Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A dog with no conscience

Having a hard time getting to the posting this week, between time spent migrating to a new computer and getting ready for some out of town visitors. I'm keeping up with my Creative Caffeine commitments, though. Only three days to go and no, I don't seem to be particularly inspired in the a.m. Next week it's back to coffee and the newspaper in the dark morning hours.

But today I had a prompt that made me think of the dog, and I think my 10 minutes of writing turned up something vaguely Marley-and-meish, so I'm sharing. We had to start with the sentence "He did not want any consequences."

Back to regular posts next week!

He did not want any consequences. Then again, he was a dog to whom consequences were meaningless. A momentary shadow over the sun, perhaps, but only if it was the big one yelling at him, the one who brought home the big yellow bags of kibble and told the smaller ones to get off him when he was trying to nap on his bed. When those same smaller ones yelled at him, grabbing stuffed animals out of his mouth or holding up those irresistible chewy plastic toys with hair on top, it was no more his worry than a cat crying over a mouse. They were his packmates; if they didn’t want him to have one of their play toys, well, they could sensibly get down on all fours and growl at him. But when the big one yelled, there was no fighting the impulse to put his tail between his legs for a few moments.

The hardest time for him was when the big one was cooking and the dark one came from from wherever he spent his long days. The two humans would meet in the kitchen, from whence the most savory smells issued, and the small ones would be elsewhere in the house, temporarily defending their toys. Food balanced on the edge of counters, and plates set high on the dining table held – what? The dog could smell all manner of deliciousness, but it was only if he made the leap, simple really, to put his front paws on counter or table to stretch out his sinewy body, that he could scope out his target. But to do so invited the immediate wrath of the big one, the dark one, and sometimes the small ones.

The worst of it was that at some point while that human food was being prepared, the big one would always call for one of the small ones while the dog listened for the cue that came buried in her longer bark: “dog dinner.” This resulted in the placement of a chipped red bowl full of dry kibble on the floor and the apparent expectation that the dog be thrilled about it, just as the humans were starting to dip into pots and platters on the table to fill their plates. It was insult on top of injury.

But on this night, the dark one had called the big one outside to show her something. And on the edge of the hot white box was a platter, and on that platter was the biggest piece of corned beef that the dog had ever seen.

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