7 comments

Contemporary Fiction

      A typical morning. Bird song. The pleasant twitters, trills, and chirping of tender avian species hidden in foliage. The orchestrated honking of fat, loose-bowelled geese. 

           The quacking of mouth-watering, randy mallards. 

           Nippy temperatures that introduce the day. Not much to do. Expectations of a morning meal. 

           Pain. 

           Gut-wrenching, body-convulsing, dog day pain.   

           What time are you getting out of bed, compassionate master? You’re tired? You stayed up late, my inept slave? Late last night, Servant Jeremy was silent, but his fingers clicked away at that machine that lights up the soothing night. Before he shut it off, I heard tinny sounds of human sex come from the device. I smelled his excitement. I sensed the moment he came. He may be human but he’s no less a slave to desire than a dog is to instinct.

           Everything. 

           I know everything he thinks and does. Sorry coatless, speaking biped that he is, he only guesses at my thoughts and motivations. He’s never certain about what’s on my mind or what I feel. And I feel pain. Each morning of every day. Until he gives me that shit-tasting cannabis chew he so graciously tried himself yesterday. I need it now, but as thoughtful and stupid as he is, he’s withholding it, until a more palatable remedy is found for my discomfort. A dis-ease that only increases by the day.

           Thank Dogo, deity of all canine races, there comes Servant Jeremy down the stairs. Shouldn’t be long now.

           “Good morning, Bub.”

           My ears twitch. I blink. Only one of my eyes is still good. “Bub” is not my original name.   

           Master sees me spasming. He reaches down to stroke my body.

           “You’ve seen much better days, Mr. Nino.”

           That’s more like it. That’s what I was named shortly after birth. That’s the name responsible for siring nearly forty offspring. The body bearing that name caused countless speaking bipeds in the neighborhood to panic as they walked their pooches, then caught sight of me and wished they had taken an alternate route on their daily stroll.

          Now I’m old. I’m lazy. I would lay on the couch all day if possible. My hip joints have begun to fail.  Anything other than high-end dog food gives me diarrhea. But eating it every day, while my bipedal Servant butters his bread, salts his steaks, and consumes all manner of sumptuous nourishment is torturous. Servant Jeremy taste-tested the kibble he feeds me as well, believing that if it’s not good enough for a human, it’s not good enough for a dog. Considerate of him, but sometimes I’d prefer to have the runs in exchange for the delights of human food. 

           “The sedentary life is not good for a dog your age, Bub. Today you’re setting paw to sidewalk whether you want to or not.”

           Very well, Servant. This morning I’ll comply. I just hope to see some of the neighborhood mongrels who think they can cross my path free of consequences. But for now, can you move that queer arse of yours and feed my growling belly?

           I can feel what my Servant feels, but these days I cannot feel sympathy for him, especially since he went poof on me. Servant Jeremy decided to come out of the closet at the age of fifty-two. Male canines may whiff each other’s anuses, but it’s never with the intent of sticking a Jizzy Wand in them. Unlike speaking bipeds and all but a few gender-bending animal species, canines conform to pretty strict male-female sex roles.  In opposition to conventional wisdom about dogs, bipeds can always learn a new trick or two, particularly when they’re gender-questioning. I’m hoping his new amorous prospects will not cause Jeremy to neglect me, and, whether poof or straight, his affection, as long as it doesn’t become kinky or bestial, still feels the same.    

           “You ready to eat Bub?” Servant Jeremy makes his usual summoning-to-a-meal call. I dutifully, and hungrily, respond.       

           I lumberingly extricate myself from my bed

           He may have moved on to more sensually satisfying bisexual habits, but I wish Jeremy would give up his musical pastimes. Whenever he makes his frustrated attempts to sing or play an instrument, I am all quiet complaints. The frequencies he summons from the stringed contraption he daily sets on his lap are unpleasant to my still-sensitive ears. While a sweet melody is appreciated by many animal species, and a good rhythm is a welcome province for most warm-blooded terrestrials, my Servant can neither sing to please a circus monkey, nor strum a rhythm decent enough to hold the attention of a curious cockateel. Usually a human voice, when it sticks to the tenor range, can warm a heart growing cold with cynicism. But whenever Servant Jeremy forays into alto, which he tries with unsettling frequency, I prefer to bury my head in a blanket. 

