Walk with me

The dog walked over and sat down next to the easy chair, looking up with the sad puppy-dog eyes that dogs have mastered since the beginning of time.

“I’m bored,” her eyes seemed to say. “There’s nothing to do here. Is this all there is to life?”

“You could read a book,” he said with a smile, mimicking what his mother used to say. “You could go outside and play if you promise not to dig up holes and eat plants that make you throw up.”

At this the dog took a few steps, circled three times and curled up on the floor, either sulking or drifting off to sleep, or both.

“This does seem to be all there is to life sometimes, doesn’t it, Luv?” he said to the dog. “We work for our food and shelter, we keep them and ourselves fit and clean, we pretty up the place a bit, and we entertain ourselves with books and music and TV.” He thought about this for a little while. “It’s not a bad life. We have enough to get by, if not too much. But you don’t want to just ‘get by,’ do you?

“You want to run through fields and chase the ball for me, race the rabbits through the woods, and step outside the boundaries and see what adventures await out there. I do know how you feel, and I can assure you there is life galore to be had outside these walls and even outside these three lovely acres.”

He sat and reflected about some of the life he had led out there, some of it high adventure indeed, some of it happy, some of it very sad.

“Come on, girl,” he said to the dog, who jumped right up because she was only pretending to sleep for his sake. “Let’s go for a walk.”

I would like to say that walk changed everything, that he and the dog lived happily ever after. He did see how much she enjoyed sniffing here way along the field and the street, marveling at everything as if seeing it for the first time — and come to think of it, we are seeing everything for the first time moment by moment, day by day, aren’t we? We might change our attitude about life if we saw it all like a dog on a walk.

But for the most part, it was a walk like any other, on a day like any sunny summer day, and in the end it was not memorable, except in the sense that sunny summer days pile up and create an impression that walking along with a dog on a sunny summer day is a pleasant experience that bears repeating, and years from now on a cold winter night, he will think back and remember the summers, and the night won’t feel quite so cold.

Bunny’s close call

There was a rabbit who lived in a thicket by the side of the road. He loved Ms. Carol’s flowers, but she did not return the love.

She liked her flowers just fine the way they were, you see, but the rabbit loved to nibble on them because they were delicious.

One day, the rabbit was munching away when Ms. Carol walked out on her porch carrying a BB gun.

“OK, varmint, that’s all the flowers you’re going to eat in one lifetime.” She took aim and fired.

Fortunately for the rabbit, she didn’t aim quite perfectly, and the BB only skipped a pile of mulch into the rabbit’s face. This was alarming enough, however, and the rabbit jumped into the air and raced away as only rabbits can race, never to return.

A few days later, Ms. Carol’s puppy looked into the empty yard and mournfully back at her.

“I miss the rabbit,” the puppy whined.

“Don’t you start,” she replied. The flowers were pleased, though, and lived happily ever after, or at least for the rest of the bright sunny summer.

Trouble in Utopia

Futuristic City © Mik3812345 | Dreamstime.com

In the far-off future year of 2022, in a gleaming city of light, the council met to review its latest scientific goals.

“We have conquered our demons and learned to live in peace,” The Leader said smugly. “The worst of our fearful diseases have been eradicated or at least arrested. Our explorers have established outposts on Mars, Venus, and the moons of Jupiter. What’s next?”

Suddenly a motley crew burst into the chambers and trained weapons on the wise old men.

“What’s the meaning of this?” a council member sputtered.

“While you have been busy making the world a better place, you’ve neglected the underbelly of society as always,” said the motley crew’s ringleader. “You’ve stopped rattling sabers at people we don’t know and have no quarrel with, and for that I thank you kindly. And it’s very nice that my kids won’t die from the disease that killed my mother. It’s also good to know I can leave this orb and move to another planet. But I don’t want to leave, and there are people still suffering here.”

“Suffering? You’ve just pointed out that no one is at war, we need fear no disease, and opportunities abound on several worlds,” The Leader smirked. “Would that we all suffer the like.”

“This world is not quite as peaceful as you claim. You didn’t conquer our demons, you outlawed them,” the ringleader countered. “WHEN HATE IS OUTLAWED, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE HATE. And, oh, we outlaws have much pent up.”

