black lab

You are a mosquito. Squeak, squeak, little mosquito, it’s time to hunt for blood. There’s squishy sacs of it running rampant all over the place, they’re big enough to get away but all they do is lie there and take it. Suck, suck, little mosquito, suck until you’re fat with it, a little blood baby sloshing in your stomach. Escape slowly, the vessel is still sleeping, in the morning they will itch but now, for you, this is pure ecstasy. Now all you have to do is hide somewhere and trip out until the blood becomes your thoughts and when you run out of them you have to hunt again. Maybe you’ll live two weeks, then. Maybe this trip can last forever. Until you decompose. It probably doesn’t take a day, you could get squished into the dirt and no one would be able to discern what was left of you. Mere seconds before you’re worm food. And then, bird food. Cat food. Dog food. Feed the dog.

You are working at the New Canaan Field Club. You take a break from the chair, the sky spreads greys and threatens storms and no children have come to circle the pool, running and screaming until they fall in. In the break room is a computer, but none of your friends are online. You do not care. You make new friends with swirling images, bouncing balls, the sweet sounds of popping balloons, exploding colors, and myspace.com. Behind you the chair is on fire, behind you a bald and angry man calls your name, the chlorinated water begins to overflow onto the tile and pavement as the pool fills with floating infant bodies and and turns pink, like dyeing eggs or cleaning paintbrushes. You do not turn around, you are an island, you are a focused point in the center of your mind. A cryptic message from your glowing master reads: "Shoot the monkey, win an iPod." Your iPod is outside drinking blood and chemicals, your iPod is waterlogged. Focus pocus, little girl. Shoot the monkey. Feed the dog.

You are homeless in Seattle, you are bearded and dirt-ridden and are frequently mistaken for a peace activist. You work for the newspaper people, “Real Change” you sell copies on the streets for coins but in your reflective neon newspaper-seller gear, you are mistaken for a construction worker, someone pulls you onto the back of a truck and you figure you’ll make some money this afternoon. Except this truck is the unlucky truck, this is the Illegals truck, this truck is about to get pulled over, this truck’s driver will be questioned thoroughly by federal police. You are about to be questioned thoroughly by federal police. Let’s be honest. You don’t have ID. You were just trying to make Real Change happen. Put real change in your pocket, you try to tell the boys in blue but they don’t speak Chinese. There’s only two of them, though, and about thirty of you. You’re about to do something crazy. Doing something crazy is all it seems you’re ever doing. Run into the woods, old man, cover yourself in leaves. Get eaten by the forest, it hasn’t had anything to eat all day. Feed the dog.

Stacy’s not getting friendly anymore. She isn’t returning your phone calls. She’s out dancing all night, you know because you go to her clubs but you make like you don’t see her or she doesn’t even see you anyway. Stacy was always a little bitch, but you liked to think it was a game she played, a mask she put on, act cold and act mean until you really melt her heart and then she’s pudding dripping between your fingers. But you’re starting to realize that this isn’t the case. Stacy was never playing hard to get, it seems, but rather she preferred to play out of reach. You watch her in the club and drink twelve dollar whiskies, this Stacy is different, it seems, this Stacy who doesn’t notice you. She’s grinding her ass into every hard dick on the dance floor, Stacy is a little SLUT, Stacy is down to FUCK, Stacy isn’t wearing any underwear and flirts fingers between her legs. Men are smelling her fingers. They lick her fingertips. She laughs, but it’s not like it’s a joke, it’s not like she’s kidding, that’s her fucking pussy juice they’re smelling. Stacy’s the fucking joke, you’re better off without her, you realize there’s no point in pursuing a woman like that. But you go home alone. You masturbate three times before falling asleep, every time it’s Stacy that you picture, pink lips peaking out under a short black dress, her eyes closed in perpetual ecstasy, when you close your eyes you can almost smell her fingers. Then all you can smell is yourself. You’ve made a mess on your stomach, pubic hairs mat together and a sticky pool sits in your belly button. There’s Kleenex on the dresser. Your wastebasket is designed to resemble a mutt with its mouth wide open. Feed the dog.

You are playing a game of chess with God. He seems to know your every move. You ask him if he is reading your mind. He tells you that he is reading your face. You wonder what divinity means - is it a supernatural knowledge or a supernatural understanding? God takes your queen with his own. You take his queen with your knight, and he counters by putting you in checkmate between a bishop and a rook. You are between a hard and a holy place. You ask God what he wins, and he answers, "Your soul." Then he bursts into a fit of laughter, tells you he's just kidding, and pulls a lever on the table. Your seat collapses out from under you and you fall through clouds and earth and land in a new seat, the Hot Seat, brimstone burns your toes and the Devil is a coyote with silver paws. The Devil plays checkers -- it is his move and he has crossed the board. King the dog.

