Fiction: The Ramm Heart

April 26, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION


JD DeHart



Of course, the story of John Ramm has been told. How he used to be free in the wild, then was captured by nets, and the well-meaning white faces brought him to the land of tall slab. How he found himself falling in love with this conventional life, but sometimes still wanted to go prancing down the sidewalk, bucking at other businessmen. How he suppressed the urge to sharpen his horns on his large wooden desk.

How they put him in a suit and tie like it was a jail cell, and all he could do was collect porcelain mugs and read memes, chuckling at their uninspired messages, trying desperately to make it through the working world with only a modicum of caffeine.

What perhaps has not been told is the ordinary Tuesday when Ms. Morgan, his dark-haired receptionist, took off early. Now, a receptionist taking off early is not exactly a prime time event, but who she was meeting that day was a matter of some interest. Being the personal assistant to a mythical beast brought of life and dragged from the wild, she mused, should have some advantage.

Horace Fast, a less-than-well-known philanthropist and collector of rare items, met Ms. Morgan at approximately 12:31 that day in a grease-pit café. His hands were already covered with the overflow of a beef concoction.

“What can I do for you?” he asked, his low gut hanging over the edge of his chair. He would have offered her a hand to shake, but he was busy eating at the moment.

“It’s what I can do for you,” she said, flashing a few snapshots of her antlered boss. “I know you collect some pretty…interesting things. I thought this one might be of interest.”

It was true, as I have already said. Horace collected fragments of bones, full-stuffed animals, and figments of the imagination. He had a special room in his large home dedicated to the mythical and exceptional.

“I’ll be damned,” he said. “Do you know the medicinal properties of horns such as that? And rare ones on such a…man? A man with horns, what a find.”

“Not sure I know about all that,” the receptionist said. She was waiting for a numerical interlude in the conversation, preceded by a dollar sign.

“Those horns would have…such aphrodisiac qualities,” he said, noticing her attractiveness with a new kind of vigor and promise, eyes fixed more clearly.

“Not interested in hearing about your predilections,” she said. “I’d like to talk cash now.”

Any figure would do for Horace, of course, and she had just the one in mind. They planned two days later to ambush poor Mr. John Ramm on his way to work and stuff him, quite literally, so that he could be a welcome addition to Mr. Fast’s room.

John Ramm woke up on the appointed morning, kicking off his covers to the tune of a Cher song about believing. He ambled into the bathroom, brushing his teeth, brushing his antlers, and shaving off the excess fur that made him appear so uncouth.

Just because one was wild did not mean that one could not appear tame. In fact, that message hung over his lavatory on a tin sign.

Ramm had made his way down to one cup of coffee from three so far this week, and was doing better at managing the late hours his job required. He practiced again how to tie a necktie, looking at the diagram, as he listened to the saucy little blonde on the television set make her jokes about the play she was currently headlining.

This was the life, or at least that’s what he had been told.

A protein bar downed, Ramm made his animal way to the elevator, nodding with familiar disdain to the few neighbors that were out and about. Two men greeted him wordlessly in that elevator, and this was a new occurrence. Of course, they worked for Horace Fast.

Something deep in the way of instinct arose in John Ramm and he noted how the men changed position slightly when he stepped in. They followed quietly as he exited the elevator, and then the three creatures found themselves alone in a semi-lit parking garage. Ramm’s steps increased, and theirs did the same. His steps slowed and theirs matched.

All of his time in the captivity of civilization, John Ramm had missed the chance to use his horns and, well, ram up against anything. It was, after all, his namesake.

When the arms of the men grabbed at him, he found his wild chance, and went down on all fours. Now, the men did not expect this. They were, of course, expecting to kidnap a human being with horns. But how much Mr. Ramm was still tied to the forest, they had not realized.

Two feet shot out, one in each chest, and both assailants dropped. Sure, they worked out. They pumped iron to the same Cher song that John Ramm woke up to most mornings. But they were soft and plush men who had never survived naked in a forest, with only berries to eat. They had never marked their scent on a tree or scraped their fingernails to signal their presence.

One of them was down for the count with one kicking, meditating on the throb in his chest. The other was more inclined to personal disaster and got back up, which was fine. This second rise gave Ramm the chance to use his horns.

I am not sure about their qualities as an aphrodisiac, but they were quite sharp and cause the attacker quite a lot of pain.

My goodness, thought John Ramm as he stood back up, that didn’t take long to find again. What was gone was his necktie, which would turn up later on the person of a homeless creature who wandered through the parking garage later that night.

Ms. Morgan shook her surprise when Mr. Ramm walked in the office, barely disheveled, but recovered quickly and offered him some coffee, which seemed to be the blood that pumped through the course of an average day.

“Hold my calls,” he offered instead, and spent the afternoon looking for just the perfect meme to cheer himself up, grateful for the chance to go back to the forest a bit.








JD DeHart

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available from RedDashboard.


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