Don't Bother Lying Unless You Have an Excellent Memory
The dog had an excellent memory, even if its owners weren’t aware. He was going to get the squirrel, and they were going to forgive him by the end of the week. Just like the time he’d pissed on their iPhone after they’d spent a Sunday afternoon watching cat videos, ignoring his requests for a walk.
“What a bad, bad dog,” The woman had said, but by the end of the night he was back beside her on the couch, watching Scandal.
The squirrel was on the fence, waiting for the geriatric neighbour to stumble out and feed it unshelled peanuts. The dog ran to the patio door and pawed at the glass. His owners did nothing. He angled his scratches toward the recently painted trim, letting out a yelp to alert the man to the impending destruction.
“Fine. Go in the yard. I’ll find it later.” They both knew this was a lie. When it came up white and crumbling next spring, he’d deny it to the woman.
The dog liked the smell of the fallen leaves, liked yipping them between his teeth, just to marvel at their lack of substance, their must. He spotted the squirrel hanging by its back legs down the bark of the maple, stuffing its mouth with a pear. The dog sank down, his jowls curled up, teeth close to chattering.
Then a crow dropped a crust of toast. It fell a pace from the dog’s snout. The squirrel darted down the tree and paused, checking the reaction. The dog forced its eyelids to descend, leaving only a slit, as if he’d fallen asleep. The squirrel sneaked forward.
One spring and the dog had it between his jaws. Had it raised off the ground, whipping it from side to side, a motion he’d practiced with a rope at the hand of the man and woman. He felt the tail slap the corner of his eye. He released, satisfied. The thing didn’t scurry off. It lay there, punctured. It’s liquid had sprayed the dog’s face in places he couldn’t lick clean.
When the man opened the patio door, the dog should have bounded back. Instead, he stayed frozen, so the man had to walk over and see the small, twitching bundle.
“It’s still alive.” The man’s voice was reedy. He would not look at the dog. He walked to the garage and came back with a shovel.
The woman opened the door.
“No, stay back. Just stay there,” the man bellowed. He collected the mauled bits in an old grocery bag and trailed inside after her.
The dog waited to be summoned. It was one of the first cold days of the fall, when the frost wilts the last green stalks. The dog waited for the glass door to open again. The dog waited.
(written by Claire Tacon, read by Chioke I'Anson)
That rad music you hear at the end is by Tigerrosa. Buy their debut album here
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