You are burying your dog. She was nine and she was blind but even still she was only nine. Your dog before her, Lucky, the one that she replaced, she lived to be fifteen. Lucky looked like shit for 3 years, every day you saw her you fucking wished death upon her, to put her out of her misery although your parents always insisted she was fine. But Sandy was only nine. She never looked like shit, not even for a second, not even the day you found her in the living room choking on air. There was distress in her eyes, sure, but she was still beautiful. Her coat never thinned, it never lost its shimmer. Even in blindness her eyes maintained a strange sense of focus. Even in blindness her movements were deliberate and thoughtful. Even in sight Lucky ran into things when she was excited, she was a stupid animal, little fucker, you stopped missing her before she was gone, somewhere between when your mother drove her to the vet and when the vet put her down, you stopped missing her. But Sandy. You're burying Sandy but it feels like she's watching you do it, you can still hear her call, she would call and you would come, she would come when you would call. You're burying Sandy but it feels like she's right there in your arms. In your last moment together, you cradled her, she fought for breath surrounded by oxygen and you couldn't think, you couldn't help her, there was everything and then there was nothing. When you walk inside you will leave the shovel in the yard. You could never stand the smell of dog food but now it doesn't matter anymore. There's cereal in the cupboard, there's milk in the fridge. Bowls are in the dishwasher, they are clean and they are empty and so are you. Just fucking eat something.


saint bernard

You are shrunken down to a microscopic size. This is the only way to save his life. Feed the dog.

You are building a mountain. You are building the mountain out of glue and wax. Every time the sun comes out your mountain melts into the ground and the surrounding landscape of your building site, but every night you are at work again, sweating bullets and carving plastic shrapnel into your hands. After a number of months it is the middle of August and daylight stretches your mountain into an artificial flood, growing into the trees, suffocating small animals and children, you have become Public Enemy #1 and Mother Nature's hand reaches out from under the rubbery mold but she cannot reach you and you do not hear her cries. On your 365th night of work, your mountain stands 4,000 feet above sea level, despite extending 450 miles in diameter, and standing at the summit you know that you have done something and something is nothing anyone can take away from you. You stick a flag depicting your beaming face into the peak and call it America, the flag's pole eases into the mountain like pressing into soft skin. When you wake up the following morning you realize that you are the only citizen of America still alive, the faces of infant birds are Han Solo topography on your creation's surface, somewhere under meters of frozen plastic is your golden retriever. You wait 365 nights. Your mountain's peak floats into the Atlantic and part of it into the Pacific, your dog is encased in a thin layer of latex and is more of an action figure than a pet. You open it's jaw and it is fixed open. You are swimming in an ocean of stinking plasticine. Feed the dog.

You are riding the train. You are listening to pounding pounding techno music in your headphones, they are wrap-arounds but you're only wearing them because they're all you could find after breaking your earbuds. You feel a tap on your shoulder, it is the man sitting next to you, his hands express to you a desire to hear less of your music. You pretend to oblige, you move your finger in a circle in front of the iPod without actually touching it while nodding, and he looks straight ahead again as do you. In a few minutes, in a moment of glorious electronic beauty you feel another tap on the shoulder. It is the conductor, you show her your ticket and she shakes her head and insists you lower the level on your headphones. You nod, once again move your finger tip across the phantom wheel and turn away, but fifteen seconds you feel the tap tap tap again. Conductor woman. She is stern. You make a big show of it and turn the music down beyond what is necessary and can barely make out anything beyond the beat at this point. The conductor is contented and walks away - you are trapped. You don't know who to trust on this train. You don't know if the man next to you is a spy, if he'll report to the higher-ups if you turn that wheel back. At the same time, the sound of barely-audible pounding pounding techno music is like having sex with an iron condom, it's like beating off in a public restroom, it's like being locked in solitary confinement on New Years Eve, you begin to unravel. You consider your options. You wonder how wide the train windows will open. You wonder how train officials respond to threats. You wonder how old the conductor woman is. You wonder how much tension will make her bones break. The first stop is Greenwich. You are maybe ten minutes away. Quiet techno is like a pitbull biting your leg without letting go. In your back pocket there is a knife. In your ears are the loudest sirens you've ever heard in your life. Feed the dog.

