A Broken Doorknob And No Interest In What’s Behind The Door

Dog.

Leo said, “take him out to pasture.” But the pasture was the corner of the barn where sunlight never touched and Bert he backed into that corner, his body shivered, his ears flapped against his chops, it sounded like a bat flying and all I could think to say was, “shhh, boy it’ll all be over soon.” His skull shattered…weeks after I was still finding bits of bone hidden in the hay bales. Leo didn’t seem to mind. He never liked Bert, never liked how he’d run ahead ignoring Leo’s shouts to come, maybe Bert didn’t like Leo neither that’s why he ran so fast only to realize that it was a lot scarier alone than with Leo. It’s like no creature wants to trust the other, man and beast, what’s really going on is a trust in themselves to survive. Something like knowing what happens when you’re alone staring at the wilderness, I can imagine how a barn corner could sound pleasant out there. So a few nights after it all I went to the general store to pick up some tissues and whiskey. Don was wearing his face down behind the counter, didn’t smile his usual way, I said, “enjoying the sunshine?” He nodded with lips tight as a knot. I walked past him and went to liquor aisle, I felt his eyes on me. I grabbed some whiskey and a couple boxes of tissues and handed them to Don. He looked at the items. Looked at me. Looked at the items and scanned them slowly. “Everything okay?” I said. “Was told today that people don’t like me being so friendly.” “What you mean?” “I mean my brother said people was saying they think I’m too friendly, like it ain’t genuine, like all I’m doing is being friendly because they’re giving me money.” “That’s a damn fine reason to be friendly with someone.” Don bagged the items and placed them beside the register. “That’ll be 15.50,” he said. I paid him and he counted the change back, his hands were shaking like Bert’s ears. “I think you’re friendly…I always enjoy coming here to see you.” “Thanks,” he said, “you’re one of the good ones.” As I drove home I wondered what he meant by that, good ones. If I was so good why was his hands shaking like that? Maybe a killer wears his victim’s soul and that’s what Don was seeing. If that’s true then we’d all be covered in dead ants, roaches, whatever critters we stepped on by accident, or even on purpose. Guess we can’t be carrying all that with us, be too distracting from the important things.

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