The Hydrant

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. Continue reading “The Hydrant”

Negotiating with Cookies – Take-Out

Fleegle and I are in the car on our way to our first dog walking appointment when Fleegle says, “Raud, the Seaweed Men came again last night.”

“The who?”

“I call them the Seaweed Men because they smell like seaweed, but they don’t really look like men, more like children with really big hairless heads.”

“You must’ve been dreaming, and we both know how weird your dreams can be.”

“Nope, I wasn’t dreaming. I was wide awake, though I couldn’t move. I never can when the Seaweed Men show up, can’t even bark to wake you up.”

I stop the car for a red light. “What do these Seaweed Men do?”

“Oh, they usually float you through a hole in the bedroom ceiling and you’re gone for a few hours.”

“But there isn’t a hole in the bedroom ceiling.”

“I know that and you know that, but they don’t. If they want a hole there, there’s a hole.”

“I think I’d remember any nighttime excursions that involved levitations and passing through ceilings.” The light turns green and I step on the gas.

“Nah, you sleep through it every time.”

“Every time? How long have these Seaweed Men been coming?”

“As long as I can remember?”

“That’s at least three years and you’re just telling me now?”

“They didn’t ask me not to this time.”

“I see.”

“I think they just forgot. But don’t worry about it, they always bring you back.” He stands up in his seat and wags his tail. “Is it time for my lunch yet? I could really go for some California rolls right about now, with an extra wrap of seaweed, how about you?”

 

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