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  1. #1
    No One of Consequence wilomn's Avatar
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    An Old Man and His Dog, Charlie

    What I write is important to me. I've heard that, on occasion, it's important to others. I'm going to gather some here.

    I don't think any commentary is necessary. Besides, there's a bit in the Creative Corner where most of these scribblings of mine also reside.


    “Hey Mister, “ he said, “ could you take my dog? He don’t eat much, just feed him whenever you can. We been together a long time but I’m not gonna be here much more, much longer, you know? He’s not ready to go, it’s not his time yet.”

    Though I had never actually been homeless like the old man I had been close enough to know that when all your stuff was gone, when you carried everything you owed on you all the time, your dog could be your best friend.

    It was obvious he had been on the streets a long time.
    “He’s a good dog Mister. See, he don’t even run off. He just sits in the cart til I call him. He’ll go with you if I tell him to. Could you take him Mister? He really needs someone kind. You look like you’d take care of my Charlie, he’s a good ol boy, aren’tcha Charlie?”

    Charlie responded with a desultory wag of his tail and the saddest look I have ever seen. That dog loved that old man and that dog knew the old man was dying. It was also obvious that Charlie wanted to be no place that didn’t have the old man in it too.

    From his cough it was evident that the old man had some serious issues. The bloody rag he used to wipe his mouth after every coughing fit just sealed the deal. Under the grime of street life his skin was grey, pallid and dry. It reminded my of a goatskin drumhead but on him it was not a good thing. His nails were long and yellow and hard and he picked at the buttons of his duster incessantly with his left hand. Picking and picking and picking, clicking and clicking his nails on the buttons, cracked and yellow on black and plastic.

    With his head permanently fixed slight angle that made him look down instead of forward, he looked up at me and asked again, “Mister, do you think you could? I know I’m not much, don’t have much, but he’s been good to me and deserves better. I’m not sure I can….well I’m not sure I can make it much longer and I don’t want him getting picked up and put in the pound. He’s not a cage kinda dog, he’s used to being free. He don’t need much Mister, could you take him?”

    All the while the old man was talking the dog never looked away from his face. These two had been through some rough times and their bond was not the usual one seen between dog and master. The tear sliding from the old man’s one good eye told a story of commitment that would touch the heart of a glacier. The dog laying his head on the old man’s hand and looking up at him with a look of total adoration and love would have melted that glacier. It was that strong. The one would not long survive the other.

    “Couldja Mister? I’ve asked around but no one wants an old man’s old mutt. He deserves better Mister, he’s a good boy Charlie is. Could you,” and here he paused to cough then wipe the blood off his chin, “couldja do an old man a favor?”

    “I ain’t no drunk you know. Dint do no drugs neither. Just got down on my luck and never got it back. I just never got it back. Had me a wife and a kid. Even a house. Gone. Lost it all. All but Charlie here, he’s stuck by me. He’s a good dog Mister, he deserves better. I just never could… I just couldn’t make it. But it’s not his fault and I know I’m sick and he needs someone to make sure they don’t get him and put him in a cage.”

    The old man and his dog wondered off, moving slowing, the man pushing the cart, Charlie riding in it was if he were in the center of a Royal Procession, surveying all that was good in the land until he looked upon the old man, his friend for whom death was a constant and soon to be only companion.

    That dog was sad, every sagging wrinkle said so, the droopy eyes whispered it, he knew. He knew too that even though they may be parted soon in the here and now it wouldn’t be for long. A partnership like theirs, a love so strong, death could not separate them long.

    Charlie looked at me and I know he was thanking me. I could have given him a place to live but I couldn’t have replaced his home or fixed his broken heart if I had tried.

    Not one word had I uttered. Never saw them again.
    I may not be very smart, but what if I am?
    Stinky says, "Women should be obscene but not heard." Stinky is one smart man.

  2. #2
    No One of Consequence wilomn's Avatar
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    The Conclusion

    "Really? You're sure it was him?"

    "Yup, no doubt about it. I seen it myself and it was him. Still had the cart froze to one leg."

    "No way, you're lying. How could it freeze to his leg?"

    "Call me liar all you want Monty Viallobos, but that won't make it so. I seen with my own eyes. That old man with the long coat, the one that was always talking to that dog that bit you, was froze to his cart by one leg, dead as a sawn log."

    "Damn dog shoulda been put down."

    "I don't know man, throwing lit fire crackers at him wasn't cool. He was really old."

    "Your one to talk. I didn't break that guys car window just because he cut me off."

    "Yeah well, that won't be happening again now, will it?"

    "Expensive, was it? What about the mutt, was it froze too?"

    "Yeah, it was but it was frozen with its eyes open. It was like they was lookin right at me when I found um under that wayward pine. I thought the damn thing was alive at first, all curled up in the old guys lap like it was. Watching out for him, just like always."

    "Those two had something weird going on. It wasn't normal. That dog knowed what the old man was sayin’. I wonder why he stayed after the old guy died. I wouldn'tof. You said you found em up under that wayward pine? That the place you and Jenny used to go makeout in? What were you doin' there? And how the heck did he get his cart way up there? It's got to be 1/2 mile from here, mostly uphill."

    "I have no idea how he got it there. It's a lot of up, and in the snow...."

    "Maybe the dog pulled it, ha ha ha."

