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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two brothers spend time with their old dog.

Submitted: August 21, 2016

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Submitted: August 21, 2016




Jonathan Berk

Two brothers walk into their backyard. The younger carries a bag of In-N-Out that contains a plain burger and fries. The older opens the bag and hands their dog the dry piece of meat from the burger; the younger feeds him fries one by one. Once the dog finishes eating, the younger crumbles the bag and places it aside.

“Do you think he would have preferred something else?” asks the younger.

“I don't know; he always eats dog food, so I'm sure he appreciates something different.”

The dog struggles to get up on hind legs that have atrophied from old age. The brothers grab a towel and place it under him. As he gets up, his bulging spine and skinny legs become more apparent.

“Ready?” The older asks; the younger nods. They lift the dog to support his lower body. The dog walks a few steps and pees on the towel, the brothers' hands and the grass. The dog lies down again, letting out a half groan, half sigh.

“14 years...” says the younger, looking down, brushing the dog's head against the grain. “He's lived a lot longer than a dog of his size normally should.”

“I just hope he had a good time.”

“I feel bad that we're interfering; it doesn't feel right. Even if his quality of life is low right now, I feel like every living thing has the desire to continue doing that—living.”

“Sooner or later...”

The dog drifts in and out of light sleep, seeming to fear that if he falls into a deep rest, he'll fail to wake up again.

“Give them food and affection, and they'll reciprocate the latter,” muses the younger, still petting the dog's head.

“I guess,” replies the older “but that's just because—millions of years ago someone decided to feed a wolf. Wolves became more docile as time went on; selective breeding turned them into dogs. By wooing humans, they freed themselves from the need to hunt.”

“Yeah, but there must have been something about the wolf's personality that--

A light turns on in their mother's room. She walks out in her robe, squinting without her glasses. “It's getting late,” she says, walking over to the dog to pet him in various locations that she may have hitherto missed. She walks back in, forgetting to tell the boys to head to bed.

“When is the vet coming tomorrow?” The younger asks.

“10 AM.”

“Up and early,” sighs the younger, placing his hands behind his head, shutting his eyes.

“Did you know that there's a link between cat bites and depression?”

“Sounds a little questionable.”

“It might be the way depressed people make cats feel.”


© Copyright 2019 Jonathan Berk. All rights reserved.

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