I am stepping out of the box a little today with a post that is a short fictional story. The inspiration came from a writing assignment given to the members of the Pulaski Writer’s Alliance. We were instructed to write a story based on the posters and signs that might be found on an electrical pole.
While Beauregard is a dog, this post is dedicated to Dixie Darling Davis, a very special Kitty that has gone to wait in heaven for Isabella and their humans Joyce and Jim.
I am Beauregard, I have somehow become separated from my human and I am quite disturbed by this fact. You see he needs me, and even though he is quite intelligent for a human he is still human and he may do something dangerous such as walk around the neighborhood unchaperoned if I don’t get back to him. I’m absolutely sick with worry to the point that I feel new wrinkles forming in my already loose Shar Pei skin.
Tuesday morning Jerome got the leash out, just like in the good old days when it was Jerome, Beth and me, three peas in a pod. We used to go for walks around the neighborhood and make stops along the way to chat with the other neighbors that were out walking or puttering around in their grass. I still miss Beth but I don’t think she is coming back, Jerome misses her too and he often talks to her as if she were still with us.
Mrs. Ortiz comes every day but she isn’t like Beth. She cleans and cooks and takes care of Jerome but at night she leaves. They are not in love. Dogs know about that sort of thing.
It is now Friday and there is no sign of Jerome. He drove the car which has been against the rules even before Beth wouldn’t wake up and was carried out on a narrow bed covered with a sheet.
When we arrived at the gas station Jerome couldn’t remember how to put gas in the car. I tried to tell him but he doesn’t speak dog. A man wearing a blue, orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt helped him figure it out. Jerome told me to come so I followed him into the store but the man behind the counter said, “Your dog can’t come in.” Jerome told me to stay and that is exactly what I did. When Jerome came back out I wagged my tail and and continued to stay because I like being a good dog. I thought he was testing me the way he does sometime before giving me a treat, but then he got in the car and drove away.
At first I tried barking for help, but as I suspected Jerome isn’t the only human that doesn’t speak dog. It’s very frustrating that I went to all the trouble to learn both English and Spanish yet neither Jerome nor his staff can be troubled to learn even the most basic phrases in dog. As I said, they are only human and I must not be too hasty to judge their lack of linguistics.
The sun is up and today is going to be cold. Cars race past where the two streets intersect. Jerome must have sent all these humans out to search for me. I sit patiently by the pole on the corner. I am both hungry and thirsty but I know I must hold my head high and look at the passers by so that they will spot me. I am after all, a bit vertically challenged. Ah yes, here comes a human now, I will be back taking care of Jerome before Ms. Ortiz gets him into his clothes and to the dining room for his eggs, toast and coffee. I spring to my feet and wag my tail in appreciation.
As the human, (a female) exits her car I dance and smile so that she knows I will not harm her. It would be easier if she spoke dog but, whatever. She walks straight towards me with a paper in one hand and a tool in the other. She pats me on the head then uses the tool to affix the paper to the pole. Then she turns abruptly on her heal and gets back into her car.
Hey!, wait, I’m right here, I am Beauregard! Aren’t you going to take me to Jerome? She closes the car door and as she pulls back onto the street. I swallow my pride then bark, “Come back! I am Beauregard and Jerome needs me! Please, I am a good dog, Please!
After she has gone I look at the sign she posted. It announces that there is yet another yard sale. Seriously, humans are so weird about collecting expensive things and then selling them for a loss. If they would just learn how to understand dog I could really help them with things like economics and finance.
Then I see it, right there, next to the yard sale sign. It is a picture of me with the word LOST. I can’t be lost because I have stayed near the gas station all this time. However, I am certain it is me because I am holding my favorite rubber ball, the one Jerome put into my Christmas stocking year before last. Poor Jerome, he thinks I am the one that is lost.
I sniff the blend of aroma’s on the pole. Labrador, mutt, poodle and many more. I even get a whiff of boy. I bet that little guy got in big trouble when his parents caught him marking his territory in public.
Another vehicle stops, it is large,white and shaped like a cube with words on the side. Before I have a chance to read the words two men get out and waste no time coming my way. One has some kind of scary looking tool and the scent they give off is not friendly. My nose itches with their stench and I can’t contain the low growl that simmers deep in my empty belly. The man without the tool calls out, “ Here poochy, poochy” and holds out a stale generic cookie. My fur stands on end and I show my teeth. How dare they insult me! I know Jerome would not approve of these two clowns. I don’t like leaving my post but I know better than to ignore my instincts. I run behind the store and hide behind a dumpster used by the businesses on the block. New scents fill my nose, spoiled ham and runny sour potato salad along with garbage damp with coffee grounds. I am hungry but not enough to eat the spoiled human food, not yet.
After waiting a long time I realize how incredibly tired I am so I curl up for a much needed nap. Maybe after some sleep I won’t be so tempted by the rotting ham. I dream about happy days with Beth and Jerome. When I wake up I an consumed with a greater urgency to find him. I trot down the street and go several blocks until the businesses fade into apartment buildings. I sniff and sniff but I am not picking up Jerome’s scent.
A small brown brown girl with kind eyes comes towards me. She holds out her hand. “Como se llama? she inquires. I am so excited, she must be part of Ms. Ortiz’s litter and she has been sent to help me reunite with Jerome. I sniff her hand and then give it a small lick. She tastes like beef and cumin with a little cilantro. She rubs my head and I call out, I am Beauregard! She tells me her name is Jacinta. I follow Jacinta to her home where they give me water and tortillas. Not my favorite, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings and they fill my empty belly.
I wait patiently for them to take me to Jerome but they go to their beds and I know they are going to sleep. They put me outside and tell me to be a good dog. When the door closes I take off on my search. I appreciate their kindness but I must find Jerome.
After hours of sniffing and trotting down familiar and strange streets I pick up his scent. I have have been focusing on the scent of my human so much that I just now realize that I am back at the pole where I started my day. I pause to look at some of the other papers. Next to the paper with my picture is a new paper that halfway covers the yard sale paper. The picture is Jerome. The words read Gold Alert and tell anyone that finds Jerome to call 911. I also see the word dementia. That explains why Jerome left without me. It wasn’t a test to see how long I would be a good dog and stay where he said to stay. Jerome forgot me.
The wind brings his scent stronger and I quickly turn and run around the opposite corner towards the scent of my beloved human. Jerome! I see him he is lying on the ground a few feet back in the trees. I lick his face and bark. Jerome, Jerome! You must wake up! Please, please, you need your medicine and you must get out of the cold. Jerome I whimper and lick his face. His skin tastes sweeter than it ever has but it is not warm, he doesn’t move. I have failed my precious human and I howl in agony until the men in the ambulance come and take both of us away. I can only hope that they are taking us to Beth. Yes, Beth will give us hugs and kisses and everything will again be ok.
Copyright Suzanne Pogue May 2019
Photo appreciation to bahram-bayat-11, japeth-master, charlie-foster, sandy-miller, neobrand and andrea-popa-750 on unsplash.com