Tuesday, April 17, 2012

*Fast Dogs* Part II

My son was a mucous mess when he crawled upstairs to inform me the long-legged, beagle-howling, slut puppy sister hounds had run away. Again. I drew him onto my lap and used my shirt sleeve to dab at the snot beneath his nose.
            "They'll come back, honey," I said into his damp curls. "They always do."
            "I hope so, Mommy. 'Cause I don't want 'em to get smooshed by a car and have to be scraped off the street with a splatula."
            I cupped his chin and rotated his face. "What in the world are you talking about?"         
            "That's what Daddy said would happen someday."
            "Did he really? Well, why don't you pray right now the dogs will come home by supper?"
            My little guy bowed his head and clenched his hands together.
            "Dear God," he said.
            I peeked through my lashes. His eyes were squinched shut and his little boy forehead was lined with effort. I felt like a bike tire pump was attached to my heart, swelling it with little gusts of honeysuckle-scented air.
            "Please bring Daisy and Little Paint home sooner than now. And please don't let them get squished by a car. I think if I had to look at their blood and guts on the road where they got killed, it'd make me barf every time until the rain washed it away."
            I bit my lip.
            "We love them so much, God. They're so soft and nice. They let me lay on them like a couch. Please bring 'em home soon. Please? Thank you. Hey-men."
            "That was quite a prayer, sweetie," I said. "I bet the dogs are on their way home right now. Let's go down and see."
             In the foyer we opened the front door. No dogs. On the back porch we whistled and promised treats. Nothing.
            That night, I peeked out at the porches one more time before I went to bed. Nada. They weren't there in the morning either.

At lunch I spoke into my yogurt cup. “They’ve never been gone longer than a few hours. Maybe they’re not coming back this time.”
            I glanced up at the ceiling. And waited. To see if my heart would feel happy or sad.
            When our middle child came home from school that afternoon, she flung her jean jacket to one side of the foyer and her backpack to the other.
            "Are the dogs back? Did anyone call?”
            As I bent to pick up her scatterings, I told her no and no. She phoned the animal shelter and asked if they'd found a tan, Beagle-looking, long-legged girl dog and a white and tan, Beagle-looking, long-legged girl dog. Tears streaked her face as she nestled the phone back in its base.
            When she phoned the shelter the next day, the guy at the pound said, "Look, miss. Don't call us anymore. We'll call you. If we find them."
            Middle Child sprang up from the settee, her pointer finger in the air.
            “The mailman,” she said as she darted out the front door.
            Not a bad thought. Our mail carrier loved the dogs. Brought them Milk Bones every day. Called Daisy and Little Paint his girlfriends.
            “He promised he'd keep an eye out for them,” Middle Child said when she returned.
            At supper, the kids prayed for the dogs to come home. At bedtime, they beseeched God yet again.

The next day, the kids created fliers and posted them on every telephone pole within a mile of our house. They organized a search party with neighborhood kids.
            "I'll give whoever finds them, two dollars," Middle Child said. "One for each dog."

On the fifth day, all three kids cornered me. "Do something, Mommy!”
            "Like what?"
            They crowded into my personal space bubble, eyes huge and shiny, hands flailing.     
            "Like . . . something!"
            I phoned the newspaper and placed a missing dogs ad in the Saturday and Sunday papers.
            “No charge,” the lady said. “And don't worry. This’ll work. I got my cat back the day I ran an ad.”
            She was wrong. No one called. Days number six and seven came and went.
            "Do you think they'll ever come back?" I asked my husband as I pasted my toothbrush that night.
            He shrugged. "I seriously doubt it. They've never been gone this long," he said. "As fast as they run, they're probably in another state by now.  And if that's the case, I don't know if they can find their way back."
            I sipped water and swished and spat. Then sighed. "You're probably right. No one's called from the paper. I bet they lost their collars. Or their i.d. tags fell off."

The next day I phoned the vet and cancelled the dogs' upcoming check-up. When the gal asked why, I confessed the dogs had skipped town.
            "Daisy and Little Paint? No way!" the clinic receptionist said. "Bring us a flier and we'll hang it up on our bulletin board. We’ll get your doggy daughters back."
            My husband grumbled when I handed him a sign to deliver to the vet's office.
            "You know I don't want them back, don't you?”
            I nodded. I knew.


Sara said...

Okay, I read Fast Dogs and then Fast Dog II...you got me wanting to know "the rest of the story."

I do hope this story ends well, but you definitely tell a good story:~)

Tony said...

Oh those dogs!!! You gotta love em!

writingdianet said...

@ Sara: Part II is up now so you can find out now how the story ends. Sort of. There's actually more. Stay tuned:)

@ Tony: Really? Do I really have to love 'em? Yeah, I guess I do:)


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