You are going to the movies with your best friend. He is driving, he's had two drinks but you've had four or five and he's the best driver you've ever known. At the top of the hill he shows you what he can do -- he puts the car in neutral and starts to coast. The vehicle accelerates faster and faster, it's going 65 MPH and the turn's right in front of you but your friend seems confident. At the last second he tells you he's always loved you, you've never understood, and this will be your final moment together. He asks if there's anything you'd like to get out there before your life is cut short like brake lines and you can't think of anything. When the BMW hits the tree you go flying through your windshield - you were not wearing your seatbelt. He was. You land in a bed of soft and wet leaves. They are light shades of brown but begin to turn crimson and purple as blood pours from every inch of you. There are shards of glass deeply embedded in your skin, you touch your face with mangled hands and it feels like a hedgehog. When you breathe you spit bubbles of blood and tooth shards. Over your shoulder is a loud explosion. The engine has gone up in flames, the car is consumed, your best friend's face melts into the dashboard. You watch his eyeballs roll into the back of his head while his eyelids drip shut. You may not have much time, you could die at any minute, the amount of blood loss is unimaginable, you are swimming in it. You still can't think of anything to say. Two wolves stalk slowly towards you, they've appeared into the woods out of the night with glowing yellow eyes and a serene sense of calm and being that opens your heart. You begin to cry. Seven of ten fingers hang by threads of skin off of your hands, they are brown with coagulated blood, they look like sausages. They look like Snausages. The wolves did not come over to your draining body because they wanted to chat. Feed the dogs.

You are stretching canvas. You are pouring paint into water. You are blending the earth and the light of the day. You are melting the world around you into simple colors, you are taking off mankind's collective corrective eyewear. Everything is blue and green again. Everything is a single gradient, the natural and beautiful space between black and white. When you have sparkled white into diamonds in the sky, when your work breathes orange through reds and whites, you put your John Hancock in the corner and share it with your parents. Your mother smiles and your father frowns. They stare at it for a long time. Your mother asks you what it is, and then asks you to wait, wait, don't tell her. A minute passes before your father volunteers the information: It is dog food. Feed the dog.

You are playing table tennis against Megumi Aiko. She is the Japanese National Table Tennis Champion. You are the American National Table Tennis Champion. And you lose. You lose in three sets. She remains undefeated. Your coach will not look you in the eye. You feel betrayed by yourself, you feel betrayed by your country. After the award ceremony there is a banquet for the athletes, Megumi does not speak much English but she manages to congratulate you on second place and expresses good intention. She tells you that she feels no sense of pride in her victory, she only did what she was supposed to do, just as she only trained for 13 hours a day for 3 years leading up to the tournament because it was what she was supposed to do. If she was allowed to be happy she would be designing shoes and hanging out at the mall with her friends, she tells you. You tell her you love table tennis, you tell her that on some level she must too. She shakes her head. She is only 19 years old. She has an extraordinary career ahead of her. You are 29 years old, she has all but ended your career in her victory. There is something unAmerican about all of this -- you take her back to her hotel room and have your way with her. She resists but you have been told that this is custom among Japanese women. When she stops resisting after only a few minutes you feel reassured of this. After you come inside her you begin to put on your socks. When you have tied your belt she asks you to leave. You have betrayed yourself, you have betrayed your country. As you walk towards the door you see the gold medallion hanging from the doorknob. It revolves in slow motion although the air in the hotel room is still. The lights in the ceiling reflect in the face of the circle and move along the edge as it spins, you are watching a commercial for winning. It is most appealing to you because you are a loser. Go on, loser. Don't let her have the last word. Your hands are bigger than her hands. Your heart is louder than her heart. If it was yours, you'd keep it in a safe. You'd wear it every day of your life. You would stitch it into your skin. You are Iron Man and who is she? Fucking no one. Fucking nobody. Feed the dog.

You wake up in bed next to him. Although you can remember every minute of the night before there are significant portions you sincerely regret. Your first regret was calling him and then there were many more regrets to follow. When he wakes up he will be alone. He will look for you in the bathroom but it will be empty. He will check the kitchen but you will not be there. He will make a pot of coffee hoping that you've just stepped out for a cigarette but you won't come back. He will drink it after it has gotten cold. You will drive home. You will call your best friend and tell her everything about it, she will tell her boyfriend and he will tell everyone he knows. You will make faces and feel like pulling over so you can be sick. And at home you have a chihuahua. A fucking chihuahua. You have the ugliest animal on the planet living in your house and you LOVE him, he shits on the floor and bites your friends and your parents and you LOVE him, you love your chihuahua and your biggest regret of all is that you don't get home until after 11.00 AM, it isn't until almost noon that you can finally feed the dog.

