The Dogs


I donít know why it started, but all of a sudden they were fighting.

I was barely awake at this hour, standing barefoot in the kitchen, trying to think of how to make coffee. Of course I know how to make coffee Ė itís just hard in the mornings to get my brain going. I stand there and stare at things.

Sometimes things stare back.

The dogs. I let them out.

There is approximately half of a teaspoon of coffee left in the can, and I am really pissed off about it. Wouldnít you be? If you use the coffee up, it is your obligation to open up another can. What if your fucking wife would like a cup? Duhh.  Like thatísí never happened.

Thatís just common sense, which is something I sure as shit canít expect out of Hank. So now Iíve got a situation where I have to find a can opener and do it by myself. The dogs are making a racket outside and I am just about to get a headache. I yell for them to shut up and they do, for about half a second. I need a cigarette bad. Just as soon as I get my coffee.

Something changes in the air. The dogs are at it. Thereís a saying among pit lovers, ďNever trust a pit bull not to fight.Ē No matter how sweet and loving they may be to you, theyíve still got that aggressiveness bred into them. I hear Basher yelp and I kinda think ĎKick his ass Bebeí. Iím just joking to myself, you know, just because Basher is Hankís dog, and my dog is tougher. I still love Basher.

Iíve just gotten the coffee open when I hear the sound. This is real. It sounds like the dinosaurs in one of those old fifties movies. I drop the can from my hands and it fans out in brown waves across the linoleum.

Basher is hurt bad, heís bleeding and snapping wildly at the air, trying to get a piece of Bebe but failing. Jesus. Bebe is killing him. I canít let this happen. This is Hankís dog. Bebe has sunk her teeth into Bashers chest and has ripped a red gash into him. Red meat.

I donít know what to do, I grab the broom and begin to hit Bebe, yelling for her to let go, stop it,  but she doesnít even look at me. I just keep hitting her and she doesnít even notice, she is shaking Basher, and he is looking dazed and wild, and blood is spurting from his chest, and I donít know what to do and I donít know what Iím doing and I get one of Hankís guns, the pistol from the top of the refrigerator, and I donít know anything about guns, just enough to release the safety. I run back outside, and my feet are covered in mud and coffee. I think I may be too late, but what can I do? I have to do something. This is Hank's dog. So I aim and close my eyes and fire and when I open them again Bebe is looking at me but not looking at me, and I am freaking because I have blown off half of her right rear paw, and amazingly she turns back to Basher and continues to slaughter him.

I am vaguely aware that Gwendolyn has wandered outside, and she is leaning against the screen door, watching with her mouth agape as I move closer, and this time with eyes wide open put a bullet into the back of Bebeís head.

And I swear unto Jesus Christ, before she died, she looked up at me with those big orange eyes and sent me love.

© 2003, Mark Hoback