Some sat in jars. Those were the easy ones. The turtle with two heads that turned out to be three turtles with one body. The Lake Erie Goo. The jackalope-cantaloupe hybrid. The horse flies.

Some of them were content in iron cages, padlocked and out of harm’s way. These had caused him a bit of inconvenience. The last Tasmanian tiger, for example. The three-foot woman, the will-o-wisp, the poison dart frog.

Then there were the trophies. Those were too dangerous to capture alive, and they tended to take their own souvenirs. A gargantuan, prehistoric flipper above his fireplace. A snow-white wing that would be remarkable only for its size, if not for the human shoulder it was attached to. A beak that might be converted into an umbrella holder.

That beak took his eye. The wing broke his legs. He almost drowned retrieving the flipper. Those who didn’t die on the job ended up incapable of anything other sitting at a desk with a computer powered by brainwaves.

But the torrent of “decorations” raged always on.

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