You work at a big company and you are big and you are important until one day you are riding on a train and somebody has a gun. Somebody has a gun and you are hostage #3, you feel little fear because you are a big confident douchebag, you have enough money in your pocket to make any problem go away. Your captors however are of the idealistic variety. After a few minutes they make it clear to you that you are going to die. Everybody on the train is going to die. There are bombs, they have covered all their bases, they have already killed the conductor and all train personnel and in maybe two minutes, maybe twenty, it will be the right time and there will be a white light and shrapnel and then nothing. In your last moments you do not text your wife or your kids even though you spent the extra money for unlimited texting and the family plan. You do not text your mistress even though you told her you loved her between ten and twenty times last night, and only six or seven of those were in the throes of passion. You do not text a fellow employee, you do not text a college buddy. Instead you close your eyes and ignore all of those around you. You pull out your dick and begin to masturbate furiously. With your eyes closed, you see only pictures of women you've never met before, they flash in and out of your consciousness too quickly for you to make any connection with any of them. This is your last moment on earth. You are masturbating furiously but you will never come. Feed the dog.

You are in New York City on the hottest day of the year. You have fifteen blocks to walk but it feels like five hundred. You are walking slow because the entire sidewalk is in slow motion, businessmen and tourists begin to melt into the cement. Waiting at corners for lights to change, the people standing around you begin to blend into each other, every body in New York is one smeared face dripping sweat. On the thirteenth block steam rises from between grates and burns skin like a teapot. On the fifteenth block you are delirious and begin to scale the side of a building. You grab for flagpoles and window ledges and you make it up two stories before there's no where to go anymore. You try to squeeze bricks embedded in the wall but they slip out of your wet hands, you lose your footing and fall into the sidewalk on your back. Upon impact you sink into the cement, Your body is under ground, you can see up the skirts of all the beautiful and all the ugly women in New York City. They step on your face and your crotch with disregard. The only creature that notices you is a Jack Russell tied to a nearby tree, he approaches you and sniffs, licks your eyeballs. There's some hard candy in your pocket, bitch, and in a quick minute it'll be liquid. Feed the dog.

You are facing a lion in the Coliseum. They have not fed this lion for two weeks. You remember Daniel. You remember God has a plan. Feed the dog.

You are in Berlin, you are playing wingman to a St Bernard. You go to a few clubs, and around 1.00 AM the St Bernard is really hitting it off with a pretty young blonde thing. By complete accident you are very drunk and cockblock your best friend, you start telling the pizza vomit story. In two minutes the young blonde thing fakes an emergency phone call and disappears, your friend barks after her for her phone number but either she doesn't hear him or that's what she pretends. The St Bernard doesn't speak to you for the rest of the night, he doesn't speak to you when the bartender announces last call, he doesn't speak to you on the cab ride home you share, he doesn't thank you when you treat him on it. He doesn't speak to you in the elevator on the ride up, or when you're fumbling with your keys at the door for six or seven minutes. You know your best friend really wanted to get some tonight, that he's had a long week at work, that he really needed to blow off some steam inside somebody beautiful and strange. You feel pretty awful. The next morning you are both hungover, you have eggs and cheese and ham and shit, he's not gonna stay mad at you forever. Put the coffee on. Feed the dog.


ghouls and goblins

When you wake up no one is there. Peter is out of bed. It’s already 8 and the kids aren’t making a sound. Something is wrong. Shake your head. It is only a dream.

You walk down the hallway on tip toes and all the doors are open. Every bed is made, no child in sight. Is it Sunday? Have you missed church?

In the kitchen there is not a note. And still you do not panic – you make yourself breakfast with cereal and fresh strawberries. You drink the milk out of the bowl and wash it in the sink and still there is not a sound in the house. You are alone, aren’t you?

You investigate the basement, the lights are off and when you flip the switch you find a boiler and no family. You listen for the kids in the attic, rustling through old boxes of clothes – no little feet on the floorboards. Every bathroom – doors wide open, empty and pristine, shining sinks and toilet bowls.

You walk into the backyard in your bathrobe and night gown, the children are not playing out here, Rex is sitting under the big oak tree but he is alone. You want the company, so you call to him. Rex comes.

You and Rex have searched the house thoroughly. Peter did not pick up his cell when you called, in fact it went straight to voicemail. The children are too young to carry phones. You are worried. You call Peter’s mother in Glasstown but she doesn’t pick up. You call your mother in Phoenix, she doesn’t pick up either. You look out your window. You see no one. There is no newspaper on your doorstep.

You turn on the television. Every channel is playing reruns. You turn off the television. You put Rex on a leash and decide to take a walk down the street.

You walk down your street, you stop at every door and ring the doorbell. You wait one minute then ring again, then wait for two more minutes. No one comes. No one ever comes. You walk a mile and a half down residential streets and reach town. The bagel place is closed. The post office is closed. Maybe it is Sunday. But you get the paper on Sunday.

You reach the Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts is open every day but today the door is locked. You look inside the window but all the lights are off, except those illuminating the donut shelves – the donut shelves are empty.

