Wayne  Gladstone
lives in New York with his wife and two children. When he is not helping "the man" oppress the weak and naive, he enjoys crafting fiction that nice people don't like. His work has been rejected by some of the finest literary magazines in the Nation.


|| STORY 1.7.05 | estimated reading time: 5:06
A Story About A Boy and His Dog
by Wayne Gladstone

I am a boy, and this is a story about me and my dog. We have an adventure, and my dog saves the day.

I hate my dog, and I don't care how that sounds. True, he ran for help when the mill burned down. And yes, he rescued that baby who fell down the well. But I don't care. He's a rotten dog, and I hope he dies.

His name is Lucky, but I don't call him that. I don't call him anything when there are people around. And when no one's around I call him a whore.

"Go fetch, whore," I'll say, pretending to throw a stick. I don't have a stick, so he jumps around, whipping his head left and right. He fell for that one every day for two weeks. Some super dog. He just couldn't help himself. The last time, though, he bit me in the crotch.

Don't get me wrong. I don't abuse him. I feed him well. I bathe him and give him all the things dogs are supposed to have. It's not that he's such a burden. It's just that he sucks.

He smells too. I suppose he doesn't smell any worse than any other dog, but I'm not grading him on a curve. He's the only dog I have.

But the real killer is that he's such a suck up. Everyone likes him. He goes up to strangers and rubs his head on their legs and looks up lovingly. His eyes are even bluer than mine, and his hair's a touch more golden.

Last week, we went for a walk, and it started like any other day. He ran up to little boys and old ladies, doing his head rub trick for treats. (Everyone in this town has treats.) They dig around in their pockets, and ask, "May I?" leaving their arms half-cocked with dried meat. He'll beg, and watch me out of the corner of his eye, even though he knows I'll say yes. I only deny him snacks after he's already had three. And not to be mean. When he has more than three, he whimpers around with a stomach ache for the rest of the day. He knows the rule of three, but he still goes around doing tricks. Whore.

Eventually, we made our way to the old Johanssen place, hoping to catch a glimpse of Katie. She won the sixth grade beauty pageant, and that was last year before she even had breasts. Now she had a habit of teasing passersby by changing her clothes in front of her open bedroom window, before shutting the curtains at the good part. By the time we got there, her curtains were already drawn, but there was a package on the front porch. Whore dog saw it first, and even though it was decidedly unsuspicious, he started growling so ominously that Mr. Johanssen was forced to come limping out of his house, fastening the loose strap of his overalls.

"What's the matter, boy," he asked, getting down on one knee. "Trouble?"

"Must you do that?" I groaned. "I mean, really. You're only encouraging him."

Whore dog pushed the package up to Mr. Johanssen with his nose.

"The package? Is it the package, boy?"

Whore dog barked once, and Mr. Johanssen gave the parcel a long once over.

"Anthrax? Is it anthrax, boy?"

One bark.

"Good boy, Lucky." he said and gave him a treat without even asking.

"I tell ya, Johnny," Mr. Johanssen said approvingly, "that is one smart dog ya got there." He slapped some dust off his knee.

"Yeah, he sure does know how to bark."

"And to think, I would have opened it."

"You mean you're not going to open it now?"

"I suppose you'd like me to get a face full of anthrax, Johnny"

"Who said anything about anthrax?"

"Lucky, here."

"Mr. Johanssen, Lucky may be many things (like a no good whore, for example) but he is not an anthrax sniffing dog. I don't know if there even are such things, but if so, Lucky's not one of them. I trained him to sit up, roll over, and fetch. That's it. Besides, who’s sending anthrax to Peppermill Falls?"

Mr. Johanssen got down on one knee again. "Good question. Who was it, Lucky? Do ya know, boy?"

One bark.

"Let's see. Who could it be now? Was it the Jews?"

One bark.

"The Jews? Lucky's never even seen a Jew. What do they have to do with this?"

"I don't know," Mr. Johanssen said. "Why don't you ask Lucky?"

I glared down at Lucky and noticed the return address.

"Mr. Johanssen, you wouldn't happen to know a Mildred Willabocker by any chance?"

"She's my sister. Married Milton Willabocker out of Newtonville. How'd ya know?"

"Her name's on the package."

Lucky stared at the ground, and I tugged on his leash a little just to remind him he was a dog.

"Well I'll be," Mr. Johanssen said with surprise.

"Yeah."

"Mildred's gone and turn Jew."

Whore dog gave an extra loud bark and got himself his fourth treat of the day.

 

Word got around about Lucky and his nose for anti-terrorism. It only added to his ever-growing fame, and the inevitable happened: our town threw a parade. (It had been over six weeks since the last one.) There were big floats and Lucky was on the biggest, sitting in a special chair the town built just for him. Katie Johanssen stood beside him in her best dress and old pageant sash showing Lucky off with game show hostess gestures. People threw meat, and Lucky was proud. I watched alone from the sidelines. The day before, I agreed to let Katie stand next to Lucky in exchange for a blowjob.

When we got home I watched him gloat and savor his pile of treats.

"Why can't you just be like normal dogs," I asked.

But he just kept eating, taking time out only occasionally to lick his balls.

"You're everyone's damn super dog," I said. "I just wanted someone to play catch with."

It was another few minutes before he finished. Then he looked up and said, "C'mon, Johnny. You know I love you, but sometimes three treats just isn't enough."


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