When Arthur arrived at the cafe, the hostess seated him outside on the sidewalk patio at his favorite table right in the midst of the diners where the people watching was best. He ordered a glass of wine, not because he liked it but because he didn’t. It would last a long time and he didn’t want to get drunk, not tonight, not with what he’d learned this morning.
The middle-aged couple on his right were discussing current events. He eavesdropped for a bit but they were just boringly parroting talking points they’d picked up from television news like something they’d tracked in on their shoes. Besides, Arthur knew all that was just lies fed to the public to keep them engaged enough to be complacent but not so engaged that they started digging for the truth and got mad. You see, Arthur had found the perfect source for news, one that never lied and was honest to a fault.
A month or so ago at the beginning of spring, he had been weeding around the fire hydrant in his front yard by the curb when he was struck by an odd smell. As he sniffed the air trying to identify it, he started to hear voices in his head and see images in his mind’s eye, as if he was watching other people’s memories, but then he started hearing even stranger voices commenting on what he was hearing and seeing. There he was on all fours, sniffing the air next to the fire hydrant, and he felt like he was watching a show next to someone who was giving a running commentary on what they were watching.
I’m in the kitchen cleaning the lazy man’s grill when Fleegle comes in from the patio with something muddy in his mouth. “What have you got there?” I ask. “If that’s a stick it needs to go back outside.”
“You’ve been going on all of those long bike rides without me so I dug up your writing pen from where I hid it for you. It’s time you started writing again.”
He nudges my hand with his nose and I take the disposable gel pen from him. “I was just getting used to not writing.” I rinse it off in the sink, then scribble on the grocery list. “Still works.”
Fleegle takes a drink of water from his bowl to get the mud out of his mouth. “If you don’t want to write, you could still ride your bike. The neighbor down the street has a trailer for her bicycle and her two kids ride in it when she goes on long bike rides. She doesn’t leave them at home all alone, she shares her love of nature with them.”
“Do her kids weigh 85 pounds like you do?”
“I don’t know.”
“If her kids are full grown I’ll get you a trailer?”
He looks down at his paws for a moment, considering. “Yep, they’re full grown and in their twenties. The boy even has a scruffy beard that makes him look like a terrier. They can’t find work, even with college degrees, but they’re very well behaved when riding in their mom’s trailer.” He tilts his head to the side. “I want a big one I can lie down in, and with enough room to bring along a couple of friends if I want. Everyone loves nature.”
“They better be small friends, very small friends, like Chihuahuas or Min Pins.”
When Hank fell asleep to the sound of Goober, his dog, snoring next to him, he dreamed Goober had become a man and he was now his dog. Goober was a particularly good dog owner because he still remembered what it was like to be a dog even though he was now a man. Hank looked up to him like he was the greatest being on earth, especially since he was feeding him the most delicious snacks he’d ever tasted, even tastier than the ribs at his favorite barbeque joint.
When Hank woke from the dream, Goober was laying next to him, waiting for his eyes to open, and when they did, his tail went thump-thump against the bedspread. It always made Hank smile at how Goober would wag his tail at the smallest things, but this morning it made him take him for a run along the river where there were countless stinky things for Goober to stick his snout in, and afterward he planned to cook up a big breakfast of bacon and eggs for both of them. Goober would love that. Continue reading “Bacon”→
Sadie woke from her nap, stretched her front legs, fanning her toes on her paws as she did, and rose. Dog, I sure needed that nap, she thought. I love naps, naps and balls. She looked inside the small plastic crate next to her bed where she kept the new pet her parents gave her for her birthday.
“Wakey-wakey.” She nudged the crate door with her nose. “Did you sleep well? I sure did. I bet you need to go outside to piddle and make poopies.”
She opened the crate door and out walked a little man about ten inches tall, naked except for a piece of frayed cloth wrapped around his waist. Continue reading “Fallout”→