    "Maybe there was more to that old man than we thought. I went up there to watch the clouds roll in off Thunder Peak, to remember. I was stomping a path through some snow when I seen a glint under the pine. I figured I'd found somebody's stolen bike or a still or something. I never thought I'd be finding a dead guy and his dog. It was weird the way that dog was just laying there, all curled up like it wanted to be no place else in the world. I could feel it."

    "Was the old guy all rotten and stuff?"

    "No stupid, he was froze solid. Him and the dog both. He looked like he was taking a nap. All peaceful like. And the dog just curled up in his lap."

    “Charlie, that was the Mutt’s name, Charlie. Pure evil that dog, if you dint watch out. Never seen the one without the other, rain or snow or sun or whatever, they was never not together. “

    “Gotta wonder how they hooked up, ya know? I mean how do ya get all homeless like that? And keep a dog? I don’t know…”

    “It was more like the dog kep him, always watchin out, like it was his duty or job or sumthin.”

    “Donnie at the Burp nd Slurp said the old guy was harmless, talked a lot, but never gave folks a hard time. Said once he saw the old guy get a 20.00 from some schmuck, come in to get change, then give it to the bums drinkin out back.”

    “Probly buyin booze of em his own self, the old drunk.”

    “No, Donnie said in all the years that old guy and his dog was around he never sold a single beer or bottle to him. Said the guy was always talkin to himself and clicking the buttons on that longass coat he wore, but he never drank. Member how yellow his nails was? Like bird claws.”

    “Good rittance, that old man was trash, that’s all them homeless are. Trash. How can you not be if you live outta shopping cart?”

    “Gettin too deep for me, I got no clue. Don’t seem right though, old man living like that. Even his dog deserved better. Damn thing sure loved him though. Donnie says that dog chased off more than a few :cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r:s trying to give the old guy a hard time, present company included.”

    “Yeah, well….hey, he musta crossed over the creek when it was froze. That’s just crazy. Remember when Jesse Walthrop fell through year before last? That ice looked two miles thick and was barely four inches, dumbass almost died and it was colder that winter fer sure. That old man was crazier n bat:cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r:. Damn dog too. I sure hope they git the bridge fixed this spring. Stupid rusty piece of :cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r:.”

    “I don’t know Man, I always thought there was something more to him, some story, specially the way that dog treated him. Wasn’t natural, the way that dog looked to him, like they was connected somehow. Weird.”

    “You know my science teacher, Mrs. Smith? The one that always wore them short skirts? She said that some dogs and some people really do …. what was it she called it….commute…commode…commune…something about understanding or connecting each other. I swear I seen em talkin, him and that dog.”

    “Dog was the devil then. My grannyjanceen says them what talks to animals has the devil in em. She otta know, mean old :cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r: and her seventeen cats. Treats em better than her own family.”

    “I don’t know man, the look that dog had on its frozen face weren’t a devil look. That was love if I ever seen it. That dog coulda left, he stayed. I know he did, don know how, but I know he stayed with his friend.”

    “Bull:cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r:. You can’t know nuthin of the sort. That dog was mean and that old man was crazy.”

    “I don’t know man, if Donnie said he was ok…. ya know? I mean, Donnie saw im every day. And when I saw him I never got the kinda vibe most of those bums give off, ya know? Kinda scary like and not who you’d want to meet alone in the dark. I always figured he was kinda crazy but sorta harmless too.”

    “Donnie smokes too much weed and you know it. Dude forgits what day of the week it is half the time.”

    “YOU smoke too much weed. I wonder if the old guy was from around here, had any family.”

    “Even if he did they obviously dint want nuthin to do with him or he woont a been on the streets if the first place. Family don’t let that happen to family.”

    “Maybe, maybe not. Tim Ernesto’s family kicked him the hell out an all he did was date a black girl. Some crazy folks out there, that’s fer damn sure.”

    “I’d kick you out too you ever start dating a black chick, :cens0r::cens0r::cens0r::cens0r: just ain’t right. Otta stick to your own, ya know?”

    “You really do have a pea for a brain, dontcha? Maybe his family thought the same, who knows. Dead is dead though and he sure is dead, all froze up like that.”

    “Yeah, dead is dead and good rittance to that crazy old man and his mean old dog. Wer better off without em, you ask me.”

    “You din’t see the look on that dogs face. And the way the old man was lookin down at the dog, like he could still see im after he was dead. His eyes was open and everything. Spooky man, spooky.”

    “Ya know, the older you get the weirder you get. Gonna go write this in your diary too?”

    “It’s a journal asswipe, chicks write in diaries and I probably will. There was somethin about that old man and his dog, like I’d know some secret if I could figure it out, somethin important, a….a mystery, that’s what. Like I’d know a mystery.”

    “You take any more classes at the U and you’ll be a mystery to me, frickin weirdo bum lover.”

    “Heh, meybe so, meybe so. But maybe mystery ain’t so bad, ya know?”
    I may not be very smart, but what if I am?
    Stinky says, "Women should be obscene but not heard." Stinky is one smart man.

  3. #3
    BPnet Veteran llovelace's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: The Conclusion

    Quote Originally Posted by wilomn View Post
    ... But maybe mystery ain’t so bad, ya know?”
    Indeed. Indeed.

    Well done!
    -- Judy

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