You are looking through the glass at the Dunkin’ Donuts in disbelief and you feel a tug on the leash. It is Rex, he smells something, he is pulling at you to follow him. You allow him to lead – he crosses the street and as you approach the movie theatre you hear the first sounds you’ve heard all morning – the shuffling of feet, people’s movement, perhaps muffled voices. The movie theatre doors are open.

In the movie theatre in town there are two screens – Screen 1 is on the left, that door is closed. Screen 2 is on the right and that door is open. Rex’s nose points straight towards the door to the second theater, you follow his four legs at a brisk walking pace. Inside the movie theatre you are horrified and confused. The theatre is filled with people from town, you see Margot and Klein, Robert and Patty with little Derek. The policeman and the grocer and the woman from Made-It-Myself, they are standing at their seats and staring intently at the screen. Their bodies are naked and wilting, they appear to streak when you blink, they are outlined in blue pencil. You can see through some of them, the screen’s great glow is overwhelming and the image being projected upon it is your face.

When you see yourself you will shriek. The townspeople will turn. They will notice you. They do not speak to you, you look in their eyes and while you can see that they recognize you, you cannot recognize them. They are outlined in blue pencil and naked and wilting, they are a swarm of melting phantoms, they begin to move towards you in a single motion, a crowd swimming through space. At first you are frozen still but Rex tugs fiercely at the leash and pulls you towards the street and the burning sun.

You are running through town with Rex pulling you faster and faster. The sun is three-quarters of the way into the sky, the wind is blowing against you, your eyes follow leaves as they detach from tree branches and flip through the sky past you, over your shoulder and into the eyes of the blue sheet. The blue pencil townspeople move as a sheet moves, they push forward even as the wind whisks some of them away. As a single sheet, as a driving force they can conquer the elements but some of the smaller children run too far from the crowd and, disconnected, get blown away into the sky.

You turn the corner and you are on Frogtown Rd. The road slopes down, it is a sharp decline and creates a valley in the landscape, a wind tunnel. The wind is with you now, Rex already knows, his pace reaches new bounds, a new frenzied energy. You’ve been keeping a fair lead on the blue sheet but now over the shoulder you can see them accelerating, it’s only a matter of time now.

To your right the driveway to Tim’s house, you’re almost there. You turn sharply, Rex quickly picks up on the new direction and drags you around to Tim’s backyard. For some reason you expect to hear Tim and his friends on the porch but you realize that at this point in time he must be part of the blue sheet. You do not know what sense of sanctuary you expect to find here. You were in a time crunch and it was a place you recognized, but you aren’t actually aware of the powers or the motives of the blue pencil townspeople.

You walk through the back door into Tim’s garage. There is a padlocked door to the basement inside, you strike the padlock several times with the biggest mallet you can find, it is rusty and breaks easily after six or seven hard swings. You open the basement door and walk down cement stairs. Behind you, you close the door and lock it with a large thick beam of wood.

In your back pocket is a Zippo. You take it out and light it to illuminate your surroundings – before you there are five green monsters. They are goblins, they have long pointed ears, their skin is a deep green, their teeth are pointed but their eyes are kind. You recognize one of the goblins – this is Tim. Tim cannot speak to you but when he sees you looking at him, you both understand, you are safe here. The goblin that is Tim’s father nods, smiles grimly. He is holding a knife as large as his forearm. All five of the goblins are. Tim smirks and hands you a pistol. It is a revolver – you have shot an automatic weapon before and you hope you will be able to figure this out. Tim looks you in the eye, his look says, Watch out for the recoil.

In a few moments the basement door begins to shake. It is only a matter of time. You wonder what it’s all for. You wonder what Tim and his family are fighting for. You realize that in their transformed state the blue screen has become a kind of walking dead but Tim and his family seems to retain their inner being – in the blue screen you watched a little girl bare fangs, burst into a sprint before being sucked away into the sky by a large gust – she had almost disappeared into the blue before you realized that it was Mary, little Mary, your sister’s daughter. In the dark of the basement the light of your flame reflects against Tim’s white eyes and his wet and white fangs, his scaly green skin glimmers, it is as if Tim has always had this skin – this is Tim’s skin, this is Tim’s skin as long as those are Tim’s eyes.

So you know that Tim and his family understand who is on the other side of the basement door. They understand they are outnumbered. They know that they are alive and you are alive and you all do not know the state of the blue screen, you have seen them but you know not how they kill or how they die. The knives are big but will they cut through blue pencil outlines? When the door breaks open you flick your Zippo shut.

After the battle you and Tim are sitting on top of the mountain of dirt in the back of Waveny Park. You and Tim smoke cigarettes and mourn the deaths of everyone you’ve ever known. Tim tells you one day you will build a house out of this dirt but you do not believe him. Rex runs free in the endless fields of Waveny, he returns sporadically, placing small dead birds in a pile at the base of the dirt mountain.

