Things and More Things
Kids in Boxes

The Berliner Präparationswerkstatt is a tiny storefront crammed with the prepared remains of a variety of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. There are always lots of antlers, of course. They had a shark head, once. Sometimes there are works-in-progress lying around, like the halfway sewn-up pig I see when I walk in today. The smell of for­mal­de­hyde brings up bad memories of being pelted with frog eggs in a 7th grade biology class gone berserk.

I called ahead so there are three nice and dusty boxes waiting for me, full of broken bits of legs and wings. I ask the owner if he ever finds the whole thing with the animals disturbing. No, it’s science, he tells me. It’s fascinating! He says the only thing that really gives him the creeps is when people bring in their dead pets, wanting Fluffy or Rover stuffed and mounted the dearly departed will keep them company for the rest of their days. I don’t mention that I use the boxes to display portraits I take of my kids at regular intervals, watching them grow, knowing one day they’ll be gone. The door jingles and a woman in a black leather jacket comes in and announces, I’m here for the fox.