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.
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
"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
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