It is a routine that you have grown comfortable with – you begin to perform it without a second thought. You dig a hole into the ground in the shape of a circle, you dig until it is six inches deep. You take Tim’s knife and begin to gut the birds – you strip the feathers and skin, picking out the eyes and slicing off the beaks and feet. You mince the remaining meat and begin to fill the hole that you have dug with it. Rex waits silently over your shoulder. He wags his tail. On the top of the mountain of dirt, Tim flicks his cigarette, he smiles a fangy grin your way. You finish cutting up the sparrow meat, you fill your hands with it like a bowl and watch it drop and slip from between your fingers into the hole in the dirt. It isn’t lamb and rice but it will have to do. Rex is a good dog. Feed the dog.

doberman pinscher

In the middle of the Congo you are in a boxing match with Muhammad Ali. Ali is a very good fighter, he is not only stronger but smarter than you had given him credit, he seems to know your every move and you start to think he might be cheating with mind control devices. You call out to the crowd but no one listens. They’re too busy listening to your bones splinter and ducking their heads away from projectile teeth. After you lose the match your body is bruised and broken, you limp out the back door and in the limo with Muhammad Ali is a greyhound, that’s right a greyhound, he’s wearing your teeth in a necklace. They are still dotted with your blood you weak pussy. Feed the dog.

When your parents find you you will be hiding in a cave. You will be sympathizing with extremists and bears, you will be writing death threats on muddy walls with the discharge from your period. The cave will smell like the nuclear holocaust but you will smell roses and snow petals, your parents will lift you in their arms and carry you home and your dog wants to start a fight, he thinks you’re a bear, he thinks you’re an extremist, he thinks you’re danger, danger, danger, don’t let the dog down, you’ve been letting that dog down it’s whole fucking life and it’s sick of you. Feed it. Feed the dog.

At your sister’s wedding there will be a problem. You will forget the rings at home. Everybody will groan and hate you, you will drive back but it’s an hour and a half round trip and the look on your sister’s face when you come back will make it all not worth it, no “thank you”, none of that shit, ungrateful way-to-go-sis bullshit. Your sister’s new husband’s sister will catch the bouquet, you will have five drinks, three Vicodin, and half an E-bomb in your system, soon it will be time to dance but now it is time to kick ass, to rip that bitch’s scalp off. Your father and your little brother will have to pull you away, you will be carried off with two fistfuls of hair and a piece of skin between your teeth. When your sister moves to Minnesota you will not be invited and no one will tell you the address, you know they’re getting a new dog, it’s a sweet dog, the kind that follows you around the house, if you could get your guns out of Charlie’s basement you’d feed that fucking dog until it couldn’t eat another bite. You don’t know where to go in Minnesota but Charlie’s basement door is unlocked, so you’ll feed that dog one day. Today, try to feel better. Tomorrow, though, feed the dog.

When you will have almost given up, you will get that new job at the hospital. You will not really consider how the job will affect your life, new paychecks, more eight-balls, yeah, but you don’t really think about the environment. You assume it’ll just be handling bodily fluids in bedpans, a glorified custodian, but you start to learn things, you learn from the doctors and the nurses and you start to know things about medicine, health, and treatment. You start to think you might have found an area of interest for yourself. You start to think maybe you’ll go back to school because now you have a reason to. You call your parents and they tell you they don’t think you have it in you and you owe it to the human race to play no part in their fight against mortality but you don’t listen, you laugh and you chew your gum and you will prove them all wrong. You will get fired in two weeks when they find you doing lines off of the defibrillator in the equipment closet. In two weeks ZDogg will put rocks in a brown paper bag and find you on the stoop but you don’t have any money. He points towards his crotch and calls you a bitch. Yesterday you went to Charlie’s basement when he was at work or picking up sluts at the Food Emporium and found the door unlocked. Feed ZDogg.

You will spend seven years in and out of rehab but one day you will be clean. You will find a good man. He will work hard and he will make ends meet. When he gets you pregnant he will marry you. When you have two kids he will love them and he will not touch a hair on their heads. You will go on family vacations together, he will take you places you have never been, he will show you canyons, he will show you fields, he will show you roller coasters. Your kids will be named Brian and Jason and he will call them Bry-Bry and Slugger. You will have a new job at a new hospital and one day they will let you go home early for your anniversary but when you open the door your husband has forgotten and he is banging his receptionist on the kitchen floor. She is on her hands and knees, she freezes when she sees you, she does not un-arc her ass, your husbands eyes are closed and he continues to groan loudly and slap against her back obliviously but she can see that look in your eyes. You have been clean for almost a decade but you have not forgotten the streets that you came from and you still carry ZDogg’s switchblade in your pocket night and day so you will never forget. Your husband will open his eyes when he hears the knife open, he will move and he will call your name but it will be too late, his jugular will begin to spray all over his little bitch’s back. She will be in shock. She is on all fours and she cannot move. Feed the dog.

