardly ever arises. Precedent makes us nervous; a few decades ago, the Bullwinch Bullfrogs were created. Some of our mentors hopped gracelessly out of the parking lot that hot August afternoon. Could've been worse, we tell ourselves. Bullwinch Bulls was somehow not on the ballot. There's static in the dry desert air. Risk of brush fire is high and errant tumbleweeds mimic giant tempting balls of string. The eighth-grade science teacher admires her growing canines in the chrome of the toaster in the break room. It's noon on the Friday before the start of school. The new principal walks in, poor cub, fussing over the activity bus schedule. It's painful to see how this vexes him when 260

Profile for Mojave River Media

Mojave River Review spring/summer 2019  

The Mojave River Review spring/summer 2019 issue spotlights superb poetry and prose by brilliant contributors from around the globe. Enjoy 2...

Mojave River Review spring/summer 2019  

The Mojave River Review spring/summer 2019 issue spotlights superb poetry and prose by brilliant contributors from around the globe. Enjoy 2...

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