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The Moment or Not the Moment

He is asleep.  Sunset had caught him out with Tug looking for a bag of dog food small enough to fit in the saddlebags. They had got home tired and a touch cold.  The shower head had magically reappeared and Tug had vaulted into the tub for no apparent reason.  Tug was good on a leash and now had what seemed to be the only collar in his size that wasn’t pink or didn’t have happy smiling kitties on it.  Hell, it might be cat collar, it came from a hardware store and was bright blue;  looked good though.  Soft growling wakes the man, a sound like someone slowly spinning the tumblers on a big safe.  Click, click, click.  Slow.  Soft.  Hey you, stupid, wake up, somethings up.  Not a sound for the intruder but a sound for the pack.  It was the sort of thing that got him kicked off the bed but now he wanted the man to wake gently and be with him.

Hearing the soft growl the man wakes but doesn’t move.  Tug is between his legs and he feels the little dog vibrate.  On his side he brings his chin to his chest and cracks one eye open enough to see the door is open.  Bright blue moonlight cuts a hard line across the carpet and into the room.  Should have set the chain.  Usually better at security, they both had been pretty jazzed when they got in and then there was the water fight in the bathroom…lazy or childlike he had just overlooked securing the room.  On the road of his life he too had been beaten for small things and now he resists the urge to whip himself for enjoying the moment.  Nothing he did or felt now was going to unset the chain.  Chewing on it, spitting it on himself wouldn’t change anything.  His mother thought if she rubbed his nose in it enough that somehow things would become undone and wouldn’t be there anymore.  She was a liar to herself.  Inflicting the pain made her feel good, she couldn’t change the past, she knew it, but she could make someone pay for it and she took a calculated carnal enjoyment out of it.

In the hard moonlight he listens trying to hear what Tug hears.  Sure that no one was right there he opens both eyes to look.  Hold still.  No noise of motion.  Grunting like he’s dreaming he shifts his body to get a better look at the door.  Hoping the noise says, “Just wrestling bears in my sleep,” he pauses and scopes the scene.  Everything is written in dark blues, like a forties cartoon, liquid blue where light flows instead of flickering; a three quarters or full moon throwing hard edged shadows.  On the parking lot he could make out individual leaves flitting and banging, hiding behind each other, a moment unique and then a herd again.

Sneaking up the door like the wicked witch comes a shadow.  Human.  Flowing across the threshold and then running up the door.  Head and shoulders, turning, looking. Then a profile.  Silently he reaches for the folding knife on the night stand and hooks a thumb on the blade.  Outside the motorcycle seems to sparkle in the moon light, the chrome doing its job with flair.  A car in the distance freezes the shadow.  Tired light from the road flickers weakly, turning blues to grey and almost green.  Turning to the light the shadow is in profile and with the profile he sees a ponytail.  Shoulders now look smaller, petite; the monster is gone but his heart picks up speed.

Tug growls quietly again.  Reaching down he puts a gentle hand on the dog’s haunches.  I’m here.  I know.  Situation is under control.  Tug quiets but pressed again the man’s thigh he can feel the uptick in heart tempo.  The shadow pauses, becoming a fresco, sensing something, torn between the fear of having been discovered or the fear of being discovered by running.  Inside the man the same debate in a different key: is this the moment or not the moment?

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About Brent Crash Allen

I Forgot

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