You watch television every day but one day you will see a commercial that will make you want to buy something. It will take two weeks to ship to you even though the shipping cost will be $6.95, every day you will pace back and forth trying to get through your life without it. Before you knew it existed you didn’t even know you needed it. But then there it was. The solution to all your problems. You will not be able to sleep at night, it will scratch at your walls and all you hear is scratching scratching until the day finally comes – the UPS guy in his little shorts and aviator sunglasses, who the hell does he think he is, he waltzes right up to you and hands it to you like it was Buzz Ballads or Bowflex, you sign for it and when you walk inside you can’t tear it open fast enough. There is a box. Inside that box is a box. There is also a silver revolver. The box holds six silver bullets. You load them one by one. In your freezer there is a werewolf. Feed the dog.

Reading a book about birdhouses, you decide to build one. It will be a complete disaster, you will not finish and you will cut open your finger. It will really put a funk on your whole day. But what can you do? Put a band-aid on it, it’s almost six o’clock, it’s time to feed the dog. Feed the dog.

When you die you will float on a cloud. The cloud will be large and endless, you will walk and you will run in every direction and you will never fall. The cloud is covered with dogs. Big dogs, small dogs, mutts and purebreeds, short-haired and long-haired, from pugs to dobermans. It’s all you want to do to feed all these dogs, there’s so many of them. They start to follow you, first one, then a few, until you’re Peter fucking Piper, you bark loudly to the melody of “Jingle Bells” and they march proudly behind you, echoing your cries. You walk around the cloud but you cannot find kibble. You cannot find wet food. There is no steak, there is no left over burger. There is no saucepan to lick. When you have walked as far as you could possibly walk, you will collapse, and a white ball will roll towards your knees. It will be a human skull. You will look up. There is a pile of human bones. They are licked clean. You don’t want to feed the dogs, but you are in no position to argue. Dogs can’t speak English and bones are dead, you’re dead, feed the dog, bitch. Feed the dog.

You will be bleeding in the balcony of the cathedral. Rats will crawl across narrow beams this way and that, some will approach you with hungry eyes but you will frighten them away with bloodcurdling screams. You wait for help but no one comes. You wait until the sun comes up and help never comes but you start to wonder if they’re still outside anyway, maybe the help is dead, maybe they are satisfied. When sunbeams shine through the open windows, a pigeon flies in from the brightness and lands on your shoulder. You tell it your story. You tell it where you came from, you tell it who you are and what you’ve built and why they’re after you. You tell it about your cousin in Stalingrad. You tell it about your brother-in-law in Helsinki. You send it to get help, it promises you it will find help, it looks you in the eye and you trust in it. The pigeon sits on the ledge of the windowsill, and looks out at the shattered village. The village burns beyond the hill, the cathedral sits upon the hill. The hill is covered with grass but the hill is grey, sitting on the hill gazing into the cathedral window are 3,600 wolves. The pigeon takes flight. You had forgotten a crucial detail though. The wolves have laser beams strapped to their backs. The pack leader takes careful aim and fires. You just fed the dog, bitch. And maybe you didn’t forget about those laser beams, maybe that immense and crucial detail did not slip your mind, maybe you’re bleeding in the balcony of the cathedral but you couldn’t help it. Even just a snack it’s a voice in your head, it keeps calling and it won’t shut up. Feed the dog. Feed the dog. Feed the dog.

You will be cross country skiing representing Finland in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. You watch around you as your competitors lose strength and will, you watch them sweat and tire, their movements become less deliberate, more sluggish, you move gently and swiftly ahead of the pack. You are on 2 mg of adrenaline and your arms are robot arms, constructed out of steel and bolt. You are Skiibot 3000, you are the future of the Olympics, the new dramatically shifted spirit of athleticism. When you go home you will hang your coat in the closet and Dogbot 3500 is yipping at your ankles to the tune of “Jingle Bells”. Dogbot 3500 eats only the finest metals, you have a gold medallion hanging from your neck. Feed the Dogbot.

When you spend all day gluing eyes to keyboards, your cat will die. Feed the dog.

golden retriever

When you’re alone at your house I’ll ring the doorbell. When you answer it there will be nobody there but there will be a dog in a basket. Feed the dog.

When you are on break you will go to the store and at the store you will run into your friend Charlie. Charlie hasn’t seen you for ages and he wants to catch up and you don’t have any plans for lunch yet so you let him take you to Judy’s in Westport. Outside of Judy’s is a Labrador tied to a tree. You have snacks in your purse, bitch. Feed the dog.

