Sunday, April 05, 2015


Something smelled awful.

It must have followed me home. I changed from my work clothes and showered, but a pungent odor hung around over dinner. 

"Jesus, Andrew, I can't even eat. What is that?"

I pretended I didn't know. Maybe something crawled into my boot before I closed the door? Something inky and stinky.

"I'll go see."

"Dad, it smells like when Grampy eats too many boiled eggs."

"It smells like Denise's clothes!"

"Shut up, Mark! It smells like the dead salamander in your desk drawer!"

"Kids!" Liz shouts. "Eat your dinner!"

The front door is closed tightly, and my boots, while smelling worse than a seaman's underwear, contain no trace of contamination.

But something reeks.

I go out into the driveway and check the car. Clean. Then I race around to the backyard to make sure Kander is still tied up. He isn't.

He has bitten through his rope. It's not the first time. He's gotten too big; it's time for chains.

I hear a bellow. Kander walks toward me growling like a chainsaw low on gas.

"Now, now, friend," I say. "Boy have you gotten big."

I sit down on the grass.

"I have some steaks out in the car if you're interested. Red and juicy, just as you like them."

Kander paces toward the car.

"Andrew!" Liz screams from the bedroom window, "run, now!"

I give it my best shot, but my bones are old. Kander has already discovered that there are no steaks in the car. It was just a trick. Just a way to try to buy some time.

I'm outside on the grass. My head is in a bear's mouth.

It feels like a hug.

I embrace it.

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