the last time i visited my mom, she asked me to take my sister to her flute lesson because she needed to crash. flute teacher lives in this really nice house with a really adorable big fluffy white dog – teacher warns me that the dog is a rescue and had been abused by a previous owner so he doesn’t like new people and it’s not anything personal. so i’m not trying to pet or get in his space, just doing that silly pet-talk at dog level from across the room: ‘whos a gorgeous dog!! what a sweetie!’ it’s out of habit more than anything, and i don’t want to seem threatening and scare the poor thing. dog immediately bounds right over, tail ablur, licking and sniffing and leaning into my hand for pets. then he’d lap around the house and bolt back over for more pets. for my sisters whole lesson, i had a very insistent new friend who needed 100% of my attention at all times, especially in pet form. and i’ll tell you, no one’s approval has ever meant more to me than the approval of that abused dog.
It’s late where I am.
I’m online looking up information about build-a-bear. They do fix their bears,
thank God. They even call it the build-a-bear hospital.
was up late gaming, watching football replays, and so-on. I shut things down
about an hour ago and headed upstairs. In the foyer, at the bottom of the
stairs is where the kids’ school backpacks should be, but my youngest daughter’s
wasn’t there. I searched the living room, no dice. I was tired (and still am)
but I figured a couple of extra minutes now would spare them
getting to school late tomorrow, so I kept looking. I even went out to the
garage and looked in both cars and came up empty again.
I checked the den, when right above me I heard faint thumps
and even some growling. The goddamn dog was in my youngest’s bedroom, up to no
good by the sound of it. As quietly as I could tip-toe run up the stairs, I
headed there ready to drag the pooch out to the den where he’d spend the night.
He’d already fled the scene of the crime: her favorite teddy
bear, Charlie, was missing one arm and a leg and his stuffing was out; I could
even see the little silk heart they put in for the kids. Damn it. The only
fortunate thing was that it was the cheapest, basic bear they sell. I scooped
up all of the bits and decided I’d go pick another one up tomorrow. None of the
other toys, no Barbies, other stuffed animals, etc. had been damaged.
She loved this bear, or rather, had loved this bear - now it
was garbage - and would be heartbroken especially when (or rather, if, I
decided right then to not let this get out, so to speak) she found out her
other best pal in the world, our chocolate lab Max, had torn it up.
Quietly making my way back out to the garage, I wrapped
Charlie’s remains up in a shopping bag and lifted the lid on the large trash
“Sorry, dude. You were her favorite.” I muttered.
I heard a muffled voice from inside the bag. Coughing, raspy, labored and it
just about made me drop dead from a heart attack.
okay… just tell Marie I love her. I got… I got most of them… please, don’t
linger out here, go back up, you and Max will scare the rest of ‘em off…
was terrified. I dropped the bag and ran back up to my daughter’s bedroom. Curling around the bed - well, it’s hard to describe - there were shadows projected on the walls around her bed in the corner of the room, but
there was nothing to make any shadows. Nothing to cast them.
incoherently and flipped the room light on. Marie stayed asleep (how, I have no
idea), but the shadows hissed and danced around, slipping over the ceiling and
around the walls in my direction. I leaned out into the hall and threw my
bedroom door open, planning to yell for my wife.
Max bounded out of our room
and into Marie’s and began to bark at top volume. That woke
Marie up. Every bark seemed to dissipate or shatter or dissolve the shadow
forms. Everything happened so quickly. They were all gone before she was fully
awake. Of course, there was crying, and a commotion. My wife came in demanding
to know what happened. I just told them Max had gotten out and raised a ruckus.
So now, I’m back down in the den. I dug out the baby monitor
with camera and I’m keeping an eye on it while I make an “appointment”
to get Charlie repaired.
I went out to the garage, he was still on the floor in the bag. I picked it up
and laid it gingerly in a cabinet where it wouldn’t be seen by Marie first
thing in the morning when we rolled out to school.
As I closed the cabinet
door, I whispered: “I’ll get you fixed up, man."
And I’m not entirely
sure, but just as I stepped back into the house proper, I think I heard a
scratchy voice back in the garage say: Thank you.
Max Brass sat down near the test-tube created fighter, and actually let out a SIGH? Oh truly this wasn’t good- The Commish was almost always in a cheery mood. His eyes met Helix’s, and he sighed yet again. “I feel like I can just talk to ya, kid… Hope ya don’t mind. Do ya ever get the feelin’ like ya’ve slowed down recently?“
This is my baby Max, a loving yellow lab. He passed away a few weeks ago at age 15. His favorites were going for walks, any type of food, getting scratched behind his ears, and gallop to the door when I would get home. I miss him so much