For the next generation to discover

“This aging stuff is fascinating,” the aging man said to his companion. “It’s like I’m slowly melting. Everything is falling apart or congealing into a tub of goo, and my mind sees it all happening and is powerless to change the inevitable.”

“You could exercise, lose weight, wrap your aching joints, take an aspirin,” his companion suggested.

“The inevitable would still be inevitable.”

“Of course. But you could delay it, give yourself some extra years to work with.”

“There’s that,” he admitted, sipping his coffee. Rather than set the cup down, he cradled it against his chest, using his prodigious belly as a shelf, feeling the warmth against his fingers. “I want for it to all have meant something, you know? I want to have inspired someone or been a good example. I suppose I could inspire by being a bad example — ‘Don’t be this guy, children’ — but wouldn’t it be better to fill others’ souls with hope and desire and a drive to greatness?”

“How do you know that hasn’t already happened?” replied the companion.

“Wouldn’t I know?”

“Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you’ve written something like It’s A Wonderful Life and no one will find it until 30 years from now, you know, maybe that thing you wrote way back when will resonate with the next generation.”

“I see what you mean. I’m always digging through old stuff looking for that hidden gem no one has noticed, so I can lift it up and say, ‘Look here, isn’t this fine? Look at this, listen to that.’ And I love when I’ve been saying that for years and suddenly people have finally seen and heard.”

“There you have it,” assured the friend. “It’s not for you to fully know what you’ve accomplished, maybe. Maybe someone like you, who searches for the hidden gems, will stumble across your stumbling 50 years from now and think, ‘Well, look here, isn’t this fine? I need to share this.’”

“I do like to share …”

Who killed the quick brown fox

© Carl Monopoli | Dreamstime.com

The quick brown fox jumped. The lazy dog was having none of that. She snapped at the air and nipped the fox’s tail.

“Hey!” said the fox. “That’s not the drill.”

“It is now,” growled the dog.

“You don’t understand. ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.’ That’s tradition. That’s how it works. That’s the way it’s always been done. No tail-nipping.”

“If you don’t zip it and let me get back to sleep, a bite mark on your precious tail will be the least of your problems.”

The fox started. “I thought we were friends.”

“Friends let their friends sleep,” said the dog.

“Not true,” said the fox. “Friends jump over their friends and say, ‘Rise and shine, it’s a brand new day.’ Really, we do!”

The dog grunted.

“You have a point,” the dog admitted. “Sometimes a body needs a rest, though.”

“You can rest when you’re dead,” said the fox. “Come on, back to work.”

The detective stopped the video surveillance recording.

“Do I need to show you the rest, dog?”

“You gotta understand,” the dog pleaded.

“Oh, I understand,” the detective said. “You were tired. He wasn’t. I might have killed him, too. But murder is kind of against the law.”

“Where did this recording come from?”

“Kind of obvious, don’t you think?”

“I guess so,” the dog said. “What was your probable cause to set up a camera there?”

“Probably cause, shmobable cause. We caught you dead to rights.”

“I’m just asking,” the dog said. “Did you have reason to believe murders or other crimes would be committed in that spot, or were you just nosy?”

“Does it matter?”

“I guess, in this day and age, no.”

A glimpse into nowhere

“In the town where I was born, an old brick hotel loomed over the downtown. A very long time ago it was a stagecoach stop, with a restaurant and rooms to let, but over the years someone whitewashed it and let it get ugly. Years after I moved away, a new owner sandblasted back to the old brick and made it look lovely again.

“I’m telling you all this to let you know years have passed and much has changed since I left the town where I was born. And actually this is the town where we moved when I was 10; the town where I was born was somewhere else. 

“This narrative may be going nowhere, but I have a story to tell that you may or may not want to hear.”

The odd old man paused there and closed his eyes. Was he collecting his thoughts or taking a cat nap? The answer would have to wait, because suddenly the session ended, just like that.

Random scene: Can’t trust those sleeping dogs

“Well, you know what they say,” he said. “Sleeping dogs lie.”

She rolled her eyes. “That’s not what they say.”

“I’m pretty sure it is.”

“OK, fine,” she said. “So who’s the sleeping dog in this scenario?”

“It’s pretty obvious, don’t you think?”

“If it was obvious, I wouldn’t be asking.”