Master Dog

     Felix lived from coffee to coffee. Coffee was the biggest

pleasure in his round life and did not interfere with his bald

spot, his chubby tummy or his thin arms and legs. But he

had to be careful of the neighbours.

               He looked at Dog.

               "Dog," he mumured.

               Dog raised his head mournfully, questioning.

               "What'dya' think?"

               He couldn't think of a proper name for his dog,

couldn't be bothered. He was worried about getting the

right kind of dog. A guy dog, so he chose a lab-type, at

least, he figured it was. He picked it up at the dog pound,

fed it crumbles, and now Dog was ten years old, and Felix,

retired from the cedar shake mill, was sixty-eight years old.

               He walked to his living-room, cracked open the

curtain and watched the woman walking down the sidewalk.

Dog watched him. It had snowed more over night. She was

having trouble. He thought he should check on her, maybe

even invite her in for coffee, but presumed she would not be

interested, so let her continue on her way.

               "Hmmm . . . snowed more last night, Dog."

               Dog perked his ears, and sauntered to the bag of

doggie crumbles. Then he looked at Felix, his master. Felix

grabbed a handful, and dropped them into Dog's dish. Dog

was unimpressed because he always ate the same thing.  

               Felix imagined himself walking arm in arm with

that woman outside, thought maybe he'd approach her if he

sees her again, but knew he wouldn't, presumed the worst,

rejected, and thought he'd have been better if born a crab,

scuttling across the ocean floor, eating crumbs and watching

for predators.

               "Hell, I'm gonna have somethin' ta eat."

               He turned on the boob tube, and settled into the

couch with a coffee and a buttered bagel. He heard voices

outside, words like "snow" and phrases like "pretty deep."

He peeked out the curtain again; it was that woman talking

to his lady neighbour.

               Dog sensed the new-fallen snow and whined to go

out, so Felix lumbered his butt off the couch, and went to

the mirror to check his appearance.


               He put on his hoodie coat.

               They were outside; Dog sat beside his master, Felix.

But soon he loped out into the deep snow in the yard, while

Felix watched him. Dog loved the snow.

               He buried his head deep and began plowing, like a

pig snouting. Faster and faster he went, tracked the snow

here and there, made furrows deep across and around the

yard as Felix watched, stared, his big belly flopped over his

belt under his hoodie coat, faceless he watched Dog.

           The two women across the street watched too, and

Felix felt like he was being studied, Dog was being studied,

and realized his best days were behind him, his lost

opportunities were behind him, and finally, admitted he

was afraid, afraid of what these ladies would find out, yet,

there was nothing to find out, and that was the problem.

               Felix had never seen Dog behave like this. His

whole head was buried deep in the snow as he ran around

the yard.

               Dog stopped, perked his head up from the snow

with his ears cocked and looked at his master. And Felix,

for no reason he knew of, pulled the hoodie over his head,

flopped on his back and swept his skinny arms and legs

through the snow. The white covered his face, his body, but

he didn't feel cold; he felt good. He had forgotten about the

gossipy neighbours and his easy life of doing nothing.

               The woman across the street, the one he liked,

said, "Oh My God, that man had a jammer!"

               The gossipy neighbour stared while the woman ran

across the street to Felix who lay in the deep snow. Dog,

still stared, ears perked, as the woman looked down at Felix.

               "Are you ok?"

               Felix looked up at the woman, her face angelic in

the falling snow that was touching his face.  

               "I'm making a snow-angel."

               "Kind of old for a snow-angel, aren't we?"

               It was the neighbour lady, Mrs. Burns; Felix

recognized her voice.

               He turned on his side and tried to get up from the

deep snow, held both arms out and both of the women

pulled, one on each arm. He was almost up, but slipped and

all three tumbled back in the deep snow. Dog watched.

               "You stupid bugger," said Mrs. Burns.

               "What has gotten into you?"

               The other lady's face went red, and Dog, started

rooting in the snow again. They all watched him.

               "Blame him," said Felix nodding at the travelling


               Felix got up to one knee, and again, each woman

got under each arm steadying him. He rose from the snow

fresh and happy.

               "That felt good, wish I'd done that sooner."

               "Like this," said the woman he liked.

               She fell back in the drift.

               "Yeah, like that."


Published in "Fires of Autumn", Anthology of Creative Writing, 2018

Frank Wayne