When Simon stops calling and the beer runs out, you have to go to the store. You get in your car in your underwear and the leather sticks to your ass. At the store you run into Charlie and he can tell you’re drunk. He tells you he hasn’t seen you in ages and takes you back to his parent’s house. He fucks you on the couch because you aren’t important to him. When it’s over you have to leave and he’s handing you your dress that you got with your sister in White Plains crumpled in a ball in his hands, he’s just finished cleaning himself up with it. Outside his house you kick over his mailbox and relieve yourself in the passenger seat of his mother’s unlocked Mercedes. You walk across the street, Charlie’s neighbor has a terrier. Feed the dog.

When your best friend dies you will go to his funeral. You will wear a black t-shirt and dark sunglasses, you will cry and you will cry. You will go with Simon, Simon will wear a suit that is not his best suit because you’re not important to him. Your parents would not come to the funeral with you and Simon is driving back to Fairfield so you will walk through town alone after the procession. You will want to believe in the beauty of it all but there’s something profoundly empty about it instead, you wanted to kick the big box over but you knew it was empty, the box was empty, you never feed your dog, bitch, you always fucking forget or go to the movies or something or you come home late but your dog’s been eating grass for two hours bitch, your dog was hungry and your dog needed food. Feed the fucking dog, you stupid, stupid bitch. Feed the dog.

When you’re lost and poor in Spain painting children during the day and sobbing into your scarves at night and Simon and Charlie have been married for two years, a dog will follow you home. The dog will be a small and weak and pathetic dog, the dog’s ribs are exposed, the dog is weak, it’s a weak dog. You will let it sleep in your bed. It will grow stronger. It will become your new best friend. It will eat kibble and catch frisbees and bark at strangers. You will bring it to a park and it will play with the other dogs. You take it down a wooded path in the park without a leash on, your dog is excited, it is smelling each and every new thing. You will walk and as you walk coming from the other direction you will see a woman with a big dog on a leash. Her dog is very big and when it sees your dog it will run. The woman walking the big dog will not be noticing and the leash will slip from her fingers. The other dog is a pitbull and it is very fast and it runs after your dog and away from you, away from you and the other woman, there’s nothing either of you can do. Watching it is like watching a movie where the ending is your dead dog. The pitbull will be proud. It will wear blood on its lips. It will drool on your open toes. It has a big ugly drooly nose, sniff sniff, it can smell your fucking treats. Go ahead. Feed the dog.

Later in your mid-sixties you are robbing prostitutes on the streets of Caracas with a .44 in your pocket. You’ve been killing the whores in cold blood for almost thirteen months and still the police have no leads. You are white, you are wrinkled. You are a pear with all the life sucked out of it. You are a something with all the life sucked out of it. You turn the corners of your mouths to smile and what more could somebody expect from somebody as old, miserable, and pathetic as you are. You’ve never been married. Every time you’ve had sex you’ve failed to reach or even imagine orgasm. Your partner comes easily and ties his shoes and eats his breakfast like nothing ever happened. You’re killing a lot of people and you’ll always get away with it as long as it doesn’t make you happy, as long as you don’t go doing something stupid and enjoying it. She’s on her knees and her name is Vanity. There’s a .44 barrel between her teeth. Feed the dog.

You will find yourself in a moment of peace and clarity on 40 mg of Valium and two tabs of LSD, space will cease to be and it will be only you and the dog. The dog is still and silent in unending whiteness, you call to it and it comes. You scratch behind its ears and you rub its belly. You find its fur to be layered with broken glass. When you open your eyes your head is in a microwave and you’ve murdered two or three first-name-basis sorts of people with a baseball bat covered in nails. You don’t remember feeding the dog, but you did, you fed it until it was a fat fucking dog. Your fat dog loves you you fat bitch, you fat fuck. YOU FAT FUCK It’s not like it’s not going to get hungry again later. Fuck. Feed the dog.

You’re getting fucked. It’s good but you’re distracted. His dog is watching. You have to get out of there. You walk down the street completely naked, fluid dripping from your body, the sun is so hot, the road looks like burnt toast, in front of you the air waves and it gets harder and harder. When you turn the corner there’s a Wendy’s and an Old Navy and people are staring. You throw yourself through a pane of glass but it’s an elevator shaft and you fall two stories. You hit the top of the elevator, also made out of glass, and fall through it. You think you’re in a million pieces but through the blood in your eyeballs you can see that the far pieces of flesh in the corners of your sight belong to others, you have fallen in people and they shriek while you soak them in beautiful violence. Blood seems to spurt like a fountain out of your index finger, behind you a senior citizen has a Chihuahua in her purse. Feed the dog.