           He enjoys performing in the genre speaking bipeds call "country," but I like to think of as howling twang, music that inspires the kind of febrile copulative acts that breed species such as coy-wolves. The sounds he listens to and makes are very different from the garbage my original servants had a penchant for. Either they enjoyed beat-driven songs that were bass heavy, vocally monotonous, and reminiscent of landscapes only hyenas and jackals can appreciate, or they would blast tunes by speaking bipeds playing buzzing electric string contraptions and dissonantly wailing, trying their best to emulate the growls and pathos-tinged yelping cries that are the sonic hallmarks of my species. There are some things homo-sapiens will always be inferior at. In my opinion, growling, howling, and yelping are just three of them.

           “I purchased some particularly potent CBD oil for you, Bub. It won’t taste as wretched as those chewables.” Servant Jeremy takes a dropper and empties a small fraction of it into the meal he habitually prepares me: high-end kibble and canned salmon. Ah, the anticipation! 

           The problem with Servant Jeremy is not only that he can’t play or sing properly, he’s also washed up. Ever since he got out of jail for driving while inebriated, he doesn’t want to do anything that makes him or others uncomfortable. He is under the impression that this is the tolling of the bell as far as his career as a performance artist is concerned, and he’s right. 

           He’s still concerned with getting ahead in life, but for artists this usually means indulging in irrational acts, actions that are contrary to their social natures. It’s this element that creates value in many endeavors that humans admire. Unlike my species, whom you can always bet will act predictably, humans must be unpredictable to keep their universes in motion. A dog will never know the stressors involved in making a name for oneself in the arts. In my opinion, for Jeremy there could be nothing that currently contraindicates instinct more than indulging in the artistically-motivated dysfunction many creative bipeds rely on for inspiration. 

           And this is precisely the reason why a speaking biped can never really know the beautiful world of instinct canines inhabit, why human existence can never strive for the honesty and morally undivided nature of a dog’s life…  

           “There you go, Bub. Enjoy. And I hope the new medicine works.” Most my teeth are bad-breath rotten. I swallow my meal in tongue-scooping inhalations and audibly forceful gulps.    

           In less than ten minutes, my pain has subsided. But I am overwhelmed by a sensation that is best described as a simultaneous sinking of the stomach and spinning in my field of vision.  My heart thumps in a belabored fashion and my left eye pulses to the beat.

           I am nearly unresponsive moments later when Servant Jeremy comes over to check on the effects of the liquid cannabis.

April 28, 2022 00:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

7 comments

Laura Eliz
16:04 May 07, 2022

Very intresting read :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Susanne Perry
03:56 May 05, 2022

Liked this. You captured the dog’s voice well. Poor old guy.

Reply

Mike Panasitti
18:02 May 05, 2022

Thank you, Susanne. Nino's political views are racist and homophobic, his voice has Jeremy Irons' timbre. He's a poor old guy, but ambivalently bigoted, and high-class British.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Michał Przywara
22:15 May 04, 2022

Heh, it's like a racist old grandparent, but the grandparent is a dog. An amusing story, if sad for the dog's suffering, and a very unusual character for a POV dog. I actually initially assumed it was a cat. Maybe in his old age he no longer has the patience for being man's best friend? :)

Reply

Mike Panasitti
18:07 May 05, 2022

Thanks for the comments, Michal. And, yes, I was aiming for amusing and sad. Nino does still want to be a good friend, though. If you enjoyed this, you may want to look at the first part, simply entitled "Nino."

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
15:45 Apr 30, 2022

Poor doggie... I like the story from his perspective. Well done :)

Reply

Mike Panasitti
18:18 Apr 30, 2022

Jeannette, Thank you. A dog's point of view is still a source of wonderment for me. If you liked this, perhaps you can take a look at the first part, named after the eponymous character. Take care.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply