Sorry that it’s been so long… I’ve been working on something more long-form in my free time. I apologize for my absence. Anyway, here it goes again (it’s entirely possible I have dogs on the brain..):
“Ok, Nacho… Go fetch!”
She threw the stick as far as she could, which was not so very far, after all. She wouldn’t be entering the Olympics for javelin throwing any time soon, but at least the throw was strong enough to send the stick sailing over the hill and out of sight.
Wriggling her toes in the cool grass, she looked up at the sky. The sun would set soon. They ought to leave before that happened. She wasn’t sure what time it was, or how long she’d been flinging that stick over the hill…. Certainly longer than she should’ve. But even repetitive tasks go quickly when you’ve got enthusiasm for them. And Nacho had enough enthusiasm for the both of them.
She smiled as the little brown-and-white terrier came racing back over the hill, stick firmly clamped between his jaws. Taking it from him, she turned it end-over-end in her hands. They should leave… probably. A not-so-subtle growl alerted her to the fact that someone else certainly did not want to leave.
A few more throws couldn’t hurt, right?
She hurled it again and watched the furry white body racing against the darker grass and away from her.
Some things were certain, she thought, glancing up at the sky again. The sun would always set in the west. It would always rise in the east. Water would always be wet. Nacho would always come back to her, with or without his stick.
Why couldn’t humans be as reliable?
Sometimes, in a cynical mood, the thought came to her that no one would ever love her as much as her dog. At times like this, it seemed true, as she watched the little dog zoom down the hill and back to her.
“Good boy,” she knelt down, tugging the stick out of his jaws and stopping to scratch behind his ears in that way that he liked. “You’re such a good boy…. If only you could fetch me a boyfriend.”
The dog’s ears perked up, probably because he’d heard the word ‘fetch.’
She gave him a mock-stern look.
“Enjoy this,” she said. “It’s the last time.”
Sigh. As if dogs understood English. This one didn’t, judging by the jolly wag of his tail.
She threw the stick again and watched the little white dog sprint up the hill.
He was taking longer this time…. Had she thrown the stick farther? Maybe she should go get him…. But no… here he came, racing back down the hill …. with something clamped in his jaws.
From a distance, it looked nothing like a stick. Up close, it was abundantly clear that the thing was not a stick. It was, in fact, a sneaker, laces untied and dangling like little white flags as the dog raced towards her.
Was it somebody’s sneaker?
Had her dog just swiped somebody’s shoe?
It looked like it. It was a fairly nice sneaker, at least as far as sneakers go. It did not look as though this grim, sad world had beaten it into submission yet, which, really, is the best that can be said of any sneaker.
Should she go over the hill and find the owner of said shoe?
She looked at the sneaker and then back at Nacho. The return of the sneaker, if it did in fact belong to someone, could wait a few more minutes, she decided. In reality, she just wanted to see what her little dog would bring back next.
She picked up another stick and flung it as hard as she could. Nacho took off.
Again, he took longer than he had before. She knew she wasn’t that good of a stick-thrower.
This time, she had the good sense to identify the shoe from a distance.
Heh. At least now she had a pair. Maybe she should take Nacho shopping. She’s heard of a five-finger discount before…. Maybe a two-paw discount was just as good.
Now she knew she should cross over the hill and find whatever barefoot person had just had their shoes stolen by her entrepreneurial dog… but she couldn’t resist throwing the stick one more time, just to see what she’d find.
Maybe the dog could provide her with a whole new wardrobe… It would certainly be an economical way to shop.
This time the small white blur came racing over the hill with something entirely different. Neither fish nor fowl, as they say. Or in this case, neither stick nor shoe nor cute jean jacket that she’d been admiring in a store window the other day.
It was big and square and flapping between his teeth…. It was a book. She could see the pages of the paperback flopping as he ran.
He came right to her, tail wagging as he presented his treasure. She had just taken the slightly slimy paperback in hand, wiping it off as best she could with a corner of her t-shirt, when a shout drew her attention back to the hill.
“Get back here, you little runt!”
“He’s not a – oh.”
There was a guy charging down the hill at her. Presumably, he was the original owner of her new shoes, judging by his barefoot state and the annoyed look on his face.
Aside from the barefoot-hobo thing he had going on and the pissed-off look, she had to admit that he was pretty cute. Slightly shaggy dark hair flopped into his eyes, the color of which was difficult to determine at this distance. She glanced down at the slightly-chewed-on book.
Huh. Tender is the Night.
She looked at the guy charging down the hill towards her, at the book in her hand and at the little dog whose tail was beating happily against her leg. Trying her hardest not to smile, she scooped him up and scratched him behind the ears the way he liked. She took a second to press her cheek against his furry little body.
“Good boy,” she whispered.
500-1000 words